Nathan Aspinall dethroned back-to-back Grand Slam king Gerwyn Price with a thrilling 10-8 victory in the Last 16 in Coventry…
Nathan Aspinall dethroned back-to-back Grand Slam king Gerwyn Price with a thrilling 10-8 victory in the Last 16 in Coventry on Saturday.
Price had been aiming to lift the Eric Bristow Trophy for a third straight year and threatened a miraculous comeback when he came from 7-3 down to lead 8-7.
Aspinall, however, regained his composure to win the next two legs, and when Price missed two darts at double four to take the game into a deciding leg, he took out 92 on the bull to claim a memorable win.
“It’s a massive win for me,” said Aspinall. “We always have fantastic games and it was one of the most enjoyable games I’ve ever had.
“He brings the best out of me and I knew I had to score well tonight and finish well.
“I missed six darts to go 8-7 up and to not let that affect me, and to come back the way I did to win the last three legs I’m very happy and proud of myself.
“I’ve been struggling of late, not been playing very well, and I knew I had to bring my A-game tonight. I dug deep and played some good stuff.”
After Price had taken out 110 to level in leg four, Aspinall took command with four straight legs and finished 94 for a 7-3 cushion.
The Welshman dug deep in his quest to retain the title, finishing 70, 87, 105 and 75 in his five-leg burst to move ahead for the first time since the opening leg.
Three-time Grand Slam champion Michael van Gerwen powered into the Quarter-Finals with a 10-2 demolition of Gary Anderson.
The world number one’s emphatic return to top form continued as he averaged 102 and defied six 180s from long-standing rival Anderson to clinically set up a Quarter-Final clash with Simon Whitlock on Sunday.
Anderson responded to an opening 14-darter from Van Gerwen with a brilliant 132 bull checkout in leg two, but paid for five missed darts at doubles as the Dutchman embarked on a run of eight straight legs.
Van Gerwen took out 92, 88 on the bull and 87 at key moments as he moved 9-1 up, and though Anderson finished 81 to keep alive his hopes, any chance of a fightback was ended as a 76 finish moved the three-time winner into the last eight.
“I’m still in the tournament and I feel I played well,” said Van Gerwen.
“There’s still room for improvement but I’m happy, and I think I did the right things at the right moments – I hit a couple finishes early doors which gave me confidence.
“Gary played okay in some patches but has a lot of problems with his knee – but if someone’s competing in the tournament you have to beat them, simple as that.”
Van Gerwen lost to Whitlock in both the World Matchplay and World Grand Prix earlier this year, and added: “Simon beat me before so I’ve got something to put right, and he is playing some phenomenal darts lately.
“He’s starting to get back to good form, but it’s up to me to answer that and make sure I do exactly the same back. I know if I play my game, I’m going to beat him.”
Michael Smith held his nerve in a deciding-leg shoot-out against Rob Cross to reach the BoyleSports Grand Slam Quarter-Finals for a second successive year with a narrow 10-9 victory.
Smith had looked to have blown his opportunity to win a tight contest after seeing three match darts go begging in leg 17, as Cross finished 70 and then landed tops to force a deciding leg.
The world number four, though, followed 11 earlier 180s by kicking off the final leg with a 177, before pinning double 12 for a 13-darter to set up a last eight last with Jose De Sousa on Sunday.
Cross had earlier come back from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 and also took out a match-high 119 finish as he moved 6-5 up, but a three-leg surge from Smith proved key as he edged clear in the second half of the contest.
“I’m happy but also a bit frustrated because I could have wrapped it up earlier, but I’m proud of how I handled that last leg because I could have buckled,” said Smith. “I wanted it so much and I’m happy.
“I was a bit patchy in the game but it was a tough game for me tonight, especially against Rob. He’s got a great record against me so it’s about time I got one back.
“It was a battle but I can put that to one side and it’s a new game tomorrow against Jose. I’m glad I’m in the quarter-finals, it’s a tournament that I love and I’m looking forward to tomorrow now.”
Damon Heta reached his first televised ranking Quarter-Final with a 10-7 win over Devon Petersen to set up a rematch with James Wade on Sunday.
The Australian ace had lost out 5-2 to Wade in the opening game of the Group Stage on Monday, but will now get the chance to avenge that loss in a knockout clash after proving too strong for Petersen.
Heta opened up leads of 4-1 and 8-3 to punish a slow start from Petersen, who hit back to 8-6 at one stage.
However, Heta’s brilliant 144 checkout in leg 15 – with Petersen waiting on tops – proved crucial before he closed out the win two legs later.
“I’m stoked,” said Heta. “I knew what I was in for but Devon didn’t show up as well as he normally does and I took my chances when I got them.
“I was expecting a really tough, close game because I know how good a player Devon is.
“The 144 was very crucial and I had to take it out, and I think that crushed him a little bit because he was getting the momentum back.”
The 2019 Brisbane Masters winner added: “I’m looking forward to playing James. I lost to him in the Group Stages and he’s such a steady player.
“I could learn a lot from James but I’ve beaten him a couple of times and I’ll try and do the same again.”
Grand Slam of Darts 2020 Results
Saturday November 21
Michael Smith 10-9 Rob Cross
Devon Petersen 7-10 Damon Heta
Michael van Gerwen 10-2 Gary Anderson
Gerwyn Price 8-10 Nathan Aspinall