2013 finalist Robert Thornton celebrates (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
The battle to reach the knock-out phase of the 2019 Grand Slam draws to a close in Groups A-D on Tuesday with a host of big names aiming to secure their progression.
Nine players have already booked their place in the Last 16, while a further three are just a matter of legs away from rubber-stamping their spot.
Group A features a straight shoot-out between two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis and BDO World Trophy winner Jim Williams for the right to join Michael van Gerwen in progressing.
Lewis, semi-finalist at the Wolves Civic in 2011 and 2013, came through the PDC Tour Card Holder’s qualifier last week to secure his return and began brightly by defeating Ross Smith 5-2 before suffering defeat to his nemesis MVG by the same scoreline.
Williams, making his second successive Grand Slam appearance, also went down 5-2 to MVG before thrashing Smith 5-1, and is now bidding to break new ground in a PDC event.
Lewis, who is battling to retain his place in the world’s top 16, has not reached the knock-out phase of this competition since 2015 but has shown glimpses of a return to form in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, three-time Boylesports Grand Slam champion Van Gerwen aims to wrap up top spot in the group by subjecting the eliminated Ross Smith to a third straight defeat.
The world number one has won five of his last six televised tournaments, with the only blemish a shock First Round exit to Ross Smith in the European Championship – a result he will look to quickly avenge here.
Two-time Grand Slam finalist James Wade can clinch top spot with maximum points in Group B if he can overcome World Cup of Darts finalist Steve Lennon – who must win to have any chance to reaching the knock-out phase for the first time.
Lennon starts the night in third spot, level on two points with Ian White but with an inferior legs difference of four, though a win for both could see them both progress at the expense of Wade depending on the swing in legs difference.
European Tour winner White takes on BDO number one Wesley Harms – who has suffered back-to-back defeats and must win by a heavy margin and rely on Wade to defeat Lennon if he is to have any chance of gatecrashing the Last 16.
Defending champion Gerwyn Price is safe in the knowledge that he will finish top of Group C if he can defeat back-to-back World Youth Champion Dimitri van den Bergh.
Price has claimed back-to-back wins despite averaging just 88 and 92 and will be eyeing a marked improvement against the dangerous Belgian – who could clinch top spot himself with a win.
Van den Bergh, who lost out in a deciding leg to Robert Thornton before thrashing Mikuru Suzuki 5-1, could progress alongside ‘The Thorn’ if he beats Price and the Scot sees off Women’s World Champion Suzuki by a big enough margin depending on the earlier result.
Gary Anderson, last year’s beaten finalist, would bag the £3,500 group winner’s bonus in Group D with victory over Darren Webster.
Anderson has bounced back from his disappointing World Series Finals defeat to Danny Noppert by recording successive wins for the loss of just four legs so far.
Webster is also vying to reach the knock-out phase and would do so with a win over the two-time World Champion and a victory for Dave Parletti over William O’Connor in the other fixture.
A win for O’Connor coupled with a defeat for Webster would see the Irishman through, while BDO debutant Parletti must win by a considerable margin and hope for Anderson to do him a favour in the following game.
The action gets underway from 7pm GMT, with group matches to be contested over the best of nine legs.
Grand Slam of Darts 2019 Day Four preview and order of play: Groups A-D culminate in Wolverhampton
The battle to reach the knock-out phase of the 2019 Grand Slam draws to a close in Groups A-D on…
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