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Grand Slam of Darts 2020 Day Three preview and order of play: Knock-out hopes hang in the balance

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Grand Slam of Darts 2020 Day Four preview and order of play: Final knock-out places up for grabs

Anderson, Heta, Aspinall and Cross progress to Grand Slam of Darts knock-out phase

Jamie Shaw in Grand Slam of Darts 18 Nov 2020
Anderson denies Searle in their group decider (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Gary Anderson, Damon Heta, Nathan Aspinall and Rob Cross successfully came through straight shoot-outs on Wednesday to progress to the knock-out phase of the 2020 Grand Slam of Darts.

Day Three at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry played host to the third and final fixtures in Groups B, D, F and H, including four effective knock-out matches.

Two-time Grand Slam finalist Anderson produced a vastly improved performance to defeat Ryan Searle 5-3 and maintain his perfect record of reaching the knock-out phase every year since 2007.

Anderson averaging 99.8 and defied a 102 average from Searle, taking out 119 on the bullseye to seal his progression.

The Flying Scotsman had averaged just 83.6 and 90.5 in his opening two games and has been struggling with a knee injury since withdrawing from the Winter Series last week.

“If that bullseye hadn’t gone in I think I would’ve been going home tonight,” said Anderson.

“The pain in my leg is getting to me, but I’m going to have to battle through the rest of the year.

“This is one of my favourite tournaments so I’m pleased to be through and hopefully I can go far.”

Australian ace Heta booked his place in the Last 16 on debut by edging out Jermaine Wattimena 5-4 to finish second in Group F.

The former Brisbane Masters champion survived three match darts from Wattimena before seizing his chance on double ten to move through.

“It was nervy game, I was on edge,” said Heta. “It was a strange one to play in because I’ve had breakfast with Jermaine every day this week.

“I’m not here just to make up the numbers. I’ve got a good life in Australia so I’m here to do some serious damage.”

James Wade secured top spot in Group F, finishing five doubles from nine attempts in a 5-2 win over Glen Durrant, meaning that the Premier League champion exits this year’s event without a victory.

“Today was the most poor preparation I’ve had,” admitted Wade. “I didn’t feel right, I was lazy and quite fortunate to win against someone that has won multiple world titles.”

“I’m not written off for any tournament, especially at the moment because I’m quite keen.”

Nathan Aspinall made it through the group stage for the first time with a convincing 5-1 win over Ricky Evans in their Group H decider.

Despite six 180s from Evans, Premier League runner-up Aspinall missed just three double attempts to secure comfortable victory.

“I felt flat the first two games so tonight I gave it a bit extra to get myself going,” said Aspinall.

“He missed a few doubles but I got the win and I’m happy to get through. It was a big day for me today because I’ve never got through the group stage before.”

Dimitri Van den Bergh missed double 12 for a nine-darter for a second time this week as he completed a brilliant Group H treble by defeating BDO Champion Wayne Warren 5-1, averaging 104 in the process.

Rob Cross produced his best display of the group stage to defeat Luke Humphries 5-3 with a 100.4 average in their Group D decider.

The former World Champion maintains his record of making it through the group stage in each of his four appearances in the tournament.

“Fair play to Luke, I thought he played great and on another day he might’ve beaten me,” Cross admitted.

“I love the game as much as the day I turned up really. It’s been a busy schedule but that’s not a bad thing.”

The opening game of the day saw already-qualified Simon Whitlock secure top spot in Group B as he recovered from 4-0 down and survived a match dart to defeat Czech teenager Adam Gawlas 5-4.

Dave Chisnall completed Group D with a third successive victory as he overcame Justin Pipe 5-2 to progress to the Last 16 in style.

Thursday will see the final games take place in Groups A, C, E and G, with the top two players in each making it through to the knockout stage.

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

Boylesports Grand Slam of Darts 2020 Results

Wednesday November 18

Group Stage

Simon Whitlock 5-4 Adam Gawlas (B)
Dave Chisnall 5-2 Justin Pipe (D)
James Wade 5-2 Glen Durrant (F)
Dimitri Van den Bergh 5-1 Wayne Warren (H)
Damon Heta 5-4 Jermaine Wattimena (F)
Gary Anderson 5-3 Ryan Searle (B)
Nathan Aspinall 5-1 Ricky Evans (H)
Rob Cross 5-3 Luke Humphries (D)