All roads head to the Emerald Isle, as the PDC is back in Ireland for the Unibet World Grand Prix at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin. World number one Michael van Gerwen is the odds-on favourite with the title sponsors Unibet, to retain the crown he won this time last year. The World Grand Prix is one of the most unique competitions in the darting calendar, as it’s the only one that is a double in start.
Unibet PDC World Grand Prix Preview
Van Gerwen has somewhat of a love affair with the World Grand Prix. The Dutchman has won the title three times in the last five years. The Unibet World Grand Prix was also the first major PDC title that van Gerwen won back in 2012, so will always be the one that is closest to his heart. In the opening round at the Citywest van Gerwen will be the other wheeling favourite, as he faces the Scotsman John Henderson with most bookmakers have van Gerwen as short as 1/20 to beat Henderson. The World Number is a best price 4/5 with Unibet to win the £100,000 top prize on the 7th October.
World Number two Gary Anderson will be looking to go when better than this time last year. Anderson was beaten in the final last year by Michael van Gerwen. Anderson is again seeded number two for the Unibet World Grand Prix, as the best two players in world darts look set to slug it out again. Anderson will be looking to avoid a giant-killing in the opening round, as he faces the newcomer to the world stage Richard North. This is North’s first appearance in the World Grand Prix, after impressing to the floor this year having only won his tour card in January. Anderson told the PDC “It was great in Dublin last year and I’d love to have another good run,
“I think I played Richard a couple of months ago, but I keep hearing about him, and he’s been knocking out big names, but he’s up on stage now, and he’s got to learn the stage.
“The double-start format is always hard – I’m lucky if I can finish a game on doubles, never mind start on doubles!”
Mensur Suljovic will be a danger to the rest of the field, coming hot off the back of winning his maiden PDC televised title only two weeks ago. Suljovic won the PDC Champions League of Darts in Cardiff, beating Gary Anderson twice along the way to victory. Suljovic will be a massive danger if he finds his groove of double 14. In the Champions League, his finishing was one of the defining reasons the rest were swept aside.
One significant absentee will be the sixteen-time world champion Phil Taylor. The darting superstar has chosen not to play in the World Grand Prix despite qualifying for it. The rumour mill has been in overdrive since the news broke that Taylor would miss the trip to Ireland. In his final year of playing darts at the top level many thought that Taylor would play in everything that he had qualified for. In recent years Taylor has got a rough ride from the Irish crowd, with speculation this is one of the reasons Taylor has skipped the trip to the Emerald Isle.
Unibet World Grand Prix
Michael van Gerwen (1) v John Henderson
Alan Norris v Justin Pipe
Raymond van Barneveld (8) v Kyle Anderson
Steve Beaton v Rob Cross
Dave Chisnall (5) v Jelle Klaasen
Robert Thornton v Kim Huybrechts
Adrian Lewis (4) v Daryl Gurney
Joe Cullen v Darren Webster
Gary Anderson (2) v Richard North
Simon Whitlock v Christian Kist
Michael Smith (7) v Gerwyn Price
Benito van de Pas v Cristo Reyes
Mensur Suljovic (6) v Ian White
Steve West v James Wade
Peter Wright (3) v Stephen Bunting
Mervyn King v Ronny Huybrechts