2016 Grand Slam of Darts – Semi-finals Preview
It’s the final day of the 2016 Grand Slam of Darts and four players will battle it out for the £100,000 first prize. It’s a top class quartet and there’s sure to be some world class darting action.
The semi-finals are to be played in the afternoon with the final being played in the evening session.
Here are my previews.
Michael van Gerwen
- Michael van Gerwen hasn’t been troubled in reaching this stage of the tournament; he has dropped just 12 legs. In the quarter-finals against Brendan Dolan he had a very easy 16-3 victory.
- Against Dolan he missed a total of 37 darts at a double in the 19 legs of darts, most of the misses were when he was under no pressure, but overall his tournament double success percentage is under 35%, at the same stage of last year’s Grand Slam his double success percentage was over 52%.
- His tournament average is also well below the levels it was in reaching the semi-finals at last year’s Grand Slam. This year its 99.05 compared to 108.28 in 2015.
- This is his 3rd appearance in the semi-finals at the Grand Slam; he won both of his 2 previous semi-finals only dropping a total of 14 legs across both matches (16-8 v Winstanley in 2012 and 16-6 v Michael Smith in 2015).
- Van Gerwen has won his last 10 TV ranking semi-final matches; the last time he was beaten in a TV ranking semi-final was at the 2015 World Championships when he lost to Gary Anderson.
- Wright produced a very accomplished all round performance to defeat Phil Taylor 16-10 in the last 16. The platform for victory was set in the opening session when he raced into a 5-0 lead. Taylor rallied and closed the gap to 1 leg at 7-6 and 9-8 but Wright was relentless in his pressure and he produced some key high checkouts to establish control again and he never let it slip.
- The 103.37 average Wright registered against Taylor pushed his tournament average over the 100 mark (101.35); he also has a very respectable double success percentage of 47%.
- This is Wright’s first time in the semi-finals of the Grand Slam but he is no stranger to the later stages of TV ranking tournaments as this will be the 8th time he has contested one, of the previous 7 he has won 3 and lost 4.
- Wright is aiming to reach consecutive finals in TV tournaments having lost in the final of the recent World Series of Darts finals to van Gerwen.
Head to Head (van Gerwen leads 41-8)
Michael van Gerwen has a very dominant head to head record over Peter Wright and has won 15 in a row against ‘Snakebite’ (11 of those wins were in 2016). In total van Gerwen has only lost 1 time in his last 25 matches vs Wright (they also drew once in the Premier League during this spell). Their most recent meeting was only a couple of weeks ago in the final of the World Series of Darts finals; van Gerwen won 11-9.
These two players are certainly no strangers to facing off in the later stages of tournaments and it has been van Gerwen who has enjoyed the vast majority of success. Peter Wright is ahead on performance stats during this tournament and there is no doubting he has the ability to trouble van Gerwen but the dominance MvG has had over Wright can’t be ignored. Van Gerwen hasn’t hit peak form during this week especially on his doubles and if he carries on hitting the percentage he has been doing then Wright might be able to capitalise, van Gerwen however hasn’t had to be on the top of his game and he hasn’t had to hit any pressure doubles and going on past record there is a strong likelihood he will respond when it counts.
I’m not sure Wright will overturn van Gerwen but he has a chance of running him close and the handicap of Wright +5.5 looks possible. A Wright highest checkout is another mild fancy.
- Anderson won 16-13 against van Barneveld in the quarter-finals and in the final legs of that match produced the best spell of darts of any player during the tournament. Anderson was 12-11 down and proceeded to hit a total of 8 180s during the final 6 legs of the match, he won the last 4 legs in 13, 12, 11, 11 darts. It was a surge of exceptional darts that Barney could do nothing about.
- Anderson’s final average against Barney was 103.81 his highest of the tournament so far, his overall tournament average is 100.76 but his average over his two knockout matches is 102.74.
- Barring his group match against Derry his doubling throughout the tournament has been consistently good, he has hit over 45% of his attempts in each of his last 2 matches and his overall tournament percentage is a touch over 44%.
- This is his 4th time in the semi-finals at the Grand Slam; he beat Mark Walsh to reach the final in 2011, but lost to Taylor in 2007 and Terry Jenkins in 2008.
- In the quarter-finals Wade eased past Chris Dobey by a score of 16-5 added to his 10-2 win over van de Pas in the previous round means he has only dropped 7 legs in the knockout rounds. He dropped 11 in the group stage.
- Wade has the lowest tournament average of any of the remaining four semi-finalists; his highest average of 100.58 came in defeat against Chisnall in the group stage.
- This is his 2nd time in the semi-finals at the Grand Slam, on his previous appearance back in 2010 he defeated Wayne Jones 16-6 on his way to the final where he lost to Scott Waites.
Head to Head (Anderson leads 28-14)
Anderson has a big lead over Wade in their head to head record but Wade has had some recent success against Anderson having won 3 of their last 4 meetings. Their most recent encounter came at the European Championship when Wade won 6-0 in the first round, Anderson was well below par in that game and averaged below 80.
Gary Anderson has had a tough run of matches to get to this stage of the tournament and he has risen to every challenge set before him, coming through a last leg decider against Noppert and producing an exceptional run to see off van Barneveld in the quarter-finals, the way Anderson has closed out those games was very impressive. Wade hasn’t been tested in the knockout rounds but he has beaten his opposition with no problems and if pushed he will raise his level, but can he raise it to the levels that Anderson can produce?
Anderson is showing great belief and composure this week and if you couple that with his talent he really will take some stopping, I don’t think Wade will be able to stick with him over the long format, at some stage Anderson may produce a run of darts which pulls him away and makes the difference. I’m predicting 16-11 or 16-12 to Anderson.