The world’s top two players will collide in the final of the World Grand Prix, as Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson defeated Dave Chisnall and Raymond van Barneveld respectively in a thrilling night of semi-final action at the Citywest Hotel, Dublin, on Friday evening.
World number one Michael van Gerwen reeled off three successive sets to come from behind and reach the final. It was a stunning performance from the Boxtel ace, who averaged 99.37, landed six maximums and converted 50% of his attempts at double. Chisnall averaged 95.05 and fired in nine maximums, but it wasn’t enough.
The first set was played at an outrageously good standard. Chisnall averaged 112.11 but still lost the set. Van Gerwen broke Chizzy’s throw in the opening leg with a 110 checkout, before extending his lead with a 14-darter. Chisnall fired back with a sublime 10-darter, but MvG wrapped up the opener with a wonderful 106 finish, with an average of 114.18.
However, Chisnall showed commendable resolve to bounce back and level up proceedings in set two. The St Helen’s star broke MvG’s throw in the opening leg of the set with a 79 finish, but the world number one broke back instantly with a clinical 72 kill.
The pair were both guilty of missing doubles in leg three but Chisnall pinned D16 to secure the third consecutive break of throw, before Van Gerwen endured double trouble. ‘The Green Machine’ failed to pin a starting double with his first seven darts, and the 2013 finalist nailed D5 to draw level.
Van Gerwen kicked off the third set with a stunning 160 as he broke in 14 darts, but Chisnall fired back brilliantly with a 95 checkout. In the third leg, the Dutchman took 10 darts to pin a starting double, but clawed himself back into contention with successive visits of 180 and 171, before Chisnall escaped by hitting D5 with his last dart in hand.
‘Mighty Mike’ suffered further double-trouble moments later; this time at the latter stages of the leg, missing five darts to force a set decider. Chisnall gratefully capitalised on his opponent’s profligacy, pinning tops to seize the initiative.
The fourth set was an evenly contested affair, with the first four legs all comfortably going with throw. Van Gerwen was under pressure to hold and avoid going 3-1 behind, but the world number one conjured up a simply sensational leg, pinning D18 to complete a 10-darter and restore parity at two apiece.
‘The Green Machine’ took real belief from this magical leg and kicked off the fifth set in stunning style, landing three maximums and a 177 to establish a 2-0 cushion. Chisnall spurned two darts to prolong the set and Van Gerwen stepped in, hitting D16 to complete a 70 finish to clinch the fifth set without reply.
Chisnall was under the cosh but responded admirably, taking out 104 to break Van Gerwen’s throw in the opening leg of the sixth set. ‘The Yellow Peril’ doubled his lead on D8, but MvG fired back with a 56 checkout.
‘The Green Machine’ broke Chisnall’s throw with a stunning 96 checkout to force a set decider, and the advantage of throw proved crucial for the Dutchman, who sealed his place in Saturday’s final with a commanding 15-darter.
Elsewhere, world champion Gary Anderson won through to his first ever Grand Prix final by beating five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld 4-1. The legendary Dutchman hadn’t dropped a set en route to the last four, but Anderson was magnificent, averaging 98.89, hitting 20 140’s and firing in five maximums.
Van Barneveld performed far better than the scoreline suggested. RvB fired in eight maximums and averaged almost 92, but he couldn’t quite replicate his proficient doubling from the previous rounds, as Anderson edged the decisive moments of the tussle.
‘The Flying Scotsman’ lived up to his name as he stormed to the opening set, averaging 113 in the process. He established a 2-0 cushion, but Van Barneveld halved the deficit with a 62 checkout. Barney appeared poised to force a set decider, but Anderson scuppered that prospect with a majestic 148 checkout.
This was a significant test of character for Van Barneveld, but he passed it with flying colours to level up proceedings at one apiece. All five legs went with throw, and the 49-year-old clinched the second set on D15, after producing a fine 13-darter.
Barney had the momentum and stormed into a 2-0 advantage early in the third set. Nevertheless, the Scot hit tops to close the gap, before capitalising on a sloppy start from RvB in leg four to force a set decider. The world champion had the throw and utilised it superbly, converting a 104 finish to regain the lead in sets.
Van Barneveld held throw on D16 at the beginning of set four, but Anderson continued his relentless assault on the trebles by responding with a 12-darter. However, the decisive moment in the contest came in the following leg.
Barney uncharacteristically spurned opportunities at double, enabling the world number two to claim a precious break of throw on D6. The Scot then had the advantage of throw in the fourth leg, and completed a clinical 78 checkout to establish a commanding two-set cushion.
The five-time world champion profited from Anderson missing doubles as he broke throw to lead the fifth set by two legs to one, but once again, Barney was punished for missing doubles to open the leg. Anderson ruthlessly pounced by taking out 89 on tops, before assertively nailing tops to seal a place in his maiden Dublin final.
Unibet World Grand Prix
Friday October 7 (7pm)
Michael van Gerwen 4-2 Dave Chisnall
Gary Anderson 4-1 Raymond van Barneveld
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC