Grand Slam of Darts Day Five preview and predictions: Second round commences in Coventry
It’s the beginning of the second round at the 2020 Grand Slam of Darts on Friday evening as eight players return to the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.
Following a drama-filled opening hurdle, which featured the ousting of reigning world champion Peter Wright, the knockout stages commence with more shocks and surprises in store.
Three major champions feature as the second round gets underway, as well as a multiple-time televised finalist and four outsiders vying to progress in Coventry against the odds.
Ahead of Friday’s mouth-watering session, Ben Hudd takes a closer look at each encounter and provides his predictions.
DIMITRI VAN DEN BERGH VS JONNY CLAYTON
Very few players breezed through the group stages, though, reigning World Matchplay champion Dimitri Van den Bergh was certainly one of those, boasting a tournament average of 106.74.
Van den Bergh recorded a blistering 114.85 – a record at the Grand Slam – in his opening victory over Ricky Evans, before thrashing both BDO world champion Wayne Warren and Nathan Aspinall.
The 26-year-old dropped a mere two legs in progressing, while his second round opponent Jonny Clayton battled through after surviving match darts in his opener against Ryan Joyce.
Clayton was far from his brilliant best in the group stages, but the prospect of facing his Welsh World Cup of Darts-winning teammate once again could spur him on.
‘The Ferret’ overcame Van den Bergh at the European Championship three years ago, but the Belgian gained revenge at the World Championship just over a year later.
Prediction: 10-6 Van den Bergh
JAMES WADE VS IAN WHITE
It was a similar scenario for James Wade as the multiple-time major champion breezed into the knockout rounds, while Ian White scrapped through by the skin of his teeth.
White thrashed Dirk van Duijvenbode to the loss of a solitary leg to get his first two points, meaning he needed Devon Petersen to convincingly beat world champion Wright 5-2 or better.
The Stoke-on-Trent man will be thanking South Africa’s Petersen, but his 108.04 average and five out of five on the doubles vindicated a place in the second round.
It was an outstanding performance from White, and one of a similar calibre will be needed if he is to oust world number eight Wade on Friday evening.
Wade remained unbeaten in a tough group containing Glen Durrant, Damon Heta and Jermaine Wattimena, and has beaten White in both of their televised meetings.
Prediction: 10-8 Wade
SIMON WHITLOCK VS ADAM HUNT
Simon Whitlock and Adam Hunt had differing routes to the knockout stages, with the former landing three wins and the latter battling through with a solitary victory.
Whitlock has been in inspired form as of late, while Hunt is preparing for one of the biggest matches of his career after a stellar few weeks on the circuit.
Chester-le-Street’s Hunt was left thanking Michael van Gerwen as the world number one survived match darts to defeat Joe Cullen, but his composed win over Gabriel Clemens put him in that position.
Whitlock has won three of the pair’s four meetings, but Hunt ran out victorious in their most recent encounter at a European Tour qualifying event in February.
Prediction: 10-7 Whitlock
DAVE CHISNALL VS JOSE DE SOUSA
Neither Dave Chisnall nor Jose de Sousa have been their scintillating selves in this tournament, and it’s almost impossible to pick a favourite to progress to the quarter-finals.
Chisnall prevailed with three straight victories over Justin Pipe, Luke Humphries and Rob Cross, but the former finalist has converted less than 25 percent of his attempts at double thus far.
Meanwhile, De Sousa’s finishing has been relatively pleasing and the Portuguese sensation averaged either above or near the 100 mark in all three of his matches.
Only Michael Smith overcame the recent European Darts Grand Prix winner in Group C, and Chisnall will need to be near the top of his game if he is to oust the Portuguese number one.
It will be their maiden meeting on the professional scene, and De Sousa has the potential to match Chisnall’s scoring in an elongated format so the pair’s doubling might prove decisive.
Prediction: 10-9 De Sousa
2020 GRAND SLAM OF DARTS
Friday November 20
Ricoh Arena, Coventry
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Jonny Clayton
James Wade v Ian White
Simon Whitlock v Adam Hunt
Dave Chisnall v Jose de Sousa
Best of 19 legs
(Featured Image: Chris Sargeant/Tip Top Pics)