Gary Anderson continues his bid for Mr Vegas Grand Slam of Darts glory with a titanic last 16 showdown against Gerwyn Price in Wolverhampton tonight.
Anderson will take on three-time Grand Slam champion Price in a blockbuster clash in the West Midlands, in a repeat of the memorable final between the pair in 2018.
Price has won a hat-trick of titles in his four visits to WV Active Aldersley, and the Welshman was imperious throughout this year’s round-robin phase, relinquishing just two legs to clinch top spot in Group D.
The Welshman averaged 110.51 and 112.30 in wins over Ryan Searle and Gian van Veen on Sunday and Monday respectively, and Anderson is under no illusion about the task that awaits him.
“Gezzy is playing proper darts," admitted Anderson, a two-time Grand Slam runner-up in 2011 and 2018.
"I think my best [average] so far is 102, so I need to go up about eight points and he needs to come down!
“Hopefully it will be a cracker, but you know what these games are like when you give it the big build-up!”
Price has scooped six ranking titles and a second World Cup of Darts crown this year, although Anderson has also been one of the sport’s star performers in 2023.
The two-time World Champion has returned to the winner’s circle with a hat-trick of Players Championship titles this season, a tally bettered only by Price himself.
Anderson progressed as the Group C runner-up with round-robin victories over Dirk van Duijvenbode and Steve Lennon, despite suffering defeat to Luke Humphries in his other group stage fixture.
The popular Scot averaged 102 in his decisive clash against Lennon on Monday, which remarkably saw him advance to the knockout stages for the sixteenth time in as many appearances.
“This has always been my favourite tournament,” insisted Anderson, who is now eyeing a place in his first premier televised ranking quarter-final since January 2022.
“I’m not putting any pressure on myself, but imagine winning it after 16 years! I would love to have that trophy on the mantelpiece.
“My game is still there, and the way I’m playing, I believe I can beat anybody. It just depends which Gary turns up!”
Wednesday’s action will see three other last 16 tussles take place in Wolverhampton, as World Grand Prix champion Humphries continues his title challenge against nine-dart hero Ryan Searle.
Searle sealed his last 16 berth with a sensational nine-darter on Monday, landing the sixth perfect leg in Grand Slam history to wrap up a memorable 5-3 victory against Northern Ireland’s Nathan Rafferty.
Searle will now face world number four Humphries in a mouth-watering second round showdown, after the 28-year-old posted a trio of ton-plus averages to complete a clean sweep in Group C.
Elsewhere, three-time runner-up James Wade will play Masters champion Chris Dobey for a place in the last eight, while 2022 World Youth Champion Josh Rock meets Poland’s number one Krzysztof Ratajski in the evening’s opener.
2023 Mr Vegas Grand Slam of Darts
Wednesday November 15 (1900-2300 GMT)
Second Round x4
Josh Rock v Krzysztof Ratajski
James Wade v Chris Dobey
Gerwyn Price v Gary Anderson
Luke Humphries v Ryan Searle