World Grand Prix Semi-Finals Preview
Friday night at the 2016 World Grand Prix is semi-final night. The top two seeds Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson remain on course to meet in the final but former Grand Prix finalists Dave Chisnall and Raymond van Barneveld stand in their way.
Here are my previews for both semi-finals.
- In his 3-1 win over Simon Whitlock in the quarter-finals Michael van Gerwen came through his toughest test in the tournament so far, van Gerwen was pushed all the way but responded in impressive fashion.
- His match average against Whitlock was 103 and over the first 9 darts it was an outstanding 111, his scoring throughout the match was relentless.
- On his starting doubles vs Whitlock he never failed to get away within his first 3 darts and only once did he fail to hit a starting double within his first 2 darts.
- His overall tournament average is just under a 100 and he has hit over 50% of his attempts at both starting doubles and finishing doubles.
- This is van Gerwen’s 4th appearance in the semi-finals at the Grand Prix; he hasn’t been beaten at this stage of the tournament and has only dropped 2 sets in the 15 sets he has played in those semi-final matches.
- MVG has won his last 8 PDC major ranking semi-finals since losing Anderson in the 2015 World Championship semi-final.
- Chisnall won 3-1 against Daryl Gurney to book his place in the semi-finals, after winning a tight first set 3-2 he took control winning the second set 3-0 before Gurney fought back to take the third set 3-0, Chisnall responded well winning the fourth set 3-2.
- Only once in the match against Gurney did Chisnall fail to hit a starting double within his first 3 darts and impressively he hit with his 1st dart in 9 of the 16 legs.
- His finishing double % vs Gurney was his lowest of the tournament so far at 36% but he was only punished for missed double in 2 legs.
- Chisnall has made it through to his 2nd Grand Prix semi-final; in his previous appearance back in 2013 he defeated Justin Pipe 5-2 having beaten van Gerwen in the quarter-finals.
- This is his 1st appearance in a PDC major ranking semi-final since he reached the last 4 here in 2013. He lost his only other PDC major ranking semi-final at the UK Open in 2012 to eventual champion Robert Thornton.
- He has played in other non-ranked big TV tournament semi-finals most notably at the Grand Slam, Premier League and earlier this year at the Masters.
Head to Head (van Gerwen leads 31-9)
Michael van Gerwen has enjoyed a lot of dominance over Chisnall in their previous meetings, they have already played 11 times during 2016 and MVG has won 10 of them (including each of the last 9). Chisnall’s only ever win on TV against van Gerwen was at the Grand Prix in 2013. Since then van Gerwen has won 16 of 17 TV matches they have played (the remaining game was a draw in the Premier League).
van Gerwen has responded in champion fashion to the questions asked of him so far in this tournament, when Beaton took the opening set of their first round match he picked his game up a level and when Whitlock pushed him hard in the quarter-finals he again picked up his game to another level, the scoring of MVG throughout the tournament has been brutal and he will take some stopping. Chisnall of course has history of defeating van Gerwen at the Grand Prix but he hasn’t had much success against him since that match, if Chisnall gets in a rhythm he can push van Gerwen but it usually just makes MVG rise to the next level. I think the world number one will win and go one step further to winning his third World Grand Prix title.
- Anderson came from a set behind to defeat Kim Huybrechts in the quarter-finals. Anderson lost the opening set 3-0 without having a shot at a double to win a leg, he produced checkouts of 124 and 141 from nowhere in the 2nd set to get back into the match and won the next two sets to come through 3 sets to 1.
- The win against Huybrechts was Anderson’s worst performance of the tournament so far, he really struggled to get his range on double top to start legs and overall his match average was 13 points behind the numbers he produced in the opening two rounds.
- He only hit a single 180 against Huybrechts (that came in the final leg of the match).
- This is his 2nd World Grand Prix semi-final; his previous appearance was in 2014 when he lost 4-3 to James Wade on a last leg decider having led 2-0 and 3-1 in sets.
- Anderson has now reached the semi-finals in 3 of the last 4 PDC TV major ranking tournaments, he has only lost 1 of his last 5 major ranking semi-finals though that defeat was he last appearance in one (in July at the Matchplay).
- van Barneveld dropped just 1 leg in his 3-0 win over Benito van de Pas in the quarter-finals. That means Barney hasn’t lost a set during this year’s tournament and has only conceded 7 legs in 3 matches.
- His finishing was again impressive in his last match, he has now had a checkout percentage of 50% or greater in each game his has played in this year’s tournament.
- This is his 5th appearance in a World Grand Prix semi-final but his first since 2010. He has won 2 and lost 2 of the previous 4. His defeats were both against James Wade by a 5-1 score. His wins were against Mervyn King (5-0) and Andy Hamilton (5-2), meaning none of his semi-finals were close affairs.
- Barney has failed to win in his last 8 PDC TV ranking semi-finals; the last time he won in one was way back in 2010 at the World Matchplay.
Head to Head (Anderson leads 15-14)
There isn’t a lot to separate them on their overall head to head meetings but perhaps significantly Anderson has won each of their 8 encounters stretching back to April 2015. This is actually only their 2nd meeting in a major ranking tournament since the World Championship in December 2012 (Barney won that match 4-0), the most recent in a major ranking tournament was at the Grand Slam last November when Anderson won 5-3 in a group stage match.
Anderson looked in imperious form during the first two rounds but against Huybrechts was out of sorts, I think that was just a blip and expect him to be back to form for this game, he has a very strong recent record against Barney and the big motivation of reaching his first Grand Prix final should lift him. Barney carried on his excellent form through his quarter-final match and is looking in great shape coming into this game, the composure and belief he is showing during the tournament is impressive and if he keeps this up he poses a huge threat. It’s a hard match to predict and that makes it very watchable. The bookies have Anderson as favourite but with the mentality van Barneveld is showing this week he can’t be ruled out. I’m going to sit on the fence and just enjoy the game!