World Grand Prix – Semi-final Preview
A little later than usual, but here is my World Grand Prix preview for the semi-final matches being played tonight.
Michael van Gerwen is of course the big favourite for the tournament, but Thornton and Webster have won big tournaments on the big stage so can’t be easily discounted. Also lurking is the dangerous Suljovic who has doubling stats better than any of the other three and won’t go away without a fight.
Here are the stats
• This is the furthest Thornton has gone in a PDC ranking major tournament since he won the UK Open in 2012, though he did reach the Grand Slam final in 2013. From his 3 major ranking semi-finals in the PDC he has won 2 and lost 1.
• The only time Thornton has actually been behind in the tournament this year was in his second round match against Pipe when he lost the opening leg of the match. Although he has trailed in some sets against White he was already ahead on the set score.
• Suljovic has not been to this stage in any major TV tournament, he has reached the quarter-finals or better in all 3 PDC major ranking tournament this season.
• Suljovic leads Thornton by 5 wins to 4 in their previous meetings. Significantly he has won 5 of the last 6 they have played and 2 out of 3 in 2015. Also worth mentioning is his 9-7 win over Thornton at the UK Open in 2014.
• Out of the 4 semi-finalists it is Suljovic who has the highest % of hitting both starting and finishing doubles. He also has the highest checkout of the tournament with the 170 in his final leg against van der Voort.
Michael van Gerwen
• MVG is chasing his 3rd World Grand Prix title and 3rd major PDC ranking tournament in a row. He has played 13 PDC major ranking semi-finals before and of those he has won 9.
• He has the highest average (93.46) and most 180’s (15) of the four semi-finalists but on the flip side he does has the 2nd lowest starting double percentage and the lowest checkout %.
• It has been 6 wins in a row over Webster now for van Gerwen. The last time he was beaten against Webster was in 2011. In all of their major meetings it has been MVG who has been victorious. Winning in the World Masters (Oct 2006), PDC World Championship (Dec 2013) and UK Open (Mar 2014).
• This is Webster’s best appearance at the World Grand Prix. He has reached the semi-finals of PDC ranking majors 4 times previously winning one of those semi-finals (Players Championship 2011). In all of the 3 he lost he did so to the player who won the tournament.
• Webster has reached this stage by knocking out a former World Champion in each round, Bunting, Lewis and Klaasen. Meaning MVG will be the fourth consecutive World Champion he has faced in the 2015 Grand Prix.