BRILLIANT VAN GERWEN SHOWS UNIBET WORLD GRAND PRIX CREDENTIALS
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN laid down the gauntlet to his title rivals at the Unibet World Grand Prix with a sensational performance as he set up a semi-final against Dave Chisnall in Dublin, with Gary Anderson and Raymond van Barneveld also reaching the last four.
World number one van Gerwen has been champion in two of the past four years at the Citywest Hotel, and continued his charge towards the £100,000 title by averaging 103 in the double-start format as he overcame Simon Whitlock 3-1 in the quarter-finals.
Whitlock gave as good as he got in sharing the opening two sets, and took out 100 and 130 in successive legs to send the third set into a decider - but van Gerwen crucially landed double 16 to move 2-1 up before sealing victory in the next set.
Van Gerwen now meets 2013 runner-up Chisnall in Friday's semi-finals, and with the Englishman having ended the world number one's title defence at the Citywest Hotel three years ago the Dutch star is keen to avoid any complacency.
"Simon played fantastic and I think it was a great game for the crowd and everyone watching on TV," said van Gerwen, whose 103 average was the highest of the event this year so far.
"He played phenomenal and in the second set he didn't miss anything, but I played a good game tonight.
"I think if I keep playing like this no-one will beat me, but that was just tonight and tomorrow will be a totally different game.
"I've got a good record against Dave but I can't underestimate him. He beat me before in this tournament a couple of years ago but I can only worry about myself. I'm playing well and I think they're more afraid of me than I am of them."
Happy with my performance over the week. Won a Pro Tour, reached the quarter-finals of Grand Prix & it took MvG at his best to beat me.— Simon Whitlock (@SWhitlock180) October 6, 2016
Chisnall's bid to claim a first major darts title continued as he won through to the semis with a 3-1 defeat of Northern Ireland's Daryl Gurney.
One of Chisnall's four previous televised finals came at Dublin's Citywest Hotel in the 2013 World Grand Prix, and he remains on course to at least match that achievement after reaching the last four of the £400,000 event.
After edging the opening set in a deciding leg, Chisnall won the second without reply before Gurney hit back to claim the third, but the world number ten recovered to claim the fourth for victory.
"It feels good and I'm really pleased with that," said Chisnall. "Daryl played well but missed a few doubles and let me in, and I capitalised.
"My performances have been pretty consistent all week but I still think there's room for improvement.
"I've said it's my aim to still be here on Saturday and that's still on. It will be tough in the semis and I'll be giving it a good shot."
World Champion Gary Anderson came from a set down to reach the semi-finals for a second time in the double-start format with a 3-1 defeat of Belgian ace Kim Huybrechts.
After losing the opening set without having a dart at a finishing double, Anderson took out 141 and 124 as he levelled in the second before winning six of the next eight legs to progress to a meeting with van Barneveld.
"I thought it was going to be a cracker and it didn't turn out that way tonight, but I got the job done," said Anderson.
"My scoring was gone and I couldn't get started on tops, but I took some good finishes out.
"I was rubbish tonight but tomorrow's a different day because I've been playing well and that's given me a kick up the backside. Raymond's playing well and he's been really good in the last couple of games - the Barney of old's come back."
Five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld dropped only one leg in a superb straight sets win over youngster Benito van de Pas in their all-Dutch battle.
Van Barneveld won the opening two sets without reply before a 147 finish put the 23-year-old ahead in the third, but the two-time Dublin finalist took out 142 amongst the next three to book his last four place.
"There was a lot of pressure from Holland for the game against Benito and I was a little bit more nervous than my first two games but I'm so happy to be through," said van Barneveld.
"He had a marvellous shot with the 147 but I think my shot on 142 was amazing when he was waiting on a double, and that gave me the game at the end.
"I've got a lot of respect for him and he's such a nice guy, he's fantastic and he's learning, but for me it means a lot to be back in the semis.
"You want to do well in the ranking tournaments and I want to get back into the top four or six in the world - but I've got to take it one game at a time. I feel good and if I feel good then I can achieve anything!"
The £400,000 tournament will conclude on Saturday with the final (8.30pm), which will be preceded by the Tom Kirby Memorial Irish Matchplay final between Mick McGowan and Radek Szaganski.
For tickets, call the Citywest Hotel Box Office on 00353 (0)1 401 0505 or buy in person at the venue - tickets are still available for Friday's semi-finals and Saturday's final.
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Unibet World Grand Prix
Thursday October 6
Dave Chisnall 3-1 Daryl Gurney
Benito van de Pas 0-3 Raymond van Barneveld
Michael van Gerwen 3-1 Simon Whitlock
Gary Anderson 3-1 Kim Huybrechts
Best of five sets, best of five legs per set. All legs must begin and end with a double.
Friday October 7 (7pm)
Michael van Gerwen v Dave Chisnall
Gary Anderson v Raymond van Barneveld
Best of seven sets, best of five legs per set. All legs must begin and end with a double.
Dave Chisnall v Daryl Gurney
1-0 - An early break for Chisnall as he hits tops.
1-1 - Gurney breaks back immediately as he hits double six.
1-2 - 87 on double nine moves Gurney in to the lead.
2-2 - Gurney misses double 15 for a 150 finish before Chisnall hits double six.
3-2 - 52 on tops seals the set for Chisnall.
1-0 - Tops for Chisnall as he takes the opening leg of the second set.
2-0 - The pair trade maximums before Gurney misses three for the leg, allowing Chisnall to take it out on tops.
3-0 - The second set goes Chisnall's way as he hits double ten.
0-1 - Gurney opens the set with a hold as he takes out 48 on double 16.
0-2 - 94 on double ten for Gurney gives him the break.
0-3 - Gurney takes the set as he hits double 14.
1-0 - Chisnall holds on double 12.
1-1 - Double twelve for Gurney to level.
2-1 - Chisnall one away as he hits tops.
2-2 - 89 on double eight keeps Gurney going.
3-2 - Chisnall moves into the semi-final as he hits tops.
Dave Chisnall Video Interview
|Dave Chisnall||3-1||Daryl Gurney|
|3||Breaks of Throw||2|
|16/29 55%||Starting Doubles||16/44 36%|
|9/25 36%||Finishing Doubles||7/15 47%|
Benito van de Pas v Raymond van Barneveld
0-1 - A hold for van Barneveld as he takes out 72 on tops.
0-2 - Double 18 gives van Barneveld the break.
0-3 - The set goes to van Barneveld as he hits double 18 again.
0-1 - 110 out for van Barneveld as he wins his fourth consecutive leg.
0-2 - van de Pas misses three at doubles to allow Barney to break on double four.
0-3 - 52 on double 16 gives van Barneveld the second set.
1-0 - 147 out gives van de Pas his first leg of the match.
1-1 - van de Pas punished again as Barneveld hits double nine.
1-2 - 142 on tops moves van Barneveld within a leg of the semi-finals.
1-3 - van Barneveld completes a comprehensive win as he hits double six.
Raymond van Barneveld Video Interview
"I LOVE SETS!" - @raybar180 with an inside scoop after his match.