TOP TWO SET FOR UNIBET WORLD GRAND PRIX SHOWDOWN
THE world's top two ranked players, Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson, will contest the Unibet World Grand Prix final on Saturday evening following superb semi-final triumphs at Dublin's Citywest Hotel.
Two-time World Grand Prix champion van Gerwen continued his bid to win back the title with a 4-2 comeback win over Dave Chisnall in a thrilling last four contest to secure his place in the final, where a £100,000 top prize is on offer.
In an explosive opening to a high-quality semi-final, van Gerwen took the first set 3-1 with the aid of checkouts of 106 and 101 as Chisnall landed a ten-dart finish in reply.
The 2013 finalist then took the next two sets by a 3-1 scoreline to move ahead in the contest, only to see van Gerwen fire in a ten-dart finish of his own in the fourth set's decider to draw level.
Van Gerwen then took the fifth set without reply to resume command, and came from 2-0 down in the sixth to claim his spot in a fourth Dublin final in five years.
"Dave's a fantastic guy and it was a pleasure to play in an amazing game like this," said van Gerwen, who averaged an impressive 99 in the double-start format.
"Dave played a fantastic game and I had to fight. He made it really difficult - you feel the pressure if someone plays like that against you, but I played a good game and I'm really happy.
"My average is fantastic for a double-start format but I can still improve. I did the right things at the right time and that gives you a lot of confidence. Everyone is playing so well against me that I'm having to put on my A-game."
Van Gerwen was the champion in 2012 and 2014 before being defeated by Robert Thornton in last year's decider, and the world number one said: "I'm really glad I'm in the final and if I play like this I win the tournament.
"It's easy to say that, if they keep putting pressure on me like this then it's really hard, but I still know how to fight under that pressure and I'm doing great."
Friday's other semi-final saw World Champion Anderson overcome two-time Dublin finalist Raymond van Barneveld 4-1 to win through to the final in the double-start format for the first time.
After the Scot took out a sublime 148 finish to seal the first set with a 3-1 scoreline, van Barneveld came from a leg down to win the second in a deciding leg.
Anderson hit back from two legs down to win the third by following a 13-darter with a 104 checkout, and then took the fourth 3-1 to pull clear before sealing victory in the deciding leg of set five.
The Scot ended with a near-99 average with his best performance of the week, and is in buoyant mood moving into Saturday's eagerly-awaited final.
"I thought Raymond played well tonight," said Anderson. "He was missing a few doubles to start there at the end but he scored well when he did get in and he hit a lot of 180s.
"It was a hard game but my starting was great tonight and so was my finishing. I thought it was a good match.
"I'm looking forward to the final against Michael - he's a quick player so it will be my kind of speed and it will be a good game. It was this tournament that started his career off [in 2012] but now he's the man to be beaten, as Sky say."
All good things come to an end.... I tried my best but today was not my day... @GaryAnderson180 played really well and deserved the win 1/2— Raymond v Barneveld (@Raybar180) October 7, 2016
Saturday's final will be preceded by the final of the Tom Kirby Memorial Irish Matchplay championship between reigning champion Mick McGowan and Cork-based Radek Szaganski.
The Irish Matchplay final will take place around 7.30pm on Saturday evening over the best of 11 legs, ahead of the World Grand Prix final from 8.30pm, live on Sky Sports.
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 Saturday's final.
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Unibet World Grand Prix
Friday October 7
Michael van Gerwen 4-2 Dave Chisnall
Gary Anderson 4-1 Raymond van Barneveld
Best of seven sets, best of five legs per set. All legs must begin and end with a double.
Saturday October 8 (8.30pm)
Michael van Gerwen v Gary Anderson
Tom Kirby Memorial Irish Matchplay Final
Mick McGowan v Radek Szaganski
Approx 7.30pm, best of 11 legs
Michael van Gerwen v Dave Chisnall
1-0 - An early break for van Gerwen as he takes out 101 on tops.
2-0 - Chisnall hits the first maximum of the match but it's van Gerwen who hits the double as he takes out 44.
2-1 - Six perfect darts for Chisnall before completing the leg with a superb ten-darter.
3-1 - 106 on double 16 gives van Gerwen the first set with an average of 114.
0-1 - Chisnall takes out 79 on tops to break throw.
1-1 - Van Gerwen breaks back on tops for a 72 checkout.
1-2 - Chisnall will throw for the set as he breaks the throw on double 16.
1-3 - Chisnall takes the set and levels the match.
1-0 - van Gerwen breaks on tops.
1-1 - Chisnall levels with 95 on double 16.
1-2 - Van Gerwen misses ten before getting off and Chisnall is in to the lead for the first time hitting D5.
1-3 - Van Gerwen misses chances to hold and Chisnall punishes him in tops to take the set.
1-0 - 47 on double 16 for van Gerwen.
1-1 - A hold of throw for Chisnall as he takes out 42 on double ten.
2-1 - Double 16 for van Gerwen to take the lead in the fourth set.
2-2 - 52 on tops for Chisnall to level.
3-2 - A ten-dart leg for van Gerwen seals the fourth set in a brilliant decider.
1-0 - Van Gerwen breaks the throw on double six.
2-0 - A hold for van Gerwen as he pins double eight.
3-0 - Michael van Gerwen wraps up the set taking out 70 on double 16.
0-1 - Chisnall breaks on tops as he takes out 104.
0-2 - A hold now for Chisnall as he hits double eight.
1-2 - Van Gerwen on the board in the sixth set as he takes out 56.
2-2 - A break back for van Gerwen who will now throw for the match.
3-2 - Michael van Gerwen in to the final as he comes from 2-1 down to win 4-2.
Michael van Gerwen Video Interview
|Michael van Gerwen||4-2||Dave Chisnall|
|6||Breaks of Throw||5|
|25/58 43%||Starting Doubles||25/50 50%|
|14/28 50%||Finishing Doubles||11/27 41%|
Gary Anderson v Raymond van Barneveld
1-0 - Anderson away as he holds throw with 61 on double nine.
2-0 - A break for Anderson as he takes out 58 on tops.
2-1 - Van Barneveld breaks back taking out 62 on double eight.
3-1 - Anderson wraps up the first set in style taking out 148 on double 14.
1-0 - An early break in the second set for Anderson as he hits double 18.
1-1 - 58 on tops as van Barneveld breaks back.
1-2 - The pair miss opportunities to take the leg but it's van Barneveld who hits double four.
2-2 - 45 on tops as Anderson level the set.
2-3 - Van Barneveld hits double 15 to claim the set.
0-1 - Van Barneveld in to the lead for the first time as he breaks the Anderson throw on double nine.
0-2 - Tops of van Barneveld as he moves two clear in the set.
1-2 - 60 on tops as Anderson closes the gap.
2-2 - A break back for Anderson as he hits double eight for a 13 dart leg.
3-2 - 104 on tops gives Anderson the third set.
0-1 - Double 16 for van Barneveld to hold.
1-1 - A 12 dart hold for Anderson as he levels the set.
2-1 - Big moment as van Barneveld misses chances to hold and Anderson breaks on double six.
3-1 - 78 on tops gives Anderson the fourth set.
1-0 - A hold for Anderson as he hits double four.
1-1 - Double eight for van Barneveld.
1-2 - Van Barneveld breaks throw on double eight.
2-2 - Van Barneveld needs 11 darts to get away and Anderson punishes him by taking out 89 on tops.
3-2 - Anderson wins through to the World Grand Prix final for the first time as he lands tops to seal the win.
Gary Anderson Video Interview
|Gary Anderson||0-0||Raymond van Barneveld|
|6||Breaks of Throw||4|
|23/36 64%||Starting Doubles||23/55 42%|
|14/32 44%||Finishing Doubles||9/32 28%|