Grand Slam of Darts Semi-Finals preview and predictions: Remaining quartet collide in Coventry
Following a spectacular two sessions on Sunday, the remaining quartet collide at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena in two mouth-watering semi-final encounters.
It was spellbinding stuff as the quarter-finals took place, with four closely contested matches transpiring and world number one Michael van Gerwen being abruptly dumped out of the tournament.
Now, three major champions and a Portuguese debutant remain in contention of reigning victorious come Tuesday evening, with a guaranteed new name on the Eric Bristow Trophy.
Ahead of the semi-finals at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, Ben Hudd takes a look at both last four clashes and provides his predictions.
SIMON WHITLOCK VS JOSE DE SOUSA
Very few expected a semi-final showdown between Australian Simon Whitlock and Jose de Sousa of Portugal, especially when they were facing the world number one and world number four respectively in the previous round.
Whitlock incredibly pulled off a third consecutive victory over Van Gerwen in front of the televised cameras, recording a record 20 maximums against the three-time champion.
‘The Wizard’ might have survived eight matches darts at the hands of the Dutchman, though, he chased throughout the contest and thoroughly deserved his chance following a great deal of resilience.
As for De Sousa, the Portuguese sensation has fended off valiant comebacks against both Dave Chisnall and Michael Smith to become the first player from his country to reach a televised semi-final.
It has been quite the rise for the reigning European Darts Grand Prix champion in recent years, and many claimed that his floor form would unearth major success if he could transform it to the stage – which he has done with expertise.
There is one particular statistic favouring the man from Portugal, however, with Van Gerwen’s conquerers in televised events departing in the proceeding round relatively frequently.
Whitlock will be hoping to bring that ‘curse’ to an end come Monday evening, when going head-to-head with a talented thrower who he has a losing record against despite just a solitary meeting.
Prediction: 16-14 De Sousa
JAMES WADE VS DIMITRI VAN DEN BERGH
Now could very much be the time for James Wade to finally get his hands on the prestigious Eric Bristow Trophy. He is reaping confidence and that is showing in his performance levels in Coventry.
Nevertheless, reigning World Matchplay champion Dimitri Van den Bergh will without a doubt have other ideas, having produced scintillating stuff thus far at the Ricoh Arena.
Before the professional resumption in the summer, many would have Van den Bergh down as a player who would not benefit from a deserted auditorium without spectators, though, it has proved extremely different.
The Belgian lifted the World Matchplay behind closed doors in June, and is now two victories away from another major triumph, following wins over Nathan Aspinall and Jonny Clayton in the knockout stages.
Wade, meanwhile, has fended off two tough opponents in Australian Damon Heta and Ian White whilst recording averages in excess of the 95 mark in all of his matches bar one.
It’s now a decade since two-time BDO world champion Scott Waites pulled off a remarkable comeback from 8-0 down to stun Wade in the 2010 final, and the two-time finalist will be hoping to avenge that in the coming days.
‘The Machine’ has never been defeated by the Belgian in front of the televised cameras, having ousted him at the World Series of Darts Finals three years ago and drew during last year’s Premier League.
Prediction: 16-13 Van den Bergh
(Featured Image: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)