Gary Anderson produced a sublime comeback from 4-1 down against Michael Smith to set up a Grand Slam quarter-final against Mensur Suljovic, as Glen Durrant and Peter Wright also triumphed to set up a repeat of their group stage clash on a thrilling night at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall on Wednesday evening.
Anderson produced some of the best darts ever seen on the Grand Slam stage to defeat his protégé Michael Smith 10-6 in a thrilling last 16 tussle. ‘Bully-Boy’ stormed into a 4-1 lead at the first interval with an average of 115, but ‘The Flying Scotsman’ roared back and won nine of the remaining eleven legs by producing some inspired arrows.
The two-time world champion averaged 106.91, piled in six maximums and converted 48% of his attempts at double, as Smith bowed out despite averaging a creditable 98.18, landing four 180’s and boasting a checkout conversion rate of 55%.
The pair kicked off proceedings by exchanging 12-dart holds, before Smith followed up a brilliant visit of 174 by pegging tops for an 11-darter. The former World-Youth champion secured the first break via D10 having wired the bull for a 164 finish, before effortlessly dispatching a 110 outshot to lead 4-1 at the break with a staggering 115 average.
The apprentice was teaching the master a lesson in the opening exchanges, but Anderson summoned up mesmeric darts after the break to wrestle back the initiative. He fired in a spectacular 164 checkout for a crucial hold, before following up his first maximum with a sublime 11-darter to reduce the deficit to 4-3.
The third seed then drew level with a clinical 68 finish, before securing the lead for the first time on D12; having earlier wired the bull for a 170 outshot. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ then rattled in his fifth straight leg after following up his second 180 with a 13-darter, before pinning tops to continue his stunning sequence.
Smith was shell-shocked and Anderson’s rampage showed little sign of subsiding as he dispatched a clinical 80 kill for a 15-dart hold and a seventh straight leg. ‘Bully-Boy’ finally stopped the rot with a tidy 14-darter, but Anderson moved to the cusp of victory with a brilliant 11-darter after the pair traded maximums earlier in the leg.
The world number three then piled in his fifth maximum as he seemed destined to close out a comprehensive 10-5 triumph, but out of nowhere, he squandered six match darts as Smith sank D10 to stay alive. Nevertheless, this proved to be a mere consolation, as Anderson rounded-off a majestic win with a 14-darter via D2.
Peter Wright secured his ninth straight win over Stephen Bunting to book his spot in the quarter-finals. The second seed survived a match dart against Alan Norris to reach the last 16, but he was in imperious form against the 2014 Lakeside world champion; averaging 103.29 and converting 53% of his darts at double to triumph 10-4.
The pair exchanged holds on D10 in the opening two legs, before Wright found tops to lead 2-1 after Bunting wired the bull for a 164 finish. ‘Snakebite’ then clinched the first break of throw via D10 after Bunting spurned four darts at double, but ‘The Bullet’ responded by following up his second maximum with a 12-dart break back.
However, Wright ran riot after the interval. He nailed D10 for the third consecutive break of throw, before completing a 14-dart hold on tops to establish a 5-2 cushion. The decisive blow then came in the eighth leg; Bunting left 48 after 12 darts, but Wright fired in his first maximum before producing an exquisite 161 kill to extend his lead.
The Scot continued his clinical finishing by dispatching 84 and 64 checkouts to stretch his advantage to 8-2, but Bunting stopped the rot by pegging D16, before following up seven perfect darts with a 12-dart hold to cut the deficit to 8-4. However, this didn’t spark a heroic fightback, as Wright reeled off successive 14-darters to prevail in style.
Wright will now take on BDO world champion Glen Durrant in the last eight, after ‘Duzza’ recorded a thrilling 10-8 victory over seventh seed and 2014 finalist Dave Chisnall. Durrant led from the very first leg; averaging 99.33, crashing in seven maximums and converting 45% of his attempts at double to seal his progression.
The Teesside star drew first blood in a scrappy opener on tops, before conjuring up a magnificent 161 finish to double his lead. Chisnall followed up his first maximum by hitting D8 to open his account, but ‘Duzza’ regained his two leg lead with a fine 14-darter.
The next two legs were shared, before the BDO star was plagued by double-trouble. Chisnall is renowned for being one of the most prolific maximum hitters in world darts but he was relying on opportunistic finishing to stay alive; capitalising on six missed doubles from Durrant across two legs to level up proceedings at four apiece.
The reigning Lakeside world champion followed up his second maximum by pinning D10 with his last dart in hand to regain the initiative, but he was unable to cement this advantage; squandering two darts at double in the tenth leg, as Chisnall dispatched a two-dart 64 combination to head into the interval locked at 5-5.
Nevertheless, Durrant recaptured his clinical edge after the break. He broke Chisnall’s throw once more with a clinical 87 kill to complete a 12-darter, before restoring his two leg cushion inside 14 darts, despite the St Helen’s star kicking off the leg with five perfect darts.
‘Chizzy’ cut the gap to 7-6 with a 14-darter of his own, but an unflappable Durrant dispatched an effortless 86 outshot for another 12-dart hold. Chisnall continued to toil and held once more, but ‘Duzza’ was relentless on his own throw; piling in his sixth 180 and converting a two-dart 71 combination to move to the cusp with a 14-darter.
The St Helen’s star took out a nerveless two-dart 80 finish to reduce the arrears to 9-8, but Durrant’s nerve held. The 46-year-old began the eighteenth leg with four perfect darts and defied a late maximum from Chisnall to seal his progression with a 14-darter on tops, as ‘Chizzy’ became the first seed to exit this year’s tournament.
Elsewhere, Mensur Suljovic recorded his highest televised average to defeat a brave Berry van Peer 10-2 in the opening match of the night. ‘The Gentle’ averaged 105.84, landed three maximums and converted 67% of his attempts at double to cap off a stunning display, but Van Peer bowed out of the tournament with his held high.
The Dutchman has bravely battled dartitis throughout the tournament, but he produced his highest average of the event against the Austrian; averaging 95.39, piling in three maximums and taking out two fine combination finishes. However, his fairy-tale Wolverhampton run was ended by a merciless Suljovic.
The Champions League of Darts winner kicked off proceedings with an early maximum and a 110 checkout to open his account, before moving 5-0 ahead at the first interval after Van Peer missed two darts at double in each of the first two legs on his throw.
Suljovic then reeled off legs of 11 and 12 darts to extend his cushion to 7-0, but Van Peer averted the whitewash with fine 96 and 119 finishes. However, sixth seed Suljovic closed out an emphatic win with a 14-darter, to set up a repeat of September’s Champions League of Darts final against Anderson in Friday’s last eight.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Wednesday November 15 (7pm)
Second Round x4
Mensur Suljovic 10-2 Berry van Peer
Glen Durrant 10-8 Dave Chisnall
Gary Anderson 10-6 Michael Smith
Stephen Bunting 4-10 Peter Wright
Thursday November 16 (7pm)
Daryl Gurney v James Wade
Phil Taylor v Darren Webster
Michael van Gerwen v Steve Lennon
Raymond van Barneveld v Rob Cross