Van Gerwen Makes It Through
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN kept alive his hopes of a fourth consecutive bwin Grand Slam of Darts title with a win over Joe Murnan as the group stage concluded in Wolverhampton on Tuesday.
Day four of the tournament saw the final round of group fixtures for Groups A-D take place, with the top two players from each group qualifying for the last 16 knockout stage.
World number one Van Gerwen saw his 21-match winning run in the tournament ended by Jonny Clayton in a Grand Slam classic on Sunday evening, but he recovered in style to make it through with a 5-1 win to eliminate Murnan.
"It wasn't an outstanding performance but I won the game and that's all that counts, whereas the other day I played a phenomenal game and lost," said Van Gerwen.
"It would be nice to win this tournament again but there is a long way to go yet and it's going to be tough to beat the top players who are still left in."
Van Gerwen will face Group B winner Michael Smith in a mouth-watering last 16 clash after the Premier League finalist whitewashed Raymond van Barneveld 5-0, as the former champion went out at the group stage for just the third time.
Krzysztof Ratajski had no problem in ensuring his passage through Group B, averaging 101.93 as he knocked out Adam Smith-Neale with a 5-1 victory.
Welshman Clayton kept up his 100 percent record and secured his place as Group A's table-topper with a 5-3 win over Gary Robson, who will not advance from the group phase.
"It's a brilliant feeling to top the group, especially when you're drawn with Michael van Gerwen," said Clayton.
"I'm looking forward to the second round now. Hopefully this can be a big step in my career."
Gary Anderson was already assured of his place in the last 16 and he recorded a comprehensive 5-1 win against already-eliminated Steve Hine to top Group D and maintain his proud record of reaching the knockout stages in each year of the Grand Slam.
"I'm happy with that win, it's a good record to have got through every group stage and things are going okay so far," said Anderson, who won all three group matches.
"This is a tournament I love - it's probably my favourite - so it would be fantastic to win this but there's a long way to go yet."
Anderson will now face Wesley Harms after the Dutchman won through to the last 16, edging out Keegan Brown 5-4 in a gripping qualification shootout which saw both players average over 103.
Brown missed one dart for the match and Harms punished the former World Youth Champion, finding double ten with his last dart to reach the knockout phase for the first time since 2012.
James Wade was already assured of his place in the last 16 but ensured he would top Group C thanks to a 5-1 win over eliminated Mark Webster.
The European Champion and World Series Finals winner will be looking to make it 14 TV victories in a row when he takes on Michael Unterbuchner in the last 16.
Emerging German Unterbuchner became the first BDO player through to the knockout stage thanks to a hard-fought 5-3 win over Ian White, eliminating the Dutch Darts Championship winner.
The knockout phase begins on Wednesday with the qualifiers from Groups E-H competing in the second round, with the players progressing from Groups A-D returning to the stage on Thursday.
|100.31||2||5/10||Anderson ||5:1||Hine ||85.97||0||1/4|