World Grand Prix - Preview

The 2019 BoyleSports World Grand Prix gets underway on Sunday at The Citywest Convention Centre in Dublin, as Michael van Gerwen begins his title defence against Jamie Hughes on the opening night. Seven nights of action will take place from October 6-12, broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK, on PDCTV-HD for Rest of the World Subscribers and through the PDC's worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN.

The first round of the PDC's only double-start event will be staged across the opening two nights on Sunday and Monday.

Reigning champion Van Gerwen faces an opening test against Hughes, whose impressive first year as a PDC professional saw him win a European Tour event winner in Prague in June. The tournament holds special memories for Van Gerwen who lifted his first televised PDC title at The Citywest back in 2012, but the four-time winner isn't putting any pressure on himself to retain the title for the first time in his career.

"It would be nice to defend the title but it's not something I will focus on too much," said Van Gerwen, who has won the Premier League and The Masters since winning his third world title in January. "I believe I can win any match and any tournament I play in. I focus on each one of them at a time and the record books will take care of themselves. "The Grand Prix is a huge tournament which I enjoy and I feel confident about to going all the way next week."

Daryl Gurney famously won the event in 2017, and two years on the Northern Irishman still holds great memories of the night that changed his life.
"It really was a dream come true, it was a night that I will never forget," said Gurney, who begins his bid for a second Dublin crown against Dutchman Danny Noppert on Monday. "The next morning I woke up I remember thinking 'who owns this trophy beside me?' It still felt like some kind of dream. "But I'm probably a better player now than I was then so hopefully I can enjoy another dream and wake up with the trophy again."

Alongside Van Gerwen and Gurney, James Wade is the only other previous winner in the 32-player field and is also the only player in this year's event to have hit a nine-dart finish at the event. Making his 15th World Grand Prix appearance, 2007 and 2010 champion Wade will take on former semi-finalist John Henderson on Sunday night.
Last year's runner-up Peter Wright believes a return to the darts he used at last year's tournament could help him go one better this time around. Wright was left devastated after his 5-2 defeat to Van Gerwen in his first World Grand Prix final, having previously never made it past the quarter-finals stage of the double-start event. A winner of the World Cup and German Darts Masters so far in 2019, Wright will begin his bid for a first title on the Emerald Isle against German number one Max Hopp on Monday, with the Scot is in buoyant mood.

"To be honest it doesn't help me changing darts all the time but I'm going to use the darts I got to the final of the World Grand Prix with last year," said Wright. "I believe I can go and win all the tournaments coming up but there's some quality players out there in my way. If you don't believe you can win then you shouldn't be playing in my opinion. "I've got good memories from Dublin last year when I beat Mensur [Suljovic] in the semis. This year I've got Max [Hopp] first up, he's a fantastic player but in my mind I'm playing better than anyone so it doesn't bother me who I play."

Gary Anderson begins his quest for a first World Grand Prix title against Keegan Brown, who is making his first appearance since 2015. Steve Beaton will make his 16th World Grand Prix appearance, having made his debut in 2001, and he takes on rising Dutch star Jeffrey de Zwaan in his opener.
A semi-finalist in three of the last four years in Dublin, Mensur Suljovic will play World Matchplay champion Rob Cross in one of the stand-out ties in round one. Hughes will be joined by five other players in making their debuts at the 450,000 pound event: Nathan Aspinall, Krzysztof Ratajski, Glen Durrant, Chris Dobey and Dimitri Van den Bergh.

The players in the top half of the draw will play their first round ties on Sunday, with the bottom half of the draw in action on Monday evening. Sunday's winners will compete in Tuesday's second round ties, with Monday's winners returning to the stage on Wednesday. The quarter-finals will then be held on Thursday night, with the semi-finals on Friday ahead of Saturday's final, which will be preceded by the Tom Kirby Memorial Irish Matchplay final between Keane Barry and Liam Gallagher.

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