Smith and Durrant renew their rivalry (credit:Chris Dean/PDC)
Two closely-matched Quarter-Finals from the bottom half of the draw take centre stage at the 2019 Grand Slam of Darts on Friday as four of the season’s most consistent players collide.
Thirty-two players have been whittled down to just eight as the race for the £125,000 title intensifies at the Aldersley Leisure Village.
The format is rivalled only by the World Matchplay in terms of straight legs, with a host of big-hitters aiming to stay the distance and book a place in Sunday afternoon’s Semi-Finals.
The opening Quarter-Final tie sees two former Grand Slam runners-up go head-to-head as Peter Wright takes on Dave Chisnall.
Wright, runner-up in 2017, finds himself in a ninth televised Quarter-Final of 2019, having registered four consecutive victories using a setup similar to the one which guided him to the 2014 World Championship final.
The World Cup of Darts winner came through Group F in top spot with consecutive 5-2 wins over Wayne Warren, Ryan Harrington and Danny Noppert before thrashing a below-par Rob Cross 10-3 in the Last 16.
Having slipped to seventh in the Order of Merit, ‘Snakebite’ is defending his runner-up prize money from two years ago and comes up against one of the sport’s most prolific scorers.
Chisnall has been in inspired form since starting out with his new Harrows setup in September, hitting a nine-darter and reaching the final of the Gibraltar Trophy before falling short to Michael van Gerwen in the final of the World Grand Prix.
The St Helens ace won through to his fourth consecutive televised Quarter-Final after topping Group E with maximum points before recording a 10-3 rout of debutant Ryan Harrington with a 102 average in Round Two.
There is little to separate the two players in terms of their head-to-head record, with Wright having won 13 to Chisnall’s 12 of their 27 meetings, with the other two ending in Premier League draws.
The second match of the night features two players who are no stranger to one another this season as Michael Smith faces Glen Durrant.
This will be their third meeting in televised competition since July and a second of the week, following on from their Group H show-down which Smith won 5-3.
The pair exchanged words during their respective post-match interviews over the weekend, with Smith stating he felt Durrant should not be representing the BDO as a current PDC Tour Card Holder, to which ‘Duzza’ responded by commanding “respect” and admitting he did not speak to Smith backstage.
Smith, who won their World Matchplay Semi-Final 17-10, came through the group with maximum points before dispatching Daryl Gurney 10-7 with a 101 average and has now reached at least the Quarter-Final stage of five of his last six TV majors.
Durrant finds himself at this stage of the Grand Slam for the second time, with the reigning BDO World Champion having held his nerve to edge out German ace Gabriel Clemens in a last-leg decider despite failing to lead the match for the opening 18 legs.
The tenacious Teessider is looking to reach his third consecutive PDC major Semi-Final in his debut season and get one over on his recent nemesis.
Smith’s tournament average of 101.4 is ten points more than Durrant, with ‘Bully Boy’ also having hit 13 maximums to Durrant’s seven so far.
The action gets underway from 7pm GMT, with Quarter-Final matches to be contested over the best of 31 legs.
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Grand Slam of Darts 2019 Day Seven preview and order of play: First Semi-Final spots up for grabs
Two closely-matched Quarter-Finals from the bottom half of the draw take centre stage at the 2019 Grand Slam of Darts…
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