The 2013 edition of World Grand Prix Darts kicks off on Monday evening from its traditional Dublin Citywest venue. It is the only major PDC tournament which has a double in, double out format whereby players must start each leg by hitting a double. This format can result in one sided legs when players take more than three or four darts to hit their opening double. Interestingly, players who are noted for the struggles on hitting doubles to finish legs in standard formats quite often have no issues hitting their opening doubles only to struggle with their finishing doubles. Dave Chisnall gave a great example of this in 2011 when conspired to lose from a winning position both in legs and sets during his first round match with Alan Tabern. Last year’s renewal saw the first major PDC title of what promises to be a sensational career for Michael Van Gerwen.
In fact, he was tipped for this success by yours truly which made his victory very sweet. His success begin a period which established MVG as the premier name in darts alongside Phil Taylor with runner up finishes at the Grand Slam of Darts and the World Championships. He arrives this year as defending champion in a spell of inconsistent form with bouts of brilliance mixed with indifferent form. Though with the extra commitments that come with being a top 8 player, that is not a massive surprise and his ability to put burst of brilliance together to win sets in quick time makes him a tough player to beat in this format. Here’s is my take on the tournament this year with a quarter by quarter preview starting with quarter one.
Phil Taylor is a clear favourite to progress from this quarter and equally as unsurprisingly he is favourite to lift the title next Sunday. He will not have it all his own way in this quarter though as he faces a tough run to the semis starting with Jamie Caven who is rediscovering some of his best form. In the short first round format, Caven is a dangerous opponent. Robert Thornton beat Taylor in the second round last year and the pair could meet again at the same stage, Thornton is narrowly favoured by me to beat Nicholson. It’s hard to know what to expect from with Anderson or Klaasen who prodigious talents capable of brilliance on the oche but never produce it with consistency. Wes Newton and Peter Wright could provide the clash of the opening round and I think Wright will continue his good form shown in reaching Sunday’s Players Championship final; and go on to meet Taylor in the quarter final and have every chance of causing an upset.
Quarter two has an open look about it, James Wade and Simon Whitlock are the two seeded players and as such the men to beat but neither to me are in great form. Wade has blown hot and cold this year and his recent suspension causes some concern about his temperament. Whitlock has not produced his best form this year consistently largely due to indifferent scoring and despite his big checkouts, an issue on pressure doubles. Wade faces a confident Steven Beaton in the first round and that could be a potential upset for the world number five. Whitlock should be able to get the better of Mansell and either Baxter or Lloyd who look set to contest a tight match with little between the two. However I fancy Terry Jenkins to progress from this quarter, he should have too much for Connie Finnan in the first round and can take advantage of an open quarter.
Michael Van Gerwen sets the standard in quarter but much like Taylor, he has a tough passage to the semis. As stated earlier in the article, MVG has been patchy in the recent months but shouldn’t be taken lightly. He faces John Part in his first round match and he will need to on his game for that and with either Stuart Kellett or Raymond Van Barneveld waiting in round two, it’s a very tough draw for MVG. Barney may have won Sunday’s Players Championship but there is always a worry about his fitness under the lights and I just feel he might struggle in that respect against Kellett who beat him recently. Mervyn King will likely be given a rough reception following his comments last year but his pedigree in major tournaments should see him past Wayne Jones. Dave Chisnall has a tough opener against Ian White, both players are in good form but I just fancy Chisnall to win through. I feel that Van Gerwen and Chisnall will reach the quarter final here but I think Chisnall will surprise the odds and progress to the semi final.
Perhaps the most interesting quarter of the draw in terms of match ups of playing styles which could impact negatively on Adrian Lewis as he potentially faces three methodical players in his route through this quarter. He faces Brendan Dolan in his opening which is a repeat of Saturday’s Players Championship final which he won. Dolan will fancy his chances of revenge in a venue he’s flourished in so it should be a tight game. Justin Pipe continued his consistent form in floors events this weekend so should have too much for Andy Smith and will provide a tough challenge for Lewis or Dolan. Hamilton looks likely to progress to the quarters, Huybrechts has been outshone by his brother in recent months so Hamilton should ease past him. Painter should have too much for Burnett in their encounter but it is hard to see him having the consistency to beat Hamilton. The most likely outcome from this quarter is a Hamilton-Lewis quarter final but Dolan and Pipe will pose tough tasks for Lewis en route but I do feel Lewis will win this quarter.
It is a testament to standard of PDC darts that you can look at a number of the first round match-ups and struggle to pick a winner and also put an argument for it potentially being a match of the round on paper. Of course, Phil Taylor is the standard bearer that all have to beat but Michael Van Gerwen and Adrian Lewis are not a great deal behind Taylor. Those three players deserve a tremendous amount of respect it is quite feasible that all three could make the semi finals but each have tough routes to that point and could fall as a result. Two players who I think could out perform their odds are Dave Chisnall who is fast becoming an all round player and his scoring power makes him a danger to anyone. Terry Jenkins has had a tough run of luck in majors of late, running into form players and I feel he can utilise his draw where the two seeds are not in form to make a strong run at another major final. Of the two I feel Chisnall would be a more likely finalist and winner.
- Darts World Grand Prix Preview (csepl.wordpress.com)
- Darts ace Robert Thornton insists Scottish game is enjoying its strongest era (dailyrecord.co.uk)
- Double Trouble! Who should you be backing for the World Grand Prix? (paddypower.com)