The First Round action continues at the 2023 Boylesports World Grand Prix in Leicester on Tuesday as a host of…
The First Round action continues at the 2023 Boylesports World Grand Prix in Leicester on Tuesday as a host of star names bid to avert an early exit.
The opening night of the historic double-start major saw four of the world’s top ten players fall foul to the short format in the top half of the draw.
Night Two features eight ties from the bottom section of the draw, with three former champions and two former runners-up among the notable names topping the bill.
The stand-out tie of the evening sees reigning champion Michael van Gerwen kick off the defence of his title with a show-down against World Youth Champion Josh Rock.
Van Gerwen has largely dominated this event since securing his first major title in Dublin back in 2012, with last year’s triumph taking his tally to six Grand Prix titles.
The world number two has added a record seventh Premier League title this year, as well as winning the World Series Finals, US Masters and Poland Masters.
Northern Irish star Rock is one of three debutants in this year’s competition and is aiming to subject Van Gerwen to only a fourth opening round exit since 2009.
The world number 27, who has reached a European Tour final this year, famously hit a nine-darter against MVG in last year’s Grand Slam but found himself on the wrong end of a 10-8 scoreline in the Last 16 despite averaging 104.
Elsewhere, two-time finalist Dave Chisnall aims to continue his sensational spell of form when he hosts debutant Luke Woodhouse.
Chisnall heads to Leicester on the back of winning a third European Tour event of the year in Budapest, before picking up the Players Championship 23 title last week.
Runner-up in 2013 and 2019, ‘Chizzy’ boasts a terrific record in this competition and will be hoping this is the week he finally ends his wait for an elusive maiden televised title.
Woodhouse held on to the 16th and final ProTour Order of Merit qualification spot, having reached a ProTour final this season as well as the Quarter-Finals of the recent Hungarian Darts Trophy.
Jonny Clayton, the 2021 World Grand Prix winner, opens up with a tough clash against reigning European Champion Ross Smith.
Clayton was runner-up in July’s World Matchplay and secured a second World Cup title for Wales alongside Gerwyn Price, while also ending his Euro Tour title drought at the Austrian Open.
Smith has reached the Second Round in his two previous World Grand Prix appearances and has claimed a ProTour title this term as well as reaching the Semi-Finals of the European Darts Grand Prix.
World number six Luke Humphries commences his latest quest for a maiden major title with a tie against 2017 champion Daryl Gurney.
Humphries heads to the Morningside Arena in a blistering run of form, having reached a sixth Euro Tour final of the year in Hungary, before again losing out to Chisnall in the final of a ProTour event last week.
The former UK Open finalist is making his third consecutive appearance in this double-in event and is looking to surpass the Second Round stage for the first time.
Gurney enjoyed one of the highlights of his career to date by defeating Simon Whitlock to claim the World Grand Prix crown in Dublin six years ago but has suffered First Round exits in three of his last four appearances.
The world number 26 reached the Quarter-Finals of this year’s World Matchplay as well as the Semi-Finals of the Austrian Open.
The opening match of the night sees former Masters champion Joe Cullen take on Belgian newcomer Mike De Decker.
Cullen enjoyed a superb run to the Semi-Finals of the World Matchplay in Blackpool and has also reached two Euro Tour Semi-Finals this year, with his best run in this event coming behind closed doors in 2020 when he made the Last Eight.
Scoring machine De Decker lost out to Rob Cross in the final of Players Championship 11 in May and also qualified for a debut appearance at the World Matchplay – where he was beaten 10-7 by Cullen in Round One.
Meanwhile, two-time World Champion Peter Wright comes up against his former Ally Pally nemesis Gabriel Clemens.
German ace Clemens famously prevailed in a seventh set decider in Round Three to end Snakebite’s world title defence in 2021 and is looking to inflict more pain on the world number three.
Wright finished runner-up in the 2018 World Grand Prix and was a semi-finalist here 12 months ago – where he was whitewashed 4-0 by rival Van Gerwen.
The colourful Scot has claimed the Nordic Masters and Czech Open titles this season but endured a torrid Premier League campaign which saw him finish bottom of the table.
Reigning Masters champion Chris Dobey takes on fellow Premier League star Dimitri van den Bergh in another closely-matched contest.
Dobey was a semi-finalist on his World Grand Prix debut in Dublin four years ago and reached the Last Eight in 2022, losing out to eventual champion MVG on both occasions.
Belgian number one Van den Bergh finished runner-up in this year’s Poland Masters and was a semi-finalist in the UK Open and World Cup of Darts.
Aussie number one Damon Heta faces a tough opening assignment against fellow top 16 star Ryan Searle.
Heta has claimed two Players Championship titles during a fine season so far, as well as reaching the Quarter-Finals of the World Matchplay and four European Tour Semi-Finals, though he is yet to win in two previous World Grand Prix campaigns.
Searle also enjoyed an impressive run to the Quarter-Finals in Blackpool and finished runner-up in two Players Championship events earlier in the year.
The action gets under way from 6pm BST, with First Round matches to be contested over the best of three sets.
All sets are the best of five legs and there will be no tie break in any set. All legs must begin and end with a double, meaning that a player must hit a double before they can begin scoring in each leg.
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Boylesports World Grand Prix 2023 Day Two Schedule
Tuesday October 3
Joe Cullen v Mike De Decker
Dave Chisnall v Luke Woodhouse
Damon Heta v Ryan Searle
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Chris Dobey
Peter Wright v Gabriel Clemens
Michael van Gerwen v Josh Rock
Jonny Clayton v Ross Smith
Luke Humphries v Daryl Gurney
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