Who will win the final? Who will be the player to watch? Which seeds are most in danger of going out in their first game? A host of darts journalists, pundits and commentators tackle these and other questions ahead of the 2022 WDF Women’s World Championship.
Who will reach the final – and who will win it?
Chris Murphy: I think Mikuru Suzuki will win another title, and am going to go for Rhian O’Sullivan to reach a third final in four attempts, and a decade after her last Lakeside appearance.
Andrew Sinclair: After seeing her win six titles in three months last year, I thought Deta Hedman was nailed on to finally win the world title her career so richly deserves. However, recent injury issues have taken their toll and her path to glory now looks a lot more challenging. A large factor in that is the blistering form of Doncaster teenager Beau Greaves – it’s now almost impossible to look past her becoming the youngest-ever world champion in the women’s tournament. She’ll likely have to see off two-time champion Mikuru Suzuki in what should be a barnburner of a quarter-final, but with three titles in the Isle of Man and the first female 90+ average of the county season under her belt in recent weeks, she is flying and I wholeheartedly expect that to carry through to Lakeside. I think we’re in for a first-time finalist from the other half of the draw in the shape of Kirsty Hutchinson. Corrine Hammond and Rhian O’Sullivan have both been there and done it before but I think Kirsty has shown that she’s capable of producing a higher top level.
Ben Hudd: Beau Greaves beats Kirsty Hutchinson in the women’s final. Greaves has seemingly found that next level after a tough few months battling dartitis. If she performs as well as she did in the Isle of Man recently, it wouldn’t be beyond the realms to suggest her winning the title without dropping a set. Hutchinson, meanwhile, has shown enough signs to convince me that she has the capability of coming through a closely-matched bottom half.
Lendel Faria: Beau Greaves will win against Kirsty Hutchinson. Greaves is in good form and I see her as the woman to beat. Kirsty and Corrine look like the favourites to come out of the bottom half and I give Kirsty the edge in that one.
Pim Huberts: Mikuru Suzuki will become champion in a final against Corrinne Hammond
Jetze Jan Idsardi: Mikuru Suzuki and Beau Greaves are the stand-outs in the women’s field, and I fancy Greaves to win the whole event. The youngster has been sensational as of late. The bottom half looks a lot weaker and will bring a (sort of) surprise finalist. Corrine Hammond has the experience and that’s why she is my pick.
Who will be the player to watch?
Chris Murphy: It’s great to see that Beau Greaves seems to have come through her troubles with her throw and if it clicks for her she’s another youngster who could realise her darting dream as a teenager!
Ben Hudd: Deta Hedman. A women’s world title is one of the only achievements missing from her resume, and that instantly makes her the ‘player to watch’ in the women’s field. It would be difficult to find anyone not wanting her to finally seal success in the women’s flagship competition.
Lendel Faria: Mikuru Suzuki and Beau Greaves. They’re in the same quarter and I believe who wins that quarter will win the whole thing. Beau has had some trouble with dartitis but now looks as good as she’s ever looked. Mikuru has the game to beat any lady in the world but hasn’t played a lot in recent times.
Pim Huberts: Beau Greaves and Mikuru Suzuki will be THE players to watch, sadly virtually playing each other in the quarter finals already. I’m also looking forward to the performance of Vicky Pruim.
Jetze Jan Idsardi: Most eyes will be on the youngster Beau Greaves, but I’ll be keeping an eye on Rhian O’Sullivan. O’Sullivan has a tough draw with a potential game with Hammond in round two, which could be the best game of that round.
How far will the ‘defending champion’ Mikuru Suzuki go?
Chris Murphy: I think Mikuru will win a third straight world title.
Andrew Sinclair: If her performances in the Live League are any indication, Mikuru Suzuki could easily go all the way and make it a three-peat. The real determinant will be her projected quarter-final with Beau Greaves – the winner of that game goes all the way in my view.
Josh Green: I think Suzuki has a real chance of retaining her title, Beau Greaves the obvious opposition.
Ben Hudd: Suzuki has all the qualities needed to reign victorious for a third year on the bounce. Her stint in the Live League leading up to her opening match can only benefit her also. I would be extremely surprised if the winner of her potential quarter-final clash with Beau Greaves doesn’t become world champion.
Lendel Faria: We haven’t seen to much from Mikuru since the pandemic. What we did see from her was on the PDC Women Series where she was playing with a huge jetlag and still was able to show some of her class. Mikuru does have a horrible route towards the final and I think Beau Greaves will have to much for her in the quarters.
Pim Huberts: Mikuru recently played well in the Online Live League and will be favourite for the women’s title if you ask me.
Jetze Jan Idsardi: Mikuru Suzuki looks to be hitting form at the right time. She knows how to win in Lakeside, but probably has the toughest draw she could get. I think she will overcome Laura Turner and Aileen de Graaf, but Beau Greaves might stop her from winning a third consecutive WC in the quarter finals.
Which first round matches are you most looking forward to?
Andrew Sinclair: Laura Turner vs Mikuru Suzuki is a very tough tie for both players but if they both play to the best of their abilities, it should be an absolute corker.
Ben Hudd: Lorraine Hyde v Tori Kewish. Scotland’s Hyde has been one of the most consistent performers on the women’s circuit over the last 12 months and, despite her match practice being limited in recent years, Australian Kewish has the game to match her. Both make their Lakeside debuts so nerves could play a part.
Jetze Jan Idsardi: I am looking forward to Turner vs Suzuki: it’s great to see the Japanese back playing darts in Europe again.
Which seeds are most in danger of going out in the second round?
Chris Murphy: I think that Aileen De Graaf and Corrine Hammond are in danger, however if they don’t lose in the second round they could go on to meet in the final because that means my two picks (Suzuki and O’Sullivan) will have been knocked out and both De Graaf and Hammond are more than capable of coming through that section. They are only in danger because of the strength of their potential opponents and could actually both play their hardest matches first!
Andrew Sinclair: Aileen de Graaf and Lorraine Winstanley are the standout candidates in the women’s competition. Aileen, who has admitted to not being the biggest fan of Lakeside and went back to work as a nurse during the pandemic, will have to be at her absolute best to beat either Laura Turner or Mikuru Suzuki. Winstanley, meanwhile, had some good runs at the recent Women’s Series but her form on the WDF circuit last year wasn’t great and she could well come unstuck against Vicky Pruim, who is playing very well.
Josh Green: You have to feel for Aileen de Graaf in facing the winner of Laura Turner vs Mikuru Suzuki!
Ben Hudd: Aileen de Graaf could encounter defending champion Mikuru Suzuki and based on the stuff she has produced in the Women’s Series, I can’t see her causing what would be an upset. I also believe Corrine Hammond could have a few problems up against Rhian O’Sullivan.
Lendel Faria: Aileen de Graaf. Mainly because she will probably play Mikuru Suzuki in her first match.
Pim Huberts: Aileen de Graaf is most in danger in the female tournament, as she will have either Laura Turner or Mikuru Suzuki as her opponent.
Jetze Jan Idsardi: Aileen de Graaf could meet Mikuru Suzuki in her first game, which could be an awesome battle. The Japanese seems the favourite to me in that game.
Picture: Chris Sargeant/Tip Top Pics