The Second Round gets underway at the 2020 Boylesports World Grand Prix on Thursday as the stakes and format increase…
The Second Round gets underway at the 2020 Boylesports World Grand Prix on Thursday as the stakes and format increase in Coventry.
The quick-fire best of three format laid claim to a host of high-profile casualties in Round One, with six of the eight seeds subjected to shock early exits.
The draw has now opened up for a potential dark horse to mount a title challenge at the Ricoh Arena this week, though a clutch of decorated darters remain firmly in the running.
The most notable of which is reigning and five-time Boylesports World Grand Prix champion Michael van Gerwen, who steps up his quest for a third consecutive crown with a box office clash against Devon Petersen.
The world number one boasts a prolific record in this event since picking up his first major title at the Citywest in 2012, reaching the final in six of his last eight appearances.
Van Gerwen was handed a gruelling First Round draw against world number 14 Krzysztof Ratajski but dug deep to prevail in a last-leg thriller with a 98.6 average.
He now faces arguably the most improved player of the season, against whom he has lost both of their meetings on the circuit this year.
Petersen has enjoyed a magnificent campaign, reaching his first ProTour final and missing multiple darts for the title, but atoning for it in style by winning the German Championship a fortnight later.
The popular South African has established himself as one of the most formidable scorers on the planet at present, but proved he has the finishing to match as he defied eight 180s from Jose De Sousa to prevail in straight sets on Tuesday.
The world number 42 whitewashed MVG in the recent Autumn Series but will be wary of a potential backlash from the hungry Dutchman, who revealed after his win on opening night that Petersen is on his “target list”.
Another unmissable clash sees two-time World Champion Gary Anderson take on former Lakeside finalist Danny Noppert.
Anderson is vying to reach his second World Grand Prix final, having finished runner-up in 2016, and started brightly by sweeping aside world number five Rob Cross in consecutive sets.
The Flying Scotsman admitted he had not picked up a dart since securing his Premier League play-off spot a month ago, but continues to do damage in behind closed doors majors.
Runner-up in July’s World Matchplay, Anderson also won the 2018 UK Open behind closed doors and will fancy his chances of adding this title to his collection.
Noppert, meanwhile, is appearing in the Last 16 for the second successive year, having come from a set down to defeat Ryan Searle in the opening match of the tournament.
Semi-finalist in the recent German Championship, Noppert has his sights set on becoming the new Dutch number two and has shared two wins from his four previous encounters against Anderson.
Two former World Grand Prix finalists face off as 2012 runner-up Mervyn King takes on 2017 runner-up Simon Whitlock.
King picked up from where he left off in reaching the Semi-Finals on the Euro Tour last weekend as he dispatched two-time champion James Wade in straight sets with a polished all-round display.
The 54-year-old is looking to reach the Quarter-Finals for the second consecutive year but faces an opponent he has not beaten in his last six attempts.
Whitlock is a man on a free-roll this week after receiving an unexpected late call-up following the news that Adrian Lewis had tested positive for Covid-19 and was therefore withdrawn.
Despite a hectic 24 hours, the Australian ace produced a terrific display to defeat Chris Dobey 2-0 with a 101 average on Wednesday and will look to pick up from where he left off.
The opening match of the evening sees World Matchplay champion Dimitri Van den Bergh take on debutant Dirk van Duijvenbode.
Despite playing with a knee brace following a serious injury last month, Van den Bergh shone on the big stage once again to defeat world number four Michael Smith with a 96.4 average.
The Belgian number one is appearing at this stage of the competition for the first time and holds a crushing overall record against the Dutchman, having won ten of their 12 previous meetings.
Van Duijvenbode came through an epic struggle on the doubles to knock out Mensur Suljovic in a deciding set, recording the lowest winning average of the round at just 73.
The 28-year-old, however, will look to relax over the extended format and stop the world number 11 in his tracks to reach what would be a first major Quarter-Final.
The action gets underway from 6pm BST, with Second Round matches to be contested over the best of five 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
Thursday October 8
7.15pm Dimitri Van den Bergh v Dirk van Duijvenbode
8.00pm Mervyn King v Simon Whitlock
8.45pm Gary Anderson v Danny Noppert
9.30pm Michael van Gerwen v Devon Petersen