QUICKFIRE ANDERSON STORMS INTO SINGHA BEER GRAND SLAM OF DARTS SECOND ROUND
GARY ANDERSON needed just 73 darts and less than nine minutes as he booked his place in the knockout stage of the SINGHA Beer Grand Slam of Darts with a stunning whitewash of Wesley Harms on Wednesday, as he joined Phil Taylor, Christian Kist, James Wade and Peter Wright in round two.
2011 Wolves Civic runner-up Anderson left Dutch ace Harms trailing as he swept through their decisive Group H clash with a 5-0 triumph.
Anderson's win took eight minutes and 40 seconds and saw him hit five 180s, including two in an 11-darter in the fifth leg as he moved through to a second round meeting with Mervyn King.
"I'm really happy with that but I'd put myself under pressure when I lost to Stephen Bunting, so I knew I had to perform tonight," said Anderson. Wesley's a quick player and I was able to get into a good rhythm, and I got on a roll. Mervyn's the same so hopefully it will be a heavy-scoring game and it will be a good game."
King topped Group G as he won his third successive game of the round-robin stage 5-4, with Jamie Caven taking out a 129 finish to lead 3-2 only for the recent Masters runner-up to reply with a 164 checkout before taking out 136 in the decider.
"I knew Jamie was going to up the ante tonight and I had to go with him when he hit that 129 finish," said King. "I had a hurdle to get over tonight and I managed it, but Jamie never gets any easier to beat. I'm feeling good and I'm happy with how I'm playing because this was such a tough group and you'd have wanted to avoid all three players."
Caven had won through last week's Wildcard Qualifier in Wigan to earn a Grand Slam debut but lost out to Wade, O'Shea and King at the Wolves Civic.
"The results probably aren't a justification of how I'm playing," he said. "James played brilliantly in the first game and I couldn't have done a lot more, and against Tony I missed doubles. It's my first time here. I was over the moon to qualify and get here but you have to win to progress and I've not done that."
Wade, last week's Masters winner and a former Grand Slam finalist, won through his decisive Group G clash with Tony O'Shea 5-1 with a 99.95 average to progress to a second round tie against Stephen Bunting on Thursday.
"After I lost against Mervyn on Sunday I thought I'd blown my chance so I'm relieved to have got through," said Wade "I grew up being beaten by players like Tony so I was very nervous, but I know what to expect against Stephen in the next round. Stephen will play well but hopefully I will keep up with him and play well."
Bunting, meanwhile, progressed from Group H unbeaten with a 5-1 win over Dean Winstanley, who exited the event without a victory from his three matches.
"My performances have been really good and I've got to be happy with another win," said Bunting, who dedicated the win to his partner step-mother, whose funeral he attended earlier on Tuesday. I know that if I'm playing my game then I can beat anyone and I'm enjoying my darts at the moment."
Reigning Grand Slam of Darts champion Phil Taylor sealed his spot in the last 16 with a 5-3 defeat over Andy Hamilton as he averaged 106.47, hitting four 180s and five doubles from nine attempts.
"I'm really pleased to get through and I can relax now because it's a longer format and it's knockout from here onwards," said Taylor. "When I went on stage I still wasn't sure if I'd qualified so I just went out to win. Andy's a great player and you've got to play well to beat him anyway, and I enjoyed it because we both gave it everything."
Hamilton was eliminated by the defeat as Christian Kist progressed alongside Taylor from Group E courtesy of his 5-1 win over Richie George.
Kist now plays Group F winner Michael Smith on Thursday, after the former World Youth Champion sealed a 5-1 win over Brendan Dolan with a 127 finish.
"I'm really pleased to have come through such a tough group, and to finish top is a bonus really," said Smith, who also defeated Simon Whitlock and Peter Wright. I know I need to be more consistent over the longer format, but I'm playing pretty well and I've got a lot of belief in my ability - I'm here to win this tournament."
Wright won the night's other decisive clash as he defeated Whitlock 5-3 to move through to a second round date with Taylor.
"It was nerve-wracking," admitted Wright, who was 2-1 down before taking four of the next five legs. "I've got to much respect for Simon so I'm really happy with the win. I'm coming back to form at the right time but I've got to up that against Phil.
Phil's pretty relaxed but I'll give him a good game and it should be exciting for the crowd."
The second round begins on Wednesday with the first four games, including Michael van Gerwen's clash with Terry Jenkins in a repeat of their recent European Championship final.
2012 Grand Slam of Darts champion Raymond van Barneveld takes on reigning World Youth Champion Keegan Brown, with Alan Norris taking on Kim Huybrechts and Dave Chisnall meeting Robbie Green.
|98.50||3||5/9||King ||5:4|| Caven||90.99||0||4/11|
|106.47||4||5/9||Taylor ||5:3|| Hamilton||98.81||2||3/6|
|100.16||1||5/10||Wright ||5:3|| Whitlock||100.84||1||3/6|