Grand Slam of Darts: Gerwyn Price and Michael van Gerwen claim group-stage wins
By Paul Prenderville at Aldersley Leisure Village
Last Updated: 10/11/19 5:47am
Gerwyn Price survived a scare to beat Mikuru Suzuki at the Grand Slam of Darts where Michael van Gerwen, Gary Anderson and James Wade also kicked off with victories.
Having seen Lisa Ashton lose 5-2 against Rob Cross in the afternoon session, it was Suzuki's turn to hunt down a first female win in the competition since Anastasia Dobromyslova in 2009, when she took to the stage against defending champion Price.
Despite a valiant attempt she fell short, as Price pulled away in the last two legs with Suzuki's doubling deserting her, but the Iceman was quick to recognise her credentials in a keenly contested contest that the Welsh world no 5 claimed 5-3.
"Fair play to her - she's not a BDO world champion for nothing. It's good to have the women in here, but please don't draw them against me anymore," Price told Sky Sports.
"I missed a couple early on but thankfully I got over the line. She's a fantastic player and she's a credit to the BDO as well.
"I would have liked to win 5-0 but at least Dimitri and Robert know they have got a game on their hands. I'm just happy to get a win and if I win the next two games I finish top of the group. That's my aim so hopefully it doesn't come down to legs difference or points but I'm just happy to win."
Suzuki had missed two darts for a break of throw in the opener but hit back to find the first 180 of the match and then pin double top before the pair traded big finishes. Price's 142 the best of the opening day but Suzuki's 116 drew a huge response from the partisan crowd.
The Welshman missed two darts for a 4-2 lead and when Suzuki blew a couple of her own, the Iceman looked poised to strike but he missed three more to allow Suzuki back in and she found double one to remain all square before he put the finishing touches to a opening victory.
Also in Group C Robert Thornton marked his return to the Grand Slam stage with a hard-fought 5-4 win over Dimitri Van den Bergh in a match that featured three 100+ finishes.
Saturday night results
|Group A||Michael van Gerwen 5-2 Jim Williams|
|Adrian Lewis 5-2 Ross Smith|
|Group B||Ian White 5-2 Steve Lennon|
|James Wade 5-2 Wesley Harms|
|Group C||Gerwyn Price 5-3 Mikuru Suzuki|
|Dimitri Van den Bergh 4-5 Robert Thornton|
|Group D||Darren Webster 3-5 William O'Connor|
|Gary Anderson 5-1 Dave Parletti|
Despite feeling under the weather, three-time champion Van Gerwen maintained his strong run of form over the last few weeks, racing into a 3-0 lead with an average of 110 before Jim Williams stopped the rot with a classy 100 finish.
The fifth leg proved crucial, Van Gerwen missed a host of darts for the leg, but Williams could not punish him and MVG claimed a less-than-convincing 23-dart leg to hold throw and stand on the brink
Williams delayed the inevitable to get a second leg on the board but Van Gerwen, who admitted afterwards he was struggling with a cold, found his mojo to seal the win with a brilliant 145 finish.
He will next face two-time semi-finalist Adrian Lewis, who is back at the Grand Slam for the first time since 2016 having come through qualifying on Monday, after he beat Ross Smith to start with a win.
Sunday evening's matches
|Group A||Michael van Gerwen v Adrian Lewis|
|Jim Williams v Ross Smith|
|Group B||Ian White v James Wade|
|Steve Lennon v Wesley Harms|
|Group C||Gerwyn Price v Robert Thornton|
|Mikuru Suzuki v Dimitri Van den Bergh|
|Group D||William O'Connor v Gary Anderson|
|Darren Webster v Dave Parletti|
In Group D, Gary Anderson returned to form to ease past the BDO's Dave Parletti for the loss of just a single leg with three maximums and a 71 per cent check-out rate made amends for an indifferent display at the World Series Finals last weekend.
The Flying Scotsman has made no secret of his desire to win this event, and having twice lost in the final to go with four semi-final defeats he is determined to go the distance and a win against William O'Connor should set him up for the second round.
He will face O'Connor on Sunday evening after the World Cup runner-up overcame a water spillage to beat Darren Webster 5-3 for a victory on his Grand Slam debut.
Can we please have VAR at the darts it would of shown the glass was clearly up side down and it was an accident not gamesmanship cheers— Darren Webster (@DEMOLITION180) November 9, 2019
Group B saw Ian White and James Wade pick up straightforward victories to set up their own Sunday showdown. Like Anderson, Wade is a two-time runner-up at this event and he beat the BDO's No 1 Wesley Harms with a routine 5-2 victory.
White will again hope to transfer his floor and European Tour form to the TV stage and an inevitable 5-2 win over Steve Lennon sets him up to get out of the group for the first time in what is his fifth attempt.
Moment of the Night
Coverage of the Grand Slam of Darts continues on Sunday with another double session, starting at 1pm on Sky Sports Action and 7pm on Sky Sports Arena