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Price survives Suzuki scare as Van den Bergh sets new Grand Slam record

Grand Slam of Darts 2020 Day One preview and order of play: Group Stage commences in Coventry

Jamie Shaw in Grand Slam of Darts 15 Nov 2020
Gerwyn Price faces Mikuru Suzuki for the second successive year (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

The 2020 Grand Slam of Darts gets underway in Coventry on Monday with the opening set of group fixtures.

This year’s Boylesports Grand Slam will feature 30 of the PDC’s biggest names plus two BDO invitees as they compete at the Ricoh Arena from November 16-24.

The behind closed doors event initially sees the 32 players split into eight groups, with the top two players from each group advancing to the knock-out phase.

Gerwyn Price has claimed the title in successive years and will launch his quest for a sensational hat-trick in a fascinating Group G.

Price, a World Cup winner last weekend and the reigning World Grand Prix champion, starts out against reigning Women’s World Champion Mikuru Suzuki in the evening session.

The pair also met in the group stage 12 months ago, with Price prevailing 5-3 after a tough test from the Japanese ace – who retained her Women’s world title back in January but has been short of competitive practice since.

The other tie in Group G sees Jonny Clayton, Price’s World Cup winning team-mate for Wales, take on Summer Series event winner Ryan Joyce – making his debut in this competition.

Michael van Gerwen, who claimed this title in consecutive years between 2015 and 2017, begins his quest for a fourth crown with a clash against debutant qualifier Adam Hunt.

Van Gerwen last picked up a televised title at the UK Open back in March and will hope he can remain injury-free after slipping a disc in his back during last week’s World Cup.

Tyneside’s Hunt came through last week’s Tour Card holder qualifier to seal a dream debut in this event and will look to make a perfect start by catching the world number one cold over the short format.

Group A also sees Grand Slam debutant Joe Cullen take on German number one Gabriel Clemens, with ‘The Rockstar’ looking to pick up from where he left off in winning Saturday’s Winter Series event.

The opening match of the tournament features three-time major champion Rob Cross up against Justin Pipe – making his return to this competition for the first time in seven years after coming through last week’s qualifier.

That is followed by a meeting between Dave Chisnall, the 2014 Grand Slam runner-up, and 2019 World Youth Champion Luke Humphries.

James Wade, Grand Slam runner-up in 2010 and 2016, starts his campaign in Group F against dangerous Aussie debutant Damon Heta – who topped the Autumn Series Order of Merit and reached a Winter Series final last week.

Premier League champion Glen Durrant looks to bounce back from a disappointing Winter Series by overcoming hs stablemate Jermaine Wattimena – who qualified as the highest ranked non-automatic qualifier on the Winter Series Order of Merit.

Durrant celebrates against Wattimena (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Premier League finalist Nathan Aspinall opens up his Group H campaign against BDO World Champion Wayne Warren – making his second successive Grand Slam appearance and featuring in his first major tournament since his world title triumph in January.

Group H also sees World Matchplay champion Dimitri van den Bergh – who hit a nine-darter in the 2018 Grand Slam – take on qualifier Ricky Evans, whose only previous appearance came back in 2013.

Gary Anderson, runner-up in 2011 and 2018, looks to hit the ground running by seeing off emerging Czech star Adam Gawlas – runner-up in last year’s World Youth Championship.

World number 20 Simon Whitlock starts out against Ryan Searle – who qualified by virtue of his Players Championship win earlier in the year.

A fascinating Group C kicks off with a clash between world number 14 Krzysztof Ratajski and Portuguese star Jose De Sousa – making his debut in the competition following his recent European Tour triumph.

That is proceeded by a tie between Masters runner-up Michael Smith and four-time Women’s World Champion Lisa Ashton – making her second successive Grand Slam appearance.

An equally enthralling Group E features World Champion Peter Wright, twice a Grand Slam finalist, up against World Grand Prix finalist Dirk van Duijvenbode.

The final match of the evening then sees German Championship winner Devon Petersen take on Players Championship event winner Ian White in a repeat of their recent European Championship Quarter-Final.

The action gets underway from 1pm GMT, with Group Stage fixtures to be contested over the best of nine legs.

WATCH THE GRAND SLAM OF DARTS STREAMED LIVE HERE (18+)

Boylesports Grand Slam of Darts 2020 Schedule

Monday November 16

Afternoon Session

Group Matches

1pm-5pm
Rob Cross v Justin Pipe (D)
Dave Chisnall v Luke Humphries (D)
James Wade v Damon Heta (F)
Simon Whitlock v Ryan Searle (B)
Glen Durrant v Jermaine Wattimena (F)
Nathan Aspinall v Wayne Warren (H)
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Ricky Evans (H)
Gary Anderson v Adam Gawlas (B)

Evening Session

Group Matches

7pm-11pm
Jonny Clayton v Ryan Joyce (G)
Joe Cullen v Gabriel Clemens (A)
Krzysztof Ratajski v Jose De Sousa (C)
Michael Smith v Lisa Ashton (C)
Michael van Gerwen v Adam Hunt (A)
Gerwyn Price v Mikuru Suzuki (G)
Peter Wright v Dirk van Duijvenbode (E)
Ian White v Devon Petersen (E)