Price survives Suzuki scare
By Paul Woodage 19/11/2020
REIGNING Grand Slam champion Gerwyn Price survived four match darts against Mikuru Suzuki to win a nail biting clash.
What looked a home banker on paper for the Welshman almost ended up in defeat as the BDO ladies world champion put in a stunning performance to come within a whisker of producing an enormous shock.
Price who is seeking a third consecutive Grand Slam title said: “I didn’t play well at all, fair play to her she played brilliant. I was really poor early on and was chasing the game.
“I put myself under pressure but a win is a win. Playing a woman is tough, I was nowhere near my game but I won’t take too much from this. I will prepare the same tomorrow and forget about today.
“I was rubbish. I can’t see Jonny (Clayton) or Ryan (Joyce) making the same mistakes I made tonight. But I am not too disappointed because I won.”
Still on cloud nine after becoming a World Cup winner, Clayton edged out Joyce in first match of the evening session. The Welshman is enjoying his arrows right now and grabbed the deciding leg to take the points. He will go head to head with his good friend and compatriot Price today.
World Champion Peter Wright suffered defeat in his opening match to Dirk van Duijvenbode. The most famous aubergine farmer on the planet served up a tasty performance to become the only player to inflict defeat on a seed today.
Devon Petersen is being touted for glory following an impressive run of form this year. The German Darts champion impressed on his Grand Slam debut with a superb 5-2 win over Ian White. The big South African continues to power on and is amongst the favourites to lift the title.
All eyes were on Michael van Gerwen but he dusted off all the usual question marks with a demolition job over Adam Hunt.
The Green Machine showed exactly why he is the World No.1 averaging 105.85 in a dazzling display. The Hunter became the hunted as the Dutchman tore the 27-year-old qualifier apart without dropping a leg.
Competing Van Gerwen’s group are Gabriel Clemens and Joe Cullen. The Rockstar is in a rich vein of form and enjoyed another tour title a couple of days ago but it was the German No.1 who took the honours with a 5-2 win.
Dimitri Van den Bergh danced his way into record books with the performance of the day. The brilliant Belgian was in scintillating form as he fired in a magnificent 114.85 average in beating Ricky Evans. The previous record of 114.65 was set by Phil Taylor against Christian Kiss in 2014 but the World Matchplay champion rewrote the history books with a dazzling display.
A shocked Van den Bergh said: "I didn't even realise my average was that high, so it's a nice surprise to break the record.
"I'm surprised I played that well given how I felt before the game. My mind wasn't there in practice and I was very wary of the threat Ricky poses, he's smashed me before.
"But I always say when I go up on that stage I can play and I showed that today."
Nathan Aspinall joins Van den Bergh on two points in their group after he impressively whitewashed BDO world champion, Wayne Warren.
The Welshman was clearly suffering from a lack of competitive matchplay and will need to emphatically improve on his 70 average if he wants to progress in this tournament.
Just a few years ago it would have been unthinkable to see players from Portugal and Poland winning multi PDC titles but Jose de Sousa and Krzysztof Ratajski are now two of the best tungsten throwers on the planet. The heavyweights exchanged punches all the way through but it was de Sousa who landed out the knock-out blow in the ninth and final leg to claim victory.
Michael Smith is still looking for that elusive television major and began his latest hunt with a 5-1 win over Lisa Ashton.
Bully Boy won back to back ProTour victories in the recent winter series and was once again at his mercurial best averaging 102.51 against the four times women’s world champion. Ashton is appearing in her second Grand Slam but is yet to record a victory. Next up for the popular Lancashire Rose is Krzysztof Ratajski in what is a must win game for both.
Ever present James Wade got off to a solid start. Along with Gary Anderson, the Machine has appeared in every Grand Slam tournament but is yet to taste glory. The Aldershot ace put in an impressive performance to defeat the in-form Aussie, Damon Heta 5-2.
In the same quartet, Jermaine Wattimena took full advantage of an under par Glen Durrant to give him the perfect start. Duzza recently took to social media to say last week had been the worst in his darting career. This week hasn’t started off too great either for the premier league champion as he visibly struggled against his stable mate. Nonetheless, the Dutchman focussed on the job in hand and raced to a 5-1 win.
Former World Champion Rob Cross opened the tournament and eased his way to victory with a comprehensive 5-1 win over a frustrated Justin Pipe. In the same group, Dave Chisnall defeated Luke Humphries in a last leg decider to claim the two points.
Anderson quite literally limped over the line against Adam Gawlas. Suffering from a knee injury, the two time World Champ could only muster an 83 average but that was enough to defeat the young Czech.
Afterwards an angry Anderson said: “You get players that snark in your ear every time you throw and it always seems to come from the same team. It gets on your nerves a bit so would I pull out? Yes, because darts isn’t darts anymore.”
Next up for the Scot is Simon Whitlock after the Wizard beat Ryan Searle. In a high quality encounter it was the Aussie who found that little bit extra at the end to take the contest 5-3.
Monday November 16
Rob Cross 5-1 Justin Pipe (D)
Dave Chisnall 5-4 Luke Humphries (D)
James Wade 5-2 Damon Heta (F)
Simon Whitlock 5-3 Ryan Searle (B)
Jermaine Wattimena 5-1 Glen Durrant (F)
Nathan Aspinall 5-0 Wayne Warren (H)
Dimitri Van den Bergh 5-1 Ricky Evans (H)
Gary Anderson 5-3 Adam Gawlas (B)
Jonny Clayton 5-4 Ryan Joyce (G)
Gabriel Clemens 5-2 Joe Cullen (A)
Jose de Sousa 5-4 Krzysztof Ratajski (C)
Michael Smith 5-1 Lisa Ashton (C)
Michael van Gerwen 5-0 Adam Hunt (A)
Gerwyn Price 5-4 Mikuru Suzuki (G)
Peter Wright 4-5 Dirk van Duijvenbode (E)
Ian White 2-5 Devon Petersen (E)
Owen and Baker settling in well as big names stumble