Michael van Gerwen began the defence of his World Grand Prix title with a straight sets rout of Josh Rock…
Michael van Gerwen began the defence of his World Grand Prix title with a straight sets rout of Josh Rock on Tuesday, as Luke Woodhouse dumped out Dave Chisnall.
Billed as one of the pick of the first round ties, Van Gerwen was quick to lay down a marker as he dominated debutant Rock, losing just one leg in a straight sets victory.
The Dutchman, who lifted the World Grand Prix title for a sixth time in 2022, started in imperious form – clinching legs in 14 and 12 darts on his way to the opening set with Rock picking up his solitary leg in response.
That dominance persisted in the second set as Rock languished, and Van Gerwen powered his way to the next three legs to secure victory with an average of 95.7 and a 75 per cent success rate on the finishing doubles.
“To start off with a performance like this against a player of that calibre – it gives you confidence,” said Van Gerwen.
“The first round in this tournament is always tricky – whoever you draw. Look how many good players already lost in this tournament.”
“My doubles were top class – it may not have done my average justice, but winning the game was the most important thing in the World Grand Prix.”
Van Gerwen faces Chris Dobey – who defeated Dimitri Van den Bergh in straight sets earlier in the evening – in round two.
The pair met in the Quarter-Final stage of 2022 event, with Van Gerwen recording a 3-1 success and he is feeling confident that he cannot be stopped as he hunts a record seventh World Grand Prix title
“It’s not going to happen,” joked Van Gerwen. “The format gets longer and longer after tonight and that won’t do [my opponent] any favours.
“You are going to have a tough opponent in the next game, but I just need to believe in my ability which is what I am doing at the moment and that is maybe why I am playing so well.”
Luke Woodhouse enjoyed a dream World Grand Prix debut as he overcame two-time finalist Dave Chisnall in successive sets with a 96 average and two ton-plus finishes.
World number three Peter Wright, the 2018 World Grand Prix runner-up, saw off German number one Gabriel Clemens in a comfortable 2-0 victory.
Wright will now face Ryan Searle, who got the better of Australian number one Damon Heta in a hard-fought deciding set success.
Sixth seed Luke Humphries maintained his blistering run of form as he defeated 2017 champion Daryl Gurney in straight sets.
“I’m just happy to be through to the next round, it’s a high-pressure tournament with the format,” Humphries reflected.
“I didn’t think it was my best performance today, my doubling-in was good but my scoring wasn’t there.
“But I’m through the first round, and now I’m looking to make a mark on this tournament for the first time.”
2021 champion Jonny Clayton also fell at the first hurdle, going down 2-0 to Ross Smith, with the European Champion to face Joe Cullen in round two, with Cullen easing to a straight sets win over Belgian debutant Mike De Decker.
Boylesports World Grand Prix 2023 Day Two Results
Tuesday October 3
Joe Cullen 2-0 Mike De Decker
Dave Chisnall 0-2 Luke Woodhouse
Damon Heta 1-2 Ryan Searle
Dimitri Van den Bergh 0-2 Chris Dobey
Peter Wright 2-0 Gabriel Clemens
Michael van Gerwen 2-0 Josh Rock
Jonny Clayton 0-2 Ross Smith
Luke Humphries 2-0 Daryl Gurney
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