Sunday at the Grand Slam
By Paul Prenderville at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall
Last Updated: 19/11/17 5:38pm
It's a bumper double session at the Grand Slam of Darts on Sunday, getting underway with the semi-finals in the afternoon and the final in the evening.
The winner will have come through about as tough an endurance test as there is outside of the World Championships, but for darts fans it's been a tungsten feast.
We are left with an all Scottish semi-final between world no 2 Peter Wright and world no 3 Gary Anderson, both men chasing a first Grand Slam title and both moving into form at the time of year when the big prizes are being handed out.
While in the other semi-final it's another grudge match for Phil Taylor, who saw off Daryl Gurney in ruthless fashion but may find things tougher against a certain Michael van Gerwen.
Peter Wright v Gary Anderson
Snakebite has leapfrogged Anderson in the Order of Merit but the Flying Scotsman comes to life at this time of year, winning all five matches including a hard-fought and first TV victory over Mensur Suljovic.
"Gary dealt with Mensur really well and slow his whole game down, you don't do that as your changing the rhythm you've had for life," said Wayne Mardle
"But he figured it out, played well and he got it done."
Anderson was the runner-up in 2011 and is through to his fifth semi-final at the event - but has lost in last four on three previous occasions - but is in better form.
"There is no doubt that Gary is playing the better of the two - the averages speak for themselves and for Gary the check-our percentages are decent too," added Mardle.
"Peter has been average for Peter Wright and while it is a good sign that he is winning, it's a bad sign for Peter because he is the ultimate confidence player.
"He doesn't play like Adrian Lewis with a lot of panache and joie de vivre he needs the confidence. That's why he always changes his darts, he is looking for something positive to grab onto."
Wright, who has won his last four matches in the tournament after starting with defeat to Glen Durrant, made his major breakthrough at the UK Open earlier this year and is looking to go one better than his semi-final at the Civic Hall last year.
Story so far......
|Peter Wright||Gary Anderson|
|Group Stage||lost v Glen Durrant 2-5||beat Cameron Menzies 5-3|
|beat Corey Cadby 5-0||beat Berry van Peer 5-1|
|beat Alan Norris 5-4||beat Simon Whitlock 5-2|
|Last 16||beat Stephen Bunting 10-4||beat Michael Smith 10-6|
|Quarter-Final||beat Glen Durrant 16-10||beat Mensur Suljovic 16-12|
Mardle's verdict - Against Gary you feel Peter is going to get outscored so you think he will need to be on with his doubles and he is not.
He has to score better and finish better, but to do that in one game, against Gary Anderson who he has struggled with in the past, is difficult.
Gary will think he has all the aces, Peter has got to find his form and if he is out against Gary he will get beat and he will get beat heavily. Anderson to win comfortably.
Michael van Gerwen v Phil Taylor
Taylor fired his warning after dispatching Gurney on Saturday night - and yet again insisted he wished he was 20 years younger to dish out beatings on a more regular basis.
All that will come as no surprise to MvG, the world No 1 was on the end of a verbal volley on Blackpool when Taylor's quarter-final victory saw him on his way to the World Matchplay title.
Van Gerwen's defeat on the Lancashire coast came before his shock exit to John Henderson at the World Grand Prix but those proved to be minor blips as his winning run since Dublin has seen him pick up televised titles at the European Championship and World Series of Darts.
Perhaps surprisingly it is Taylor who has the edge in the televised contests since MvG's Matchplay final triumph in 2016.
The Power beat Van Gerwen at the Champions League of Darts earlier this year, won their last Premier League meeting and won their last major final, which came last year in the inaugural Champions League when Taylor stormed to the title.
Whether any of this has an impact on Van Gerwen remains to be seen, the summer blip can be attributed to the arrival of his first child and he is moving into form nicely with a winning run that stretches back to the Henderson defeat.
Victory for Van Gerwen will take him a step closer to a third successive Grand Slam title, a feat only achieved by Taylor, who himself is chasing a second major TV title of his farewell year.
It's not to be missed.
Story so far.......
|Michael van Gerwen||Phil Taylor|
|Group Stage||beat Ross Montgomery 5-1||beat Peter Machin 5-1|
|beat Rob Cross 5-4||beat Robbie Green 5-4|
|beat Joe Murnan 5-2||lost v James Wade 3-5|
|Last 16||beat Steve Lennon 10-3||beat Darren Webster 10-4|
|Quarter-Final||beat Rob Cross 16-13||beat Daryl Gurney 16-4|
The Grand Slam of Darts continues on Sky Sports on Sunday with a double session, semi-final coverage is underway on Sky Sports Action from 1pm with the final on Sky Sports Arena and Main Event from 6.30pm
Keep up to date with the news as the tungsten enters its busiest time of year with the PDC World Championships just around the corner get all the latest at www.skysports.com/darts and join in the conversation @SkySportsDarts.