World Grand Prix Quarter-Finals Preview
Eight players remain at the 2016 World Grand Prix and all four quarter-finals will be decided this evening.
Here are my previews for tonight’s matches.
- Dave Chisnall won 3-1 against Brendan Dolan in the Last 16. Chizzy took control of the match by breaking Dolan twice in the opening set to win in 3-0 the next 3 sets were tighter and all finished 3-2.
- It was a patchy performance from Chisnall in his win vs Dolan; he produced some very good legs on his own throw but was inconsistent on the Dolan throw as the match progressed.
- A positive for Chisnall was his scoring, he hit 6x 180’s and his first 9 dart average was up 20 points from his opening match against Green.
- Chisnall is through to his 2nd Grand Prix quarter-final, the previous time he made it this far was in 2013 when he defeated defending champion van Gerwen 3-2 on his way to the final.
- Since he reached the final here in 2013 he has played in 6 major ranking quarter-finals and lost in each one, in fairness five of those defeats came against van Gerwen and one against Phil Taylor.
- Gurney didn’t drop a set in his Last 16 win over Steve West, though it was closer than the score suggests as all 3 sets went to a deciding leg. All but one leg of the match went with throw; Gurney breaking the West throw in the last leg of the 2nd set was the only break in the whole match.
- His finishing against West proved to be the difference, Gurney had a checkout percentage of 56% with was a big improvement compared to 28% in his opening match against Suljovic.
- Gurney has won just 3 of his legs in the tournament in 15 darts or less, this is the lowest amount of any of the 8 players left in the event.
- This is his 2nd appearance in a PDC major ranking quarter-final; in his previous one he defeated van de Pas 10-5 to reach the semi-finals at last year’s Players Championship Finals.
Head to Head (Gurney leads 4-2)
Gurney has a winning record against Chisnall; this is the first time they have played since October 2015 when Chisnall won 6-1 in a Players Championship tournament. Their only previous meeting on the TV stage was in December 2012 at the World Championship with Chisnall coming out on top 4 sets to 1. Gurney won their first encounter back in their BDO days at the 2008 World Masters.
A match between two prolific 180 hitters, with this game being a double start format we may not see the full extent of their maximum hitting prowess but I still expect a good number. Chisnall has much more experience of reaching this stage of big tournaments and will probably be glad he isn’t facing MVG for a change! Chizzy has shown the good and bad of his game during this year’s tournament, sometimes struggling to get away but then very capable of hitting 100+ starts when he does get away with his first dart. Gurney needs to increase his scoring with his first 3 darts to trouble Chisnall in my opinion; although he has a decent record of getting away in his first visit he hasn’t been producing big scores within those 3 darts. I think Chisnall will win this match but Gurney will be hard to shake off, he has looked very composed during the tournament so far and it will take a good performance from Chisnall to shake him off.
van de Pas
- Benito van de Pas came from a set down in round two against Terry Jenkins to win 3-1 and book his place in the Last 8. It wasn’t as comfortable as the set score suggests as the leg score was only 10-8 and Jenkins did miss 3 darts at double to go 2 sets to 1 up.
- van de Pas improved in all aspects of his game in round two, his stats on starting doubles, scoring and finishing were all up on the his numbers from the first round.
- Overall though he is still behind all the other 3 players in his half of the draw on both starting doubles and scoring and only very marginally ahead of Anderson on finishing.
- This is only his 2nd appearance in a PDC major ranking quarter-final; in his previous one at the Players Championship Finals in December 2015 he lost to Daryl Gurney.
- Overall during the 2016 season this is his 13th ranking quarter-final, he has won 8 of the previous 12.
- Barney won 3-0 against number 3 seed Adrian Lewis in the last round, van Barneveld took advantage after Lewis missed 5 darts to win the opening set and went on to drop only 1 leg in the next 2 sets.
- His performance against Lewis was excellent all round, he never took more than 2 darts to hit a starting double (in total he hit 12 of 17 attempts), his average over his first 9 darts was over 105 and his checkout percentage was over 52%.
- During the tournament he has hit his starting double with his first dart over 50% of the time and has a checkout percentage of over 51%.
- This is van Barneveld’s 5th World Grand Prix quarter-final, his first since 2010; he has won each of his 4 previous quarter-final matches at the tournament (with a combined set record of Won 16 Lost 5).
- He has only lost 1 of his last 7 PDC major ranking tournament quarter-finals and won each of his last 4. His last defeat in the quarter-final of a PDC major ranking tournament was against Phil Taylor at the 2013 Players Championship Finals.
Head to Head (van Barneveld leads 4-0)
Raymond van Barneveld has a 100% winning record against van de Pas; their most recent meeting was only in September in a Euro Tour quarter-final when Barney won 6-1. This will be the first time they have met in a PDC major ranking tournament.
Based on their performance in the tournament so far van Barneveld has to be the favourite to progress to the semi-finals, the five time champion of the world has been looking in fine form and when Barney turns up in the mood to play he is capable of winning this tournament. Consistency can be an issue and the question is will Barney keep it up? Benito van de Pas has made great strides up the PDC rankings and has experience of getting over the line in the latter stages of tournaments but he hasn’t been past this stage in a major tournament yet. I think van Barneveld is fully focused this week and don’t think he will slip up here.
- Michael van Gerwen only dropped 3 legs in his 3 sets to 0 in his Last 16 win over James Wilson. MVG lost the opening leg of the match to a 156 checkout but then won 6 legs in a row to establish full control of the match and he never looked like losing that control.
- He has averaged over 97 in both of his matches so far and has a tournament checkout percentage of over 55%.
- In both of his matches so far he has produced a run of 6 consecutive winning legs. Overall he has won 16 of the last 18 legs he has played at this year’s Grand Prix.
- This is van Gerwen’s 5th consecutive appearance in the quarter-finals at the World Grand Prix, 3 of his previous 4 quarter-finals have gone the full 5 sets with the only exception being last year when he defeated Jamie Lewis 3-0.
- Since the start of the World Grand Prix in 2012 he has now reached 22 PDC major ranking quarter-finals and has only lost 2 of his previous 21.
- He has won 15 consecutive PDC major ranking quarter-finals; the last time he lost in one was at the 2013 World Grand Prix when he was beaten by Dave Chisnall.
- Whitlock was involved in a last leg decider against Alan Norris in the Last 16. Whitlock had led 2-0 having dropped only 1 leg in the opening 2 sets but was pegged back and then trailed 2-1 in the final set. A 180 followed by a 150 checkout took the match into the final leg where Whitlock then produced a 10 dart finish to win a thriller.
- His finishing was very impressive in his match against Norris, he took out two 150 checkouts (both using different combinations) and had a 55% checkout percentage. The 10 dart finish in the final leg of the match was the best leg of this year’s tournament.
- Whitlock is aiming to reach his first Grand Prix semi-final, the previous time he was in the quarter-finals he lost a last leg decider to James Wade having led 2 sets to 1.
- The last time he progressed further than the quarter-finals of a PDC major ranking tournament was in 2014 at the Matchplay, his last major ranking quarter-final was in December last year at the Players Championship Finals where he lost 10-7 to Adrian Lewis.
- He comes into this match on the back of winning 9 consecutive ranking matches having won the last Players Championship tournament coming into the Grand Prix.
Head to Head (van Gerwen leads 19-5)
van Gerwen has a big winning record against Whitlock in their overall head to head record but it was Whitlock who won their last meeting which came a in a ranking tournament the day before this tournament started, prior to that match MVG had won 6 consecutive matches against Whitlock during 2016 and was unbeaten since April 2013 against the Australian (a run of 13 matches). This is their first major ranking tournament meeting since the 2014 Matchplay semi-final which MVG won 17-13.
Michael van Gerwen has looked in formidable form during his opening two matches and is odds on with the bookies to win the tournament, he has only lost 2 of his last 20 matches at the Grand Prix and those were both in the final set to inspired performances from his opponents and I feel it will take another inspired performance to defeat him at this year’s Grand Prix. Simon Whitlock has the boost of having defeated MVG in their last meeting in a match that came only days ago, the fact Whitlock also went on to win that tournament puts him in a very good frame of mind, he showed his qualities in his last leg win over Alan Norris but will need much more of that to get the better of the world number one in this game. I expect a good effort from Whitlock but I think van Gerwen will be desperate to avenge his loss last weekend and raise his game to make sure he reaches the semi-finals.
- Gary Anderson was again in excellent form during his 3-1 win over Kyle Anderson in the Last 16, he took control early on winning the opening 2 sets 3-1. He had a blip losing the 3rd set after missing 7 darts at double to win the match but responded by winning the 4th set without losing a leg.
- His tournament average is just under 97 which for the double start format is very good, and over his first 9 darts his average is a very impressive 108.
- Only 1 time in 23 legs played during the tournament has Anderson failed to hit a starting double within his first 3 darts.
- If there was a weakness during his win vs Kyle Anderson it was on his finishing doubles where he missed 23 darts at a double, it wasn’t a problem when he closed out the match in the 4th set however as he won each of the final 3 legs with his first dart at double.
- This will be Anderson’s 4th World Grand Prix quarter-final appearance, in his first two he lost to Phil Taylor, the last time he reached this stage in 2014 he won 3-2 against Kevin Painter.
- Anderson has won each of his last 7 PDC major ranking quarter-finals, the last time he lost one was back in December 2013.
- Kim Huybrechts dropped only 2 legs on his way to defeating Stephen Bunting in the Last 16, he won the opening 5 legs of the match and then never looked likely to let his lead slip.
- In those opening 5 legs of the match vs Bunting he hit his finishing double with his first dart in all 5 legs and hit 5 of 7 darts at starting doubles.
- Huybrechts had a match average of 98.47 in the last round and he had a checkout percentage of over 69%.
- His doubling throughout the tournament so far has been very effective, he has gone 23 straight legs without failing to hit a starting double within his first visit (he only failed to do so in the first two legs of his 1st round match) and his overall tournament checkout percentage is 60.7%.
- This is his 6th appearance in a PDC major ranking quarter-final, of the previous 5 he has won 2 and lost 3. He is appearing in only his 2nd PDC major quarter final since December 2012.
Head to Head (Anderson leads 11-7)
Anderson may lead their overall head to head record but Huybrechts has won each of the last 3 matches they have played (all of these during 2016). Two of their matches this year came in quarter-finals of European Tour events with Huybrechts winning 6-5 and 6-4. Anderson won their first 6 encounters, but since the start of 2013 Huybrechts leads 7-5 on the head to head. This is the first time they have met in a major ranking tournament.
If they play to the same levels they did in the previous round we should be in for a high quality entertaining match. Anderson looks switched on and focused and in the kind of mood when he won his World titles, the way he is starting legs, his overall scoring over the early stages of legs means he will really take some stopping. Huybrechts looked in complete control of his game against Bunting his doubling has been top class and he just looks full of confidence, he has been playing a high standard of darts winning plenty of matches over recent months and this is showing through. This really had the potential to be a match not to be missed, I just give the edge to Anderson but Huybrechts definitely has the game to all the way and it would not be a major shock if he won.