Grand Slam of Darts 2015 – Friday Preview

It’s the start of the quarter-finals tonight at the Grand Slam of Darts, with the first two ties being played and the format now first to 16 legs.

All four players in action tonight have experience of winning major tournaments and all being well we should be in for some great darts.

Here are my stats previews for the matches, along with some other useful information.

Webster vs van Barneveld

Mark Webster
• Webster impressively defeated World Champion Gary Anderson in the Last 16, despite Anderson averaging over 104. Webster was superb on his finishing in that match hitting 10 from 14 attempts, all the more impressive as Webster hit 11 doubles from 37 attempts during the group stage.
• This is his 3rd appearance in the quarter-finals at the Grand Slam, in 2008 he lost narrowly 10-8 to King and in 2011 he was well beaten 16-5 by Adrian Lewis. Webster only has to look back to the last PDC TV tournament he played in to find his last appearance in TV quarter final, which was at the Grand Prix last month when he defeated Jelle Klaasen.
• Webster and RVB probably don’t have as many head to head matches as you might think; they have met 10 times previously with 5 wins each. Their most significant meeting came in the Last 16 at the World Championships in December 2013. Webster won that game 4 sets to 3 (after trailing 3-2 he won 6 legs in a row).

Raymond van Barneveld
• RVB recovered from 7-4 down against James Wade in the previous round to reel off the last 6 legs and win 10-7. Impressively from Barney in that match was he had 4 attempts to break the Wade throw and took them all and only failed to win 1 leg in which he had a dart at a double.
• He has been to the quarter-finals at the Grand Slam 3 times previously, winning twice (vs Kist in 2012 on his way to the title and in 2009 vs Painter), his defeat came in 2008 in a last leg decider to Jenkins.
• In his last 5 PDC TV ranking quarter-finals he has won 4 and lost 1, but has only appeared in 2 TV ranking tournament quarter-finals since December 2013 (11 tournaments played since then excluding this tournament).

Thornton vs Taylor

Robert Thornton
• Thornton saw off a late charge from Robbie Green in the last round to win 10-8. It was his finishing that proved crucial in the end for Thornton, a 12 dart leg against the throw in the opening leg set him on his way and he took the only other opportunity he had to break throw (in the 3rd leg). Overall in that match Thornton never lost a leg where he had a dart at a double.
• This is his 3rd appearance in the quarter-finals at the Grand Slam. Most recently in 2013 on his way to the final he defeated Tony O’Shea comfortably by 16 legs to 6. Thornton has only been to the quarter-finals of a PDC TV tournament on 2 occasions since his appearance in the Grand Slam final, and the only time he has been past the quarter-finals he went on to win the World Grand Prix last month.
• Thornton had one of the biggest wins of his career against Phil Taylor on the TV stage when he defeated ‘The Power’ in the final of the 2012 UK Open; he has also beaten him at the World Grand Prix and in the Premier League.

Phil Taylor
• Taylor had to come from behind to win his Last 16 match against Terry Jenkins; he found himself 4-0 behind and was averaging 86. Taylor did crucially win the last leg before the break and managed to turn things around, aided by a dip in Jenkins scoring. The double stats for Taylor in that match don’t really tell the full story, he hit 10 from 24, but 7 of those missed doubles came in one leg.
• In 7 matches at the quarter-finals of the Grand Slam he has only been beaten once, that was in 2010 against Steve Beaton. His wins at the quarter-final stage since the format changed to the first to 16 legs in 2009 have been 16-7, 16-7, 16-12 and 16-3.
• Taylor has won their last 2 TV matches in knockout tournaments both by comfortable margins; winning 16-6 in the Grand Slam final of 2013 and in December 2012 at the World Championship by 4 sets to 0.

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