Grand Slam 2015 – Last 16 Preview (Wednesday)
The dust has settled on the group stage at the Grand Slam of Darts, and we are now left with 16 players and a straight knockout to decide who is the 2015 champion.
The Last 16 matches are played over a best of 19 legs format and are split across Wednesday evening and Thursday evening.
Tonight we have the four matches from the bottom half of the draw; this includes Phil Taylor, Gary Anderson, James Wade, Robert Thornton, Raymond van Barneveld, Mark Webster, Terry Jenkins and Robbie Green.
Here are my stats previews for all four of the matches.
• Thornton came through the group stage unbeaten; he did have two matches that went to a last leg decider (against De Vos and Jenkins). Interestingly he broke his opponents throw in the final leg of both of those matches.
• He has been to the Last 16 stage at the Grand Slam on 5 previous occasions. He has lost 3 times in this round of the tournament. The last time he played in the knockout rounds he went all the way to the final in 2013.
• 4 of Thornton’s 5 matches in the Last 16 of the Grand Slam have had no more than 2 legs difference in the final outcome.
• No winning player in the group stage had a better single match checkout % than Green had in his win against Phillips, Green hit 5 from 6 attempts at a double in winning the match.
• This is his second consecutive appearance in the Last 16 at the Grand Slam. Last year he lost 10-3 to Dave Chisnall having started the match by losing the opening 5 legs.
• Green defeated Thornton 5-2 in the group stage at last year’s Grand Slam. In that match Green outscored Thornton 4-2 on 180’s over the 7 legs played, also averaging just under a 100 with 50% on the doubles.
• He has appeared in the Last 16 of all 8 previous editions of the Grand Slam, and has only once failed to get past this round. That was in 2012 when Michael van Gerwen defeated him 10-5. In that match MVG averaged over 108 and Taylor averaged just under 105.
• At this stage in the Grand Slam over the last two years Taylor has faced Gary Anderson (2013) and Peter Wright (2014), he defeated both comfortably, winning 10-5 vs Anderson and 10-4 vs Wright.
• Taylor holds a very significant win record against Jenkins, having won 38 and lost only 4. Jenkins did win their last match which was at the Masters in January of this year. Taylor won their previous meeting at the Grand Slam which was in the final back in 2008.
• Jenkins joined a small group of players who have qualified from the group stage with only 1 win, prior to this year it had only happened 3 times. It should have been 2 wins though as he missed 5 match darts against Thornton in their final group match.
• He is certainly no stranger to the knockout rounds at the Grand Slam; this will be his 7th appearance in the Last 16. In his previous 6 matches in the Last 16 he has won 5, the last time he did progress past this round was in 2011.
• Last year MVG ended Jenkins tournament at this stage. It wasn’t a classic performance from either though as both were averaging in the 80’s, Jenkins failed to win another leg after they were tied at 4-4.
• Anderson progressed through the group stage in impressive fashion, winning all 3 games, only dropping 4 legs and averaging over 102.5 across his 3 matches also.
• He has never failed to get to this stage of the Grand Slam but has exited the tournament in this round in each of the last 3 years (since he reached the final in 2011 he hasn’t gone past the Last 16). Last year when he lost 10-4 to Mervyn King, he outscored King and actually had darts at a double in all but 2 of the 14 legs played, though his 17% success on the doubles cost him dearly.
• Anderson has a big lead in head to head meetings with Webster, having won 21 and lost 4 (including winning the last 11). They haven’t met since May of 2014.
• This is Webster’s fifth appearance in the knockout stages at the Grand Slam. He has won 2 and lost 2 of his previous matches in the Last 16. His last appearance at this stage was in 2013 when he lost to Waites. He has never gone past the quarter-finals at the Grand Slam.
• In PDC TV tournaments he has won 2 of his last 3 matches at the Last 16 stage, the wins were at the World Championship in December 2013 vs van Barneveld and at the Grand Prix last month when he beat Lewis. The defeat was at the UK Open in 2014 when he lost to MVG.
• Surprisingly apart from in the Premier League they have only met once in a PDC TV tournament since they moved from the BDO. That meeting was in the group stage at the Grand Slam in 2010 when Webster won (it was actually his last win against Anderson too).
• Wade qualified from his group having won all 3 games (the 4th time he has done so). He averaged over 103 in both of his last 2 group matches and his overall group average of 101.4 was the highest he has had in a group stage at the Grand Slam
• In his 7 previous appearances in the Last 16 at the Grand Slam he has only won twice. Last year he lost 10-8 to Bunting at this stage of the tournament.
• As you would expect, Wade and Barney have plenty of previous meetings. Wade trails 21-18 on head to head wins and has only won 1 of their last 8 encounters. Surprisingly this is their first meeting in a PDC TV ranking tournament since July 2011 at the European Championship in the QF’s, Barney won that match 10-8, avenging a 16-11 defeat by Wade at the World Matchplay (also in the QF’s) only 9 days earlier.
Raymond van Barneveld
• Barney has been in the Last 16 at the Grand Slam on 6 previous occasions, though has only once been past this stage since 2010 (that time was in 2012 when he won the tournament).
• Last year he was beaten 10-7 by Keegan Brown in this round, van Barneveld took a while to get going and was 9-3 down in that match, before rallying to 9-7 and missing 3 darts to go within just a leg behind, Brown punished those missed darts to seal the win.
• This is the first time van Barneveld has been to the Last 16 of a PDC TV ranking tournament since the last World Championships when he went on to reach the semis.
Enjoy the darts!