Michael van Gerwen overcame an in-form Simon Whitlock to keep his World Grand Prix hopes alive, as Gary Anderson, Raymond van Barneveld and Dave Chisnall won through to the semi-finals on a high-quality night of action at the Citywest Hotel, Dublin, on Thursday evening.
Van Gerwen produced a stunning display to defeat Simon Whitlock in the match of the night. The world number one averaged an incredible 103.09, hit four maximums and converted 48% of his attempts at double to defeat the dogged Australian.
MvG started the contest strongly, with all three legs going with throw. Whitlock then failed to pin a starting double with his first six darts and Van Gerwen capitalised, sealing the set on D5.
The second set was an extremely high-quality affair. Van Gerwen fired in his first maximum to kick off the set, but Whitlock held throw with a nerveless 64 kill. The world number one then registered six perfect darts, before eventually levelling proceedings by hitting D1.
Whitlock edged back ahead in the set with a clinical 61 checkout, but ‘Mighty Mike’ continued to pressure the Australian, forcing a set decider after dispatching a 92 finish with consummate ease. However, Whitlock held his nerve magnificently to restore parity at one apiece, pinning D6 to complete a 65 checkout.
The Dutchman responded strongly in the third set and established a two-leg cushion. Nevertheless, ‘The Wizard’ conjured up some magic to force another set decider, taking out 100 and 130 in successive legs. MvG was under pressure, but he maintained his composure superbly, firing in a 14-darter to regain the lead in sets.
This appeared to deflate Whitlock, and Van Gerwen continued his unrelenting precision on the treble segments to move to the cusp of victory. ‘The Green Machine’ spurned a match dart in leg three as Whitlock stayed alive on D6, although this reprieve was only premature, as MvG completed the triumph with a classy 13-dart leg.
World champion Gary Anderson is through to just his second Grand Prix semi-final, after coming from behind to defeat Kim Huybrechts in a scrappy tussle. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ averaged just 83 and struggled persistently on tops, but he still won 9 of the final 12 legs to blow away ‘The Hurricane’.
Huybrechts cruised to the opening set without reply after breaking Anderson’s throw twice. The Scot was averaging in the low 70’s and the Belgian appeared in control, but the world number two upped the ante after the interval, taking out shots of 124 and 141 to level up proceedings.
The third set was a tense affair, with the first three legs going with throw. Huybrechts had the opportunity to force a crucial set decider, but he began to show frailties on the doubles which Anderson ruthlessly exploited to cement a 2-1 advantage.
The second seed hit D10 in each of the first two legs of set four to move to within a leg of the semi-finals, but Huybrechts took out 70 to keep his slender hopes alive. The Belgian then had a wonderful opportunity to break Anderson and throw for the set, but he spurned SEVEN darts at double, as the world champion crawled over the line via D2.
Anderson will face Raymond van Barneveld in the last four, after the five-time world champion cruised to an emphatic straight sets victory over his compatriot Benito van de Pas. Van Barneveld was in merciless mood, averaging 93.36, hitting three maximums and converting 50% of his doubles; dropping just the solitary leg en route to victory.
Barney took seven darts to pin a starting double but he still clinched the first leg, firing in scores of 152, 140 and 137, before converting a 72 kill on tops. Van Barneveld extended his lead by pinning D18 with his last dart in hand, before hitting the same target to clinch the first set in 13-darts.
Van Barneveld kicked off set two in style, winning his fourth consecutive leg with a 12-darter, culminating with a clinical 110 finish. RvB was afforded a let off moments later, as Van de Pas missed three clear darts to break, and Barney held throw on D4 before breaking ‘Big Ben’s throw in 15 darts to double his lead in sets.
Van de Pas was keen to avert the whitewash and he managed to win his first leg of the contest by virtue of a spectacular 147 finish. However, his joy was short-lived. Barney broke back instantly on D9, before moving to within a leg of victory with a spectacular 142 checkout.
This was the decisive blow for Benito, and Van Barneveld sensed it. The 49-year-old kicked off the leg with a 112 start, before producing a stunning visit of 177 to leave 12. Barney rounded off a clinical display by pinning D6 for a 13-darter, to seal his routine progression to the last four, where he’ll be aiming to reach his first final since 2009.
Elsewhere, Dave Chisnall remains on course to reach his second Grand Prix final, after he defeated Daryl Gurney 3-1 in the last eight. Chisnall dumped out Northern Ireland’s other hope, Brendan Dolan on Wednesday evening, and repeated the feat to see off ‘SuperChin’, averaging 90.54 and hitting five maximums in the process.
The first set was an extremely hard-fought affair. Gurney had the opportunity to clinch it by three legs to one, but he narrowly missed D15 for a 150 finish in leg four. This proved expensive, as Chizzy converted 52 on tops to break throw and steal the set.
Chisnall cruised to the second set without reply and a whitewash seemed on the cards, but Gurney rallied in set three. After Chisnall missed a dart at bull to break in the opening leg, Gurney pinned D16 to complete a 48 finish, before converting 94 on D10 to double his advantage.
The Northern Irishman secured the set without reply to halve the deficit, but Chisnall responded strongly to edge a hard-fought fourth set, taking out 53 with his last dart at tops to seal his progression, with Gurney loitering dangerously. The St Helen’s ace will now take on his nemesis Michael van Gerwen for a place in Saturday’s final.
Unibet World Grand Prix
Thursday October 6 (7pm)
Dave Chisnall 3-1 Daryl Gurney
Benito van de Pas 0-3 Raymond van Barneveld
Michael van Gerwen 3-1 Simon Whitlock
Gary Anderson 3-1 Kim Huybrechts