Gary Anderson and Peter Wright will clash in the semi-finals of the Grand Slam of Darts on Sunday, after the Scottish duo saw off Mensur Suljovic and Glen Durrant respectively on a dramatic night of darts at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall on Friday evening.
Former finalist Anderson secured a semi-final spot for the second successive year after defeating Mensur Suljovic 16-12. The Austrian had won the pair’s last three meetings- including September’s Champions League of Darts final, but the two-time world champion exacted revenge; averaging 101.79 and landing nine maximums to prevail.
Suljovic kicked off proceedings with a tidy 100 checkout, but Anderson responded with some flawless finishing; converting checkouts of 61, 68 and 90 to move 3-1 ahead. Suljovic halted the Scot’s charge with a 68 finish of his own, before ‘The Flying Scotsman’ restored his two-leg lead with a two-dart 72 kill.
The next two legs were shared, before Suljovic produced a nerveless 113 finish to cut the deficit to 5-4. ‘The Gentle’ then requested a change of board to referee Russ Bray after experiencing some fall-outs and this appeared to antagonise Anderson.
The Scot’s mood wasn’t helped by missing three darts at double as Suljovic squared up matters at five apiece, but the two-time world champion responded by posting maximums in each of the next two legs; crashing in 13 and 14 darters to lead 7-5.
The third seed then capitalised on two missed darts from Suljovic to hit tops for 8-5, before stretching his lead with an effortless 13-darter. Nevertheless, the Austrian fought back. He stopped the rot via D10 after Anderson missed three at double for a fifth straight leg, before crashing in consecutive 14-darters to reduce the arrears to 9-8.
‘The Flying Scotsman’ stopped the rot by pegging D10 to restore his two-leg buffer, but Suljovic continued to toil and cut the gap to the solitary leg once more; converting a clinical 64 kill on D14 after Anderson had missed D8 for a 136 checkout.
History repeated itself moments later as Anderson missed D7 for a 12-dart break and the Champions League of Darts winner sank D10 to complete a 65 outshot, but the Austrian wired D16 for a 110 checkout in the following leg, which allowed the world number three to move 12-10 ahead after pinning D4 with his last dart in hand.
The Scottish star then secured a crucial double-break thanks to a fine 13-darter, before coolly dispatching a 72 checkout to move to within two legs of victory. Suljovic then reeled off two straight legs to preserve his hopes, but the decisive moment came in the 27th and penultimate leg.
Anderson was consistently outscoring the Austrian, but a missed dart at tops afforded Suljovic a chance to reduce the arrears to 14-13, which he failed to take. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ returned to peg tops and move to the brink of victory, which he sealed by eventually sinking D4 at the sixth attempt to round-off a hard-fought 16-12 triumph.
Elsewhere, Peter Wright fended off a valiant fightback from BDO world champion Glen Durrant to set up a semi-final showdown against his fellow countryman Anderson. Durrant defeated Wright 5-2 in the group phase, but ‘Snakebite’ punished some profligate finishing from the Teessider to secure a place in the last four.
At one stage, the BDO star had converted just four of 29 attempts at double as Wright led 14-6, but Durrant stormed back to add some respectability to the scoreline; wiring D12 for a nine-darter in the 25th leg. However, the UK Open champion survived the onslaught to prevail with a 93.68 average, seven 180’s and a 38% checkout success rate.
Wright drew first blood on D4, before Durrant missed D5 for a 130 riposte. The Scot pinned the same target to complete a 95 kill and go 2-0 ahead, before ‘Duzza’ opened his account via D10. The Middlesbrough ace then squared up the contest with a clinical 71 kill, before Wright converted a crucial 80 outshot for an instant break back.
The roles were reversed in the sixth leg as Durrant levelled up proceedings via D4 after Wright squandered four darts at double, but the world number two responded to seize total control of the contest. He dispatched a two-dart 68 checkout for the fifth break of throw in seven legs, before firing in legs of 13 and 14 darts to move 6-3 ahead.
Durrant spurned two more darts at double as Wright clinically took out 76, but the Lakeside champion effortlessly dispatched a two-dart 89 combination to reduce the gap to 7-4. ‘Snakebite’ then reeled off three straight legs to extend his advantage to 10-4, before capitalising on an incredible nine missed darts from Durrant to move 11-4 up.
The colourful Scot pegged another 76 finish to continue the procession, but Durrant stopped the rot after Wright missed five darts at double. He then took out a fine 124 outshot on the bullseye to register his sixth leg, but ‘Snakebite’ responded by posting a classy 171 and nailing D4 to move 14-6 ahead at the interval.
Durrant was enduring an extremely frustrating evening with his average languishing in the mid 80’s, but he produced a blistering surge after the break. He posted maximums in successive legs to reduce the arrears to 14-8, before clinching his third leg on the spin after following up six perfect darts with a 12-dart hold.
‘Duzza’ then spurned two darts at D8 for a fourth straight leg as Wright stepped in with a crucial 68 kill to move to within a leg of victory, but Durrant responded by landing six perfect darts once more; agonisingly wiring D12 for the spectacular nine-dart finish.
This reduced the arrears to 15-10, but the BDO world champion was unable to make further inroads. He wired the bullseye for his second 124 finish of the match and Wright pounced; converting D5 with his last dart in hand to seal a spot in his second successive Grand Slam semi-final.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
bwin Grand Slam of Darts
Friday November 17
Peter Wright 16-10 Glen Durrant
Gary Anderson 16-12 Mensur Suljovic
Saturday November 18 (8pm)
Phil Taylor v Daryl Gurney
Michael van Gerwen v Rob Cross