The World Grand Prix 2018 is getting ever closer (Citywest Hotel, Dublin, Sunday Sept 30th to Saturday Oct 6th).
The £400,000 tournament is unique for the format that sees the players needing to both begin and end each leg with a double. The 32-player event kicks off on Sunday Sept 30th with the first two nights of round one games, and the second round action split across Tuesday and Wednesday.
Thursday night will see all four Quarter-Finals held, with the Semi-Finals on Friday before the World Grand Prix Champion is crowned in the Final on Saturday.
Preceding the Final will be the Tom Kirby Memorial Irish Matchplay Final (Approx 7:05pm), where Kevin Burness faces Mick McGowan.
Players making their Grand Prix debuts in this year’s tournament are Jonny Clayton, Max Hopp, Jermaine Wattimina, Steve Lennon, Danny Noppert, Ricky Evans, Josh Payne, Jeffrey de Zwaan and Ron Meulenkamp.
On opening night, we will see World No.1 Michael van Gerwen, last week’s Champions League winner Gary Anderson and current World Grand Prix Champion Daryl Gurney.
The unique format makes this a fantastic spectacle for all darts fans.
First Round Draw
Sunday September 30th (First to two sets)
(7:15pm) 8/13 Jeffrey de Zwaan v Kim Huybrechts 5/4 Prediction – Jeffrey de Zwaan. The World Matchplay semi-finalist is fancied to continue his good form in this and beat his Belgian opponent, expect to see some exuberant celebrations in this game too.
(7:45pm) 6/4 Ron Meulenkamp v Joe Cullen 1/2 Prediction – Joe Cullen. Rockstar (Joe Cullen) is very reliable on his doubles and should be too strong for his opponent who makes his Grand Prix debut in this match.
(8:15pm) 15/20 Darren Webster v Stephen Bunting 21/20 Prediction – Darren Webster. The Demolition Man is having his best ever season on the circuit and his power scoring and sound finishing should be enough for him to progress to the second round.
(8:30pm) 2/1 Ricky Evans v Raymond van Barneveld 4/11 Prediction – Raymond van Barneveld. Barney will fancy his chances against Grand Prix debutant “Rapid” Ricky Evans in this one and the crowd will be entertained I’m sure by the BABY SHARK walk-on music of Evans and by his ultra-quick throwing style, but unfortunately for him it’s a Raymond van Barneveld victory.
(9pm) 1/2 Dave Chisnall v Max Hopp 6/4 Prediction – Dave Chisnall. a close match on paper and Chizzy’s experience in the tournament (beaten finalist) may prove the difference, despite him suffering from some back problems in last weekend’s Champions League tournament.
(9:30pm) 2/5 Daryl Gurney v John Henderson 15/8 Prediction – John Henderson. one of the ties of the first-round, as last year’s winner (Gurney) takes on last year’s beaten semi-finalist, “Big John” beat Michael van Gerwen, Alan Norris and Raymond van Barneveld before losing to “Super Chin” in the semi’s last year and will be out for revenge this time around.
(10pm) 1/7 Michael van Gerwen v Steve Lennon 9/2 Prediction – Michael van Gerwen. It’s hard to look past the World No.1 and reigning champion in this one and he should be too good for his Co. Carlow opponent and Grand Prix debutant Steve Lennon as he will not want to exit the tournament in the first round in consecutive seasons
(10:30pm) 1/4 Gary Anderson v Jonny Clayton 14/5 Prediction – Gary Anderson. I expect Gary Anderson’s power scoring and current red-hot form to be the deciding factor in this one.
Monday October 1st:
(7pm) 20/21 Jermaine Wattimena v Mervyn King 5/6 Prediction – Mervyn King. Another close game and Mervyn may just be that bit more reliable on the doubles, a must in this unique format.
(7:30pm) 9/5 Josh Payne v Ian White 2/5 Prediction – Ian White. Ian “Diamond White” should be too good for his young rival in this one and expect lots of high scores and high finishes from the man from Stoke-On-Trent.
(8pm) 7/5 Danny Noppert v Gerwyn Price 11/20 Prediction – Gerwyn Price. This should be an entertaining game to watch and Grand Prix debutant Noppert has the game to run his Welsh opponent close but a Price win looks the safest option on current form.
(8:30pm) 1/3 Peter Wright v Steve West 23/10 Prediction – Peter Wright. Steve West has pulled-off some big upsets this season, but “Snakebite” finally seems to have found a set of darts he likes and should be too strong in this first-round contest.
(9pm) 3/10 Rob Cross v Steve Beaton 12/5 Prediction – Rob Cross. Current PDC World Champion against former BDO World Champion and although he hasn’t been in the top-form which seen him crowned World Champ in January, Rob “Voltage” Cross is fancied for the win.
(9:30pm) 6/10 Mensur Suljovic v James Wade 13/10 Prediction – Mensur Suljovic. A close game to call, both players capable of big scoring and big finishes and, it’s just the current form of “The Gentle” Mensur Suljovic which tips the scales in his favour.
(10pm) 11/20 Simon Whitlock v James Wilson 7/5 Prediction – Simon Whitlock. Last year’s beaten finalist Simon Whitlock is a confident selection in a tournament format that really suits his game.
(10:30pm) 5/6 Michael Smith v Adrian Lewis 20/21 Prediction – Adrian Lewis. The stand-out tie on night-two, sure to be close and with this format likely to frustrate Michael Smith early if his doubles aren’t up to scratch, then Adrian Lewis could be hard to peg back if he gets an early lead which may well be the case.
Ante-Post tips on the outright market:
Winner – Gary Anderson (6/1)
Each-Way – Mensur Suljovic (16/1)
Alternate Each-Way – Ian White (40/1)
Quoted prices correct as of 09:28 28/09/18