The 2020 Boylesports World Grand Prix commences in Coventry on Tuesday with eight unmissable First Round ties. The unique double-start…
The 2020 Boylesports World Grand Prix commences in Coventry on Tuesday with eight unmissable First Round ties.
The unique double-start tournament will see 32 players competing for the prestigious trophy and £450,000 in prize money at the Ricoh Arena from October 6-12.
It will be the first time the Boylesports World Grand Prix has been held away from the Citywest Hotel in Dublin for 20 years and will be staged behind closed doors due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.
The top 16 players from the main PDC Order of Merit are joined in the star-studded line-up by the next 16 highest ranked players from the ProTour Order of Merit.
One of the stand-out matches of the opening night sees former World Champions Rob Cross and Gary Anderson go head-to-head.
The tie is made possible at such an early stage of proceedings by virtue of the fact that only the top eight ranked players are seeded in the draw, meaning Anderson comes into the event as the highest ranked non-seed.
Anderson, Grand Prix runner-up in 2016, is looking to continue his fine record in major tournaments behind closed doors, having won the 2018 UK Open and finished runner-up in this year’s World Matchplay.
He also secured his place in the upcoming Premier League play-offs, but has not picked up a dart since, opting out of the recent Autumn Series and World Series Finals.
The Flying Scotsman has dominated this fixture, winning nine of his ten previous meetings with Cross – who is eyeing only a second victory in this tournament in his fourth appearance.
The three-time major champion was eliminated from the Premier League at the halfway stage but showed signs of a return to form by reaching the final of the World Series Finals a fortnight ago.
All eyes will be on reigning champion Michael van Gerwen as he starts the defence of his title with a clash against Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski.
Van Gerwen’s rise to the top began in Dublin eight years ago when he claimed his first major title in this event, and he has gone to lift this trophy a further four times.
However, the world number one has endured undoubtedly his toughest period since that landmark triumph in 2012, missing out on the Premier League play-offs for the first time and suffering early exits in the World Matchplay and World Series Finals.
Unbeaten since 2017, MVG faces a tough opening test against the world number 14 – who is hoping to transfer his clinical floor form onto the big stage on a consistent basis.
Ratajski has six PDC titles to his name, as well as the World Masters, but has never been beyond the Quarter-Final stage of a PDC major to date.
Another mouth-watering clash sees debutants Devon Petersen and Jose De Sousa lock horns.
The duo are making history as the first representatives from their respective countries to appear in this event and qualified in first and third position on the ProTour Order of Merit respectively.
Petersen heads to Coventry as the most improved player of the season, having followed up his run to the final of an Autumn Series event by picking up his first PDC title at the German Championship last weekend.
The charismatic South African has registered huge averages with great regularity in recent months, notably hitting a nine-darter on the ProTour, and comes into this event in the best form of his career.
Portugal’s De Sousa, meanwhile, is now also ranked inside the world’s top 50, having reached the final of a Summer Series event and made his debut in July’s World Matchplay.
However, his record in televised competition will come as a concern, having won just one match in seven previous attempts since making his debut against Petersen in the Preliminary Round of the 2012 World Championship.
World Matchplay champion Dimitri van den Bergh aims to deliver more magic on the big stage when he faces world number four Michael Smith.
Van den Bergh’s progress since that sensational success in July has been hampered by a knee injury which left him requiring an operation, but the lively Belgian will look to defy the discomfort and put the pressure on Bully Boy.
Missed doubles proved a major factor in Smith missing out on the Premier League play-offs, and he will be desperate to brush up on the outer ring and reach Round Two of this event for only the third time.
Two stalwarts of this competition collide as two-time champion James Wade faces 2012 runner-up Mervyn King.
The pair have incredibly met 50 times over the last 13 years and have an almost symmetrical head-to-head record, but it was King who prevailed 3-1 when they met in the Last 16 of the World Grand Prix 12 months ago.
Danny Noppert has been tipped as a potential dark horse in this year’s World Grand Prix and will look to hit the ground running against debutant Ryan Searle.
Noppert reached the Semi-Finals of the recent German Championship and qualified in second spot on the ProTour Order of Merit, while Searle finished seventh, having won a ProTour title earlier this year.
Mensur Suljovic, semi-finalist in Dublin in 2015, 2017 and 2018, starts out against Dutch debutant Dirk van Duijvenbode.
Suljovic, renowned for his efficient finishing on double 14, has threatened to go the distance on multiple occasions in this event and will look to utilise his vast experience against the world number 71.
Since regaining a Tour Card at Qualifying School in January, Van Duijvenbode has reached two ranking Semi-Finals, including the Belgian Championship, as well as the Last 32 of the UK Open.
The action gets underway 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 he can begin scoring in each leg.
BoyleSports World Grand Prix 2020 Schedule of Play
Tuesday October 6
Danny Noppert v Ryan Searle
Mensur Suljovic v Dirk van Duijvenbode
Jose De Sousa v Devon Petersen
James Wade v Mervyn King
Rob Cross v Gary Anderson
Michael van Gerwen v Krzysztof Ratajski
Michael Smith v Dimitri Van den Bergh