World Grand Prix Final Preview
It’s the world number one versus the current world champion in the World Grand Prix final tonight. Michael van Gerwen is chasing his 3rd Grand Prix title whilst Gary Anderson is in his 1st Grand Prix final.
This will be only the 5th time that top two seeds have made it through to the final here at the Grand Prix and the first time since 2008 when Phil Taylor the number one seed defeated the number two seed Raymond van Barneveld.
Previous Grand Prix Finals between the Top 2 Seeds
2002 – Phil Taylor (1) bt John Part (2)
2003 – Phil Taylor (1) bt John Part (2)
2005 – Phil Taylor (2) bt Colin Lloyd (1)
2008 – Phil Taylor (1) bt Raymond van Barneveld (2)
Here is my preview for tonight’s final.
Michael van Gerwen
- Van Gerwen came through a tough encounter with Dave Chisnall in the semi-finals, the match was evenly poised at 2-2 and although MvG took the final 2 sets they both went to a deciding leg and Chisnall had led 2-0 in the 6th set requiring just 1 leg to make it 3 sets all.
- The finishing of MvG has been impressive throughout the tournament, he hit 50% of his finishing doubles against Chisnall, and overall his tournament checkout % is over 51%.
- His average against Chizzy was nearly a 100 and he has yet to average under 97 at this year’s tournament, his overall match average across his 4 matches is over 99.
- This is van Gerwen’s 3rd consecutive appearance in the final of the World Grand Prix and overall the 4th time he has made it through to the final at the tournament. He won the tournament in 2012 and 2014 but lost last year against Robert Thornton.
- He has reached the final of 15 PDC TV major ranking tournaments prior to this one and has only finished runner-up in 3 of them.
- In his semi-final Anderson defeated Raymond van Barneveld 4-1. With the match level at 1-1 van Barneveld went 2-0 up in the 3rd set before Anderson stepped up a gear and went on to win 9 of the next 12 legs to book his place in the final.
- Anderson struggled on his starting doubles in his previous match against Huybrechts but against Barney in the semi-final he was very impressive hitting with his first dart in 15 of the 23 legs and only once failing to get away within his first 3 darts.
- As well as the formidable starting his scoring was also a massive strength, he averaged 112 over his first 9 darts.
- He has taken out some key ton plus checkouts so far in the tournament, and this was again evident against van Barneveld he won a set with a 148 out and another set with a 104.
- This is Anderson’s first ever appearance in the final at the World Grand Prix.
- He is through to his 8th PDC TV major ranking tournament final. Of the previous 7 he has won 3, but those 3 wins did come within his last 4 finals.
Head to Head (van Gerwen leads 21-13)
Michael van Gerwen has the overall advantage in their head to head meetings, but if you take their last 10 encounters Anderson has won 5, van Gerwen 4 with 1 draw in the Premier League. They have met in 7 finals during their career Anderson winning 4 and van Gerwen winning 3. Their last encounter was only 2 weeks ago at the Champions League of Darts when van Gerwen won 11-5 in the semi-finals.
As it’s the final I have produced some extra head to head tournament stats for van Gerwen and Anderson.
Firstly take a look at legs won/lost when throwing first.
Michael van Gerwen has been more dominant on his own through than Anderson has, during the tournament van Gerwen has won 76% of all legs where he has thrown first compared to Anderson’s 69%.
Now for legs won/lost against the throw.
Looking at when they have thrown second in a leg and it is Anderson who has the edge throughout the tournament, overall MvG has a 50/50 record against throw whereas Anderson has won 62% of all legs on his opponents throw.
Next the starting doubles.
Here’s how both players have fared at hitting their starting double in the 1st dart, 1st 2 darts and 1st 3 darts of a leg.
MvG has the edge on hitting a starting double with his first dart of the leg having done so in over 53% of the legs he has played, Anderson in comparison has hit with his first dart nearly 8% less than van Gerwen. Things improve for Anderson within the next two darts though as overall he has managed to get away within 2 darts more frequently than MvG and also more frequently within the 1st 3 darts of a leg.
A look at the next chart shows which particular double they have started a leg with.
This shows Anderson has been much more reliant on Double 20 as his starting double as only 6 of the starting doubles he has hit in the tournament have been aimed away from this area (the 3 Double 1 hits were of course when he was going for tops!). MvG has been deadly on the Double 20 start but if missing with his first or second dart he has opted to switch across to Double 18 more than Anderson has.
Moving on to darts thrown to win a leg
They have both had an equal amount of legs won in 12 darts or less but in the 13 to 15 dart winning legs van Gerwen has the advantage, if this carries through to the final will it give MvG the edge?
Now the tournament checkouts produced by both players during the Grand Prix.
Anderson has 4 checkouts higher than van Gerwen’s highest tournament checkout of 118.
Next it’s the most frequently attempted finishing doubles.
Looking at the above chart it is evident how impressive van Gerwen has been on his main choice of finishing doubles during this tournament, his Double 20 hitting of 72.7% is amazing consistency (which is just as well as he has underperformed on D10!), Double 16 has also been a very happy hunting ground for MvG. Anderson’s Double 20 hitting hasn’t been bad but he would usually hope to be 50% or more on it, the most surprising stat is the amount of Double 16’s than Anderson has attempted as he rarely finds himself in that area of the board, most of those Double 16 attempts did come in his match vs Kyle Anderson though.
All that’s left now is my verdict.
The top 2 seeds clash in the final and what a final it promises to be with both players looking in red hot form, barring Anderson’s performance vs Huybrechts they have both played to a very high level throughout the tournament. As well as the title there is the fact they will be so desperate to beat their opponent and prove who is the best, it’s just all set up to be a classic final and could be the best final in the history of this tournament. MvG starts as the favourite and that isn’t a surprise but Anderson has stepped up in big matches against him and shown when he is at his best he can go toe to toe with the world number one. I am tipping van Gerwen to get the win in a match that will have plenty of twists and turns and isn’t one to be missed!