Grand Slam 2015 – Last 16 Preview (Thursday)
Tonight at the Grand Slam we will see which four players from the top half of the draw join last nights winners, Thornton, Taylor, Webster and van Barneveld in the quarter-finals.
Stepping up to the oche tonight are van Gerwen, Lewis, Wright, Chisnall, Huybrechts, Smith, Beaton and Adams.
Here are my previews.
• Smith qualified from his group with 3 wins out of 3 matches for the second year in a row. Last year he defeated Christian Kist at this stage of the tournament, coming from 3-0 behind to win 10-5. In that match Smith averaged 99.97 and was over 50% on his doubles.
• The quarter-final appearance at last year’s Grand Slam remains the only time he has been further than the Last 16 at a PDC TV tournament, he has been beaten at the Last 16 stage on 6 occasions.
• Smith trails 6-4 in their head to head record, also having lost the last 3 meetings against Chisnall. He did win the only previous time they played in a PDC TV tournament though; this was in the group stage at the Grand Slam in 2013 when Smith won 5-3 (that was also the last time Smith won a match against Chisnall). They have never played each other over more than best of 11 legs.
• After having failed to qualify from the group stage in the first 3 years he participated in the tournament, he has now qualified for the knockout rounds twice in a row.
• At this stage of the tournament last year he defeated Robbie Green 10-3 and then went all the way through to the final before losing 16-13 to Phil Taylor.
• Chisnall hit an impressive 13 180’s during the group stage; this was the most of any other player who competed in the tournament.
Michael van Gerwen
• Michael van Gerwen finished top of his group (for the 5th time in a row) in qualifying for the knockout rounds, he only dropped 4 legs and averaged over 104 across the 3 matches.
• In the 4 years he has competed in the Last 16 he has won 2 and lost 2. His defeats were in 2011 (10-9 to Hankey) and in 2013 (10-8 to Lewis). His wins have been against Taylor (2012) and Jenkins last year.
• MVG holds an 11-3 winning record against Beaton in their previous meetings. He has won each of their last 5 encounters and hasn’t lost to him since October 2012.
• Beaton qualified despite only winning 1 match in his group, he did lose both matches 5-4 so won 13 from a possible 15 legs.
• This is his 4th time in the Last 16 at the Grand Slam (first since 2011 when he lost 10-8 to Nicholson). The only time he has progressed past the Last 16 was on his way to the semi-finals in 2010 when he knocked Phil Taylor out in the quarter-finals.
• The last time Beaton appeared in the Last 16 at a PDC TV tournament was in December 2013 at the Players Championship finals, and the time prior to that was also at the Players Championship finals a year earlier.
• Wright qualified from his group for the second year in succession, last year he lost at this stage of the tournament to eventual champion Phil Taylor 10-4, in that match Wright had 3 darts to go 4-2 ahead, he was punished for those missed doubles and was only to win 1 more leg.
• Wright defeated Lewis in their only previous meeting in a PDC TV ranking tournament; this was at the 2013 UK Open in the quarter-finals when Wright won 10-6 on his way to the semi-finals. They have played on TV in the Premier League, at The Masters and at the Japan Darts Masters but the UK Open was the only meeting in a TV ranking tournament prior to this match.
• This is only the 4th time from 9 appearances at the Grand Slam that Lewis has qualified for the knockout rounds. The last two times he has qualified he has gone as far as the semi-finals (2011 & 2013, could the sequence continue to 2015?).
• In his most recent appearance at the Last 16 stage at the Grand Slam in 2013 he defeated van Gerwen 10-8. Lewis won 7 of the last 10 legs in that match, overall he averaged over 105, hitting 15x 140’s and 12x 180’s.
• Adams came through the group stage having won all 3 of his matches; he also had the highest checkout % of all 16 players who qualified for the knockout rounds.
• This is his first appearance at the Grand Slam so obviously also his best appearance. It isn’t his first experience of a PDC major TV tournament though as he reached the semi-finals of the World Matchplay and quarter-finals of the World Grand Prix back in 2001. In fact of the players left in the tournament only Taylor and Beaton played in a PDC TV major prior to Adams participation in 2001.
• This will be his first competitive singles match against Kim Huybrechts.
• Huybrechts has now made the knockout rounds in each of the last of the last 3 years (since his debut in the tournament), he has won both of his previous two matches at this stage of the tournament, beating his brother Ronny in 2013 and Alan Norris in 2014 (both by a score of 10-5).
• Those two wins in the Last 16 at the Grand Slam are the only times he has gone past the Last 16 in a PDC TV tournament since reaching the final of the Players Championship finals in December 2012.