Defending champion Michael van Gerwen breezed through to the Grand Slam quarter-finals to set up a last eight showdown with Rob Cross, who defeated 2012 champion Raymond van Barneveld in a high-quality contest at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall on Thursday evening.
Van Gerwen remains on course to secure a third successive Grand Slam title after thrashing debutant Steve Lennon 10-3 to reach the last eight. The world champion enjoyed a stunning mid-game burst; averaging 104.98, piling in eight maximums and dispatching 48% of his attempts at double to triumph in style.
Lennon had opportunities early on in the piece; spurning two darts at double in each of the first two legs as Van Gerwen moved 2-0 ahead. The Irishman opened his account with a tidy 62 finish, but suddenly ‘The Green Machine’ went into overdrive, landing three 180’s in two legs to register back-to-back 11-darters for a 4-1 lead at the interval.
MvG landed back-to-back maximums for a 14-darter and a 5-1 lead, before extending his cushion on D8, having wired the bull for a 170 outshot. The Dutchman then followed up his sixth maximum by hitting D2 to continue the procession, before crashing in his seventh 180 and posting another 11-dart leg for his sixth straight leg.
Van Gerwen had rattled off those six legs in just 75 darts, but Lennon halted the world number one’s charge via D4, before ‘Mighty Mike’ delivered an exquisite 10-dart riposte. Lennon then registered his third leg with a majestic 82 kill for an 11-darter, before MvG rounded off a stunning performance by pegging D16.
The world number one will now take on Rob Cross in the quarter-finals, after ‘Voltage’ reeled off four straight legs from 7-6 behind to defeat five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld. Cross spurned two match darts to beat MvG in the group phase, but he’ll be relishing the prospect of revenge on Saturday evening.
Cross was plagued by double-trouble in the early stages of his last 16 clash, but he fought back from 4-2 and 7-6 down to triumph with a 103.87 average, five maximums and a 37% checkout conversion rate. Van Barneveld battled valiantly, but bowed out after averaging 98.30, landing two maximums and converting 47% of his shots at a double.
The pair exchanged 15-dart breaks of throw in the opening two legs, before Van Barneveld conjured up a majestic 167 finish to break the 27-year-old. The next four legs all went with throw, before Cross fired in a clinical 104 kill to level up proceedings at four apiece.
‘Voltage’ then completed a 15-dart hold to secure the lead for the first time, before landing back-to-back maximums to round-off a 12-darter and establish a 6-4 lead heading into the interval. Nevertheless, Barney showed his experience to bounce back.
The Dutchman landed a crucial 68 finish to break back, before sinking D10 to restore parity at six apiece. Cross then squandered two darts at a double, which enabled Van Barneveld to dispatch a nerveless 64 kill to regain the initiative at 7-6. However, the topsy-turvy nature of this tussle continued.
The former electrician fired in a clinical 67 checkout for yet another break of throw, before following up his fifth 180 with a sublime 11-darter to lead 8-7. Cross then punished some indifferent scoring from RvB to move 9-7 ahead with an effortless 72 finish, before completing a sensational victory with a nerveless 14-dart hold.
Elsewhere, Phil Taylor kept alive his hopes of winning a seventh Grand Slam title by easing past Darren Webster 10-4 to reach the last eight. The 16-time world champion was in fine form; averaging 101.04, landing six maximums and boasting an impressive 53% checkout conversion rate, as Webster bowed out despite not missing a double!
‘The Power’ drew first blood on D14 and kicked off the second leg with seven perfect darts, but Webster held throw with a tidy 61 finish. The pair then exchanged 14-dart holds, before Taylor pegged a clinical 70 kill via D16 to establish a slender 3-2 lead heading into the first interval.
The 57-year-old then clinched the first break of throw with a two-dart 93 combination, before registering his third straight leg with a 14-darter. Webster stopped the rot after following up his first maximum with a fine two-dart 62 kill, but the decisive moment came in the ninth leg.
‘The Demolition Man’ fired in with six perfect darts, which he followed up with a poultry score of five. In typical Taylor fashion, he conjured up a nerveless 120 checkout to break Webster’s heart, before stretching his lead to 8-3 by virtue of consecutive 15-dart legs.
The Stoke-on-Trent star then sealed his fourth straight leg via D16 to move to within a leg of victory, but out of nowhere, Webster fired in an inspired 140 finish to stay alive. Nevertheless, this didn’t spark a heroic fightback, as Taylor continued his proficient finishing by taking out 91 to seal his progression in emphatic fashion.
Finally, Daryl Gurney dismantled two-time Grand Slam finalist James Wade 10-2 to reach the quarter-finals on his Wolverhampton debut. The World Grand Prix champion averaged 94.62, crashed in seven maximums and converted 37% of his darts at double to breeze through, as Wade bowed out after missing 13 of his 15 attempts at a double.
The Northern Irishman kicked off proceedings with an early maximum and a two-dart 100 kill for a 14-dart hold, but Wade levelled inside 15 darts on D5. However, after a promising start, ‘The Machine’ went off the boil and Gurney capitalised; reeling off three straight legs to lead 4-1 at the first interval.
Gurney moved 5-1 ahead on D8 after Wade missed D12 for a 141 outshot, before firing in a 13-darter to extend his cushion. The seven-time major winner was struggling in the finishing department and squandered another two darts at double, as Gurney stretched his lead to 7-1 with his sixth straight leg.
Wade stopped the rot with a tidy two-dart 70 kill, but it was then a case of normal service resumed for the Northern Irishman. He replied with a 14-darter of his own and then followed his sixth maximum by hitting D8 to lead 9-2, before pouncing on Wade missing half-a-dozen darts at double to wrap up a comprehensive win on D1.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
bwin Grand Slam of Darts
Thursday November 16 (7pm)
Second Round x4
Daryl Gurney 10-2 James Wade
Phil Taylor 10-4 Darren Webster
Michael van Gerwen 10-3 Steve Lennon
Raymond van Barneveld 7-10 Rob Cros