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Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson set up Grand Slam of Darts semi-final showdown
Van Gerwen eventually sees off Jonny Clayton after Anderson eases past Michael Unterbuchner
Last Updated: 18/11/18 12:13pm
Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson set up a semi-final showdown at the Grand Slam of Darts with very different quarter-final wins on Saturday night.
The pair have been the subject of much debate this year as Anderson won the UK Open, World Matchplay and Champions League of Darts to underline his status as Van Gerwen's major rival at the top of the sport.
Despite 19 titles this year across the Tour, Van Gerwen has only the Premier League and the World Grand Prix to his name and suffered surprise defeats at both the European Championships and World Series of Darts Finals.
But the brilliant Dutchman is chasing a record-breaking fourth successive Grand Slam title and remained on course despite admitting he will need to improve on his performance against his group stage conquerer Jonny Clayton, which saw him miss an astonishing 32 darts at double.
Anderson has made no secret of how much he wants to win this tournament and eased through to the last four with the minimum of fuss, losing 12 legs en route including just six in a dominant display against the last player standing from the BDO, Michael Unterbuchner.
Grand Slam of Darts - Semi-Finals
|Michael van Gerwen||v||Gary Anderson|
|Gerwyn Price||v||Mensur Suljovic|
Gary Anderson 16-6 Michael Unterbuchner
Unterbuchner showed no nerves early on to break Anderson in the opening leg and then consolidated for a 2-0 lead after the world No 4 had missed darts to level.
However, in the longer format Anderson was unflustered, pushing his average up by 10 points and into three figures to set the tone for a dominant display. The Scot reeled off the next three legs, including a brilliant 12-darter to level and a clinical 66 check-out, to head into the first interval with a 3-2 lead.
Unterbuchner, who knocked out in-form James Wade in the last 16, missed a dart for a 117 finish and was punished by Anderson, who took out a sensational 152 for a fourth leg in succession.
Three more followed as Anderson opened up a 7-2 lead before the young German, a former Lakeside semi-finalist, eventually stopped the rot, thanks to a nervy double 10.
A 13-dart leg saw Anderson re-establish his five-leg advantage, only for Unterbuchner to respond with a 12-darter of his own.
Unterbuchner underlined his battling qualities with a 107 check-out, but 2011 runner-up Anderson's response was to put his foot down again and move 10-4 in front with his second three-figure finish of the contest - a 101 with the minimum of fuss took the Scot within six legs of the last four.
The Flying Scotsman, a semi-finalist in each of the last two years in Wolverhampton, ploughed on to claim his semi-final spot, Unterbuchner's magical 160 was one of only two more legs the German won as Anderson sealed his 16-6 victory courtesy of double one.
Michael van Gerwen 16-12 Jonny Clayton
With Anderson having booked his place, it was Van Gerwen's turn to complete the high-profile line-up and despite 32 missed darts at double, including eight for the match, the world No 1 still managed a 101 average on his way to a battling victory.
Van Gerwen edged a high-quality opening session, pinching the final leg to hit back after Clayton had settled into a 2-1 lead early on.
But Clayton, who lost the Players Championship final to Van Gerwen last year but won an astonishing group stage match last Sunday, put on the afterburners to level with a brilliant 12-dart leg and then go back in front thanks to a superb 142 check-out.
That seemed to fire up Van Gerwen who responded with a 124 finish but, rather than cower, his opponent seemed inspired punishing a pair of missed doubles in the ninth leg to move 5-4 in front.
Again MvG took the final leg of session, only this time it was level after Clayton had missed a dart at double 16 for a second 100+ in three legs.
A trademark Van Gerwen burst saw him reel off three successive legs upon the resumption of play but once again Clayton rose to the challenge, matching the world No 1 and punished missed darts at double from the Dutchman.
A 107 finish was the highlight of a three-leg burst of his own from Clayton who levelled at 8-8 with a brilliant 13-dart leg as he maintained an average of 100.
Van Gerwen was continuing to miss doubles but was able to keep his nose in front at 9-8 and 10-9, as Clayton looked to be wavering but again the Ferret stole the final leg of the session.
His third three-figure outshot, this time pinning tops to take out 111, ensured it was all square at 10 legs apiece and then shared the next two legs before Van Gerwen's burst to the finish line with five of the next six legs securing the win despite his double trouble.
The Grand Slam of Darts continues with Finals Day on Sunday - two sessions gets underway with the semi-finals on Sky Sports Action from 1pm and the final from 7.30pm on Sky Sports Main Event
The draw for the World Championship takes place on Monday November 26, live on Sky Sports News while coverage from Alexandra Palace kicks off with a preview show at 6pm on Thursday December 13.
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