Peter Wright overcomes elbow injury to reach World Grand Prix quarter-finals for the first time

Peter Wright defied an elbow injury to beat Mervyn King 3-1 to reach the quarter-finals of the World Grand Prix for the first time in Dublin.

The third seed came from a set down to get the better of his East Anglian rival, and set up a clash with sixth seed Mensur Suljovic in the last eight.

But the world number three, who is the bookies’ favourite to claim the £100,000 first prize on Saturday night, was clearly struggling with an elbow injury in his throwing arm during his second-round tie with King.

“I was practicing and threw one dart too hard and just felt it go ‘twang’,” Wright said.

“It was really affecting me in the first set but I adjusted my throw and it got a little better and fortunately I’m through.

“I’ll rest tonight and be ready to play Mensur, he’s playing alright at the moment but people aren’t playing well against him.”

King, a finalist in the double-start tournament five years ago, punished a slow start from the third seed, checking out 68 on double 16 to take the first set 3-2.

Wright then started his comeback after the break by winning the second set 3-1, which included a 116 checkout on double 18 in the fourth leg.

The Scot, who is bidding to win his second major title and his 11th overall this season, wrapped up the third set in style with an excellent 141 checkout moving him into a 2-1 lead in sets.

The 47-year-old then claimed all three legs in the fourth set to secure his place in the quarter-finals, finishing with checkouts of 121 and 112 in the last two legs to end the contest having hit four 100+ finishes.

The reigning UK Open champion had won nine out of 11 legs since dropping the first set to King and finished with a 71% success rate on his finishing doubles, which was enough to earn him a spot in the last eight in Dublin for the first time in six appearances at the Citywest Hotel.

Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC


Simon Whitlock whitewashes good friend Richard North to set up World Grand Prix quarter-final with Benito van de Pas

Simon Whitlock will face Benito van de Pas in the quarter-finals of the Unibet World Grand Prix after the Australian beat debutant Richard North 3-0 in the second round.

Whitlock and North play local league darts together in Hampshire and were facing each other for the third time in the PDC, with North having won their two previous encounters on the Pro Tour.

Former major winner Whitlock opened the match by taking the first set 3-1, finding double eight to claim his first leg followed by tops to break in the third before pinning double nine to take a 1-0 lead.

North produced a fightback of sorts in the second set, taking the set to a deciding leg but, as in the opener, Whitlock found double nine to double his advantage.

With the score at 2-0, Whitlock stepped up his level and took out 98 to break throw in the opening leg of the third set.

Finishes of 20 and 45 followed to wrap up a comprehensive victory against a man Whitlock rates highly.

“Richard and I know each other very well from back home and he’s a great player,” he said. “I was a little bit nervous as he’s beaten me the last two times we’ve played.

“I probably practice more than anyone else on the planet so I don’t see why I can’t win this. I’m playing well and I’m feeling good.”

Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Mensur Suljovic keeps up bid for second TV title with 3-0 win against Steve West in World Grand Prix last 16

Mensur Suljovic continued his hopes of winning two televised titles in as many months after beating Steve West 3-0 in the second round of the Unibet World Grand Prix.

The sixth seed started slowly but survived six missed darts from West to break in the opening leg, before eventually going on to take the set 3-2 with a 108 finish on his favourite double 14.

The second set was also close, with each leg resulting in a break of throw as the Austrian claimed the decider to move into a 2-0 lead in the second-round tie.

West broke throw in the opening leg of the third set to restore some hope and after leaving 40 to take a 2-0 lead in the set Suljovic produced a moment of magic.

Needing 140 to break back, the recent Champions League of Darts winner found the treble 20 before going on to pin back-to-back double tops to level the set in style.

As with the previous two sets a deciding leg was needed, where Suljovic began with six perfect darts before eventually hitting double eight to secure his place in the quarter-finals.

“I played ok today but not great,” the world number six said. “The 140 was very nice but I have to do better.

“I need to be ready for my match tomorrow, all the players are so good so I will have to work hard.”

Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Back-to-back World Grand Prix quarter-finals for Benito van de Pas after whitewash win over Gerwyn Price in second round

Benito van de Pas booked his place in the quarter-finals of the Unibet World Grand Prix for the second successive year after a convincing 3-0 win over Gerwyn Price.

The Dutchman rushed out of the blocks by winning the opening two sets without reply, hitting a maximum and two 177s on the way to taking a 2-0 lead in sets.

The third set was not quite as convincing for van de Pas, as Price battled back and missed a dart for the set in the final leg of the match before the world number 14 took out 48 on tops to progress.

Van de Pas averaged 95.13 and hit 11 out of 16 attempts at his opening doubles and nine out of 14 attempts at finishing doubles as he comfortably made it through to Thursday’s quarter-finals.

“I’m happy with my performance tonight,” van de Pas said. “I don’t think I had a leg with no score on the starts so that is really important.

“If I carry on finishing like that, this could be a very good week for me but I’m not looking any further ahead than tomorrow’s match.”

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Raymond van Barneveld breezes past Steve Beaton in straight sets to reach last eight in World Grand Prix

Eighth seed Raymond van Barneveld cruised into the quarter-finals of the Unibet World Grand Prix with a straight sets defeat of Steve Beaton in the second round in Dublin.

The two-time World Grand Prix finalist followed up his 2-0 win over Auckland Darts Masters champion Kyle Anderson on Sunday with another dominant performance as he raced into the last eight having yet to drop a set.

Beaton won the opening leg of the first two sets between the two former world champions, but let the Dutchman back in on both occasions as van Barneveld moved clear, winning the opener 3-1 and the second in a deciding leg after two missed doubles from Beaton to level.

Barney took the third set’s opening two legs, and though he missed three match darts to allow Beaton’s brief respite, an 80 finish sealed the five-time world champion’s last eight spot.

“I was never comfortable but Steve wasn’t at his best tonight and I feel like the luckiest guy on the circuit,” said van Barneveld, who will now play Michael van Gerwen’s conqueror John Henderson in Thursday’s quarter-finals.

“Steve started well but I managed to win the first two sets, which could have easily gone either way. I won and that’s what’s most important.

“I felt a lot of confidence coming into this tournament and Sunday was good against Kyle Anderson. This game wasn’t as good but I won and I’ll be practising hard ahead of the quarter-finals.”

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MVG’s conqueror John Henderson reels off three straight sets to beat Alan Norris in World Grand Prix last 16

John Henderson backed up his surprise win over top seed Michael van Gerwen with a comeback 3-1 victory against Alan Norris to reach the quarter-finals of the Unibet World Grand Prix.

The world number 32 ended his 700+ day drought without a win on TV to knock out the world number one van Gerwen in the first round on Sunday, and is now through to the last eight in Dublin for the second time after reeling off three straight sets to see off Norris in the last 16.

Former World Championship finalist Norris had earlier capitalised on an edgy start from the Scot to claim the opening set 3-1, but Henderson settled his nerves with a 96 checkout and a 13-darter to lead 2-0 in set two before hitting double 16 to level the tie.

Henderson punished two missed doubles from Norris to lead in set three and then took out 124 on the bull to double his advantage, with Norris replying to force a decider, only for double 12 to give the Scot a key 2-1 cushion in sets.

Finishes of 60 and double ten moved Henderson clear in set four, before he landed a 180 and tops to seal his quarter-final place, matching the achievement he enjoyed on his debut in the double-start tournament back in 2011.

“To get through a hard game like that is fantastic,” Henderson said. “After beating Michael there was a lot of pressure on me tonight but I think I played better tonight.

“Alan missed a lot of doubles to start and you’ve got to punish these top players for that and luckily I did.

“I believe I’m a far better player than I was in 2011 but other players will say the same so I’ll have to play outstanding darts in every round.

“I’m playing steady darts and I’m still in the competition so let’s hope I can go all the way. I’m enjoying it – I’ve not been in a quarter-final here since 2011 and hopefully I can take that one step further.”

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Daryl Gurney sees off Joe Cullen in World Grand Prix to advance to third major quarter-final of the season

Daryl Gurney continued his excellent 2017 by reaching a third major quarter-final of the season, beating Joe Cullen 3-1 to progress to the last eight of the Unibet World Grand Prix.

The Northern Ireland number one, who has enjoyed runs to the semi-finals of both the UK Open and World Matchplay this year, made it through to the quarter-finals in Dublin for a second successive year after seeing off Cullen in four sets at the Citywest Hotel.

The world number 12 took out 76, a 13-darter and 88 for an 11-darter as he took the opening set 3-1, before finishing 107 and 74 to claim set two in a deciding leg, despite a 116 checkout from Cullen.

Cullen swept through set three without reply and took the lead in set four to keep his hopes of getting to a second-ever major quarter-final alive, but his missed finishing doubles in leg two proved costly as Gurney took out a stunning 127 on the bull, 72 and tops for victory.

“It feels unbelievable,” said Gurney, who will face 2015 World Grand Prix champion Robert Thornton in the quarter-finals on Thursday.

“Joe’s got a great record against me and he came back well in the third set, but the 127 was a big shot.

“I’m in the quarter-finals again but the way I look at it its that it’s just the same as round one and I’ve got to try and get to three sets before the other person.”

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Robert Thornton survives five match darts against Dave Chisnall to progress to World Grand Prix quarter-finals

Robert Thornton became the first player to reach the quarter-finals of the Unibet World Grand Prix after surviving five match darts to beat Dave Chisnall 3-2 in the second round in Dublin.

The Scot’s bid to win a second World Grand Prix title in three years looked set to end when Chisnall came from a set down to lead 2-1 in the match and then take the lead in the deciding set.

Thornton had earlier produced a superb opening set, hitting successive 14-darters before sealing the set with a 98 finish, with Chisnall taking the second set 3-1 with the aid of a 100 checkout on two double tops to level.

Thornton then opened set three with a 123 checkout and also took out 90 on the bull to force a decider in leg four, only for world number seven Chisnall to claim the decider with a brilliant 130 finish to move 2-1 up in sets.

But the 2015 World Grand Prix champion replied by winning the fourth set 3-1 to send the last 16 clash all the way to a decider, only for Chisnall to then move 2-1 up in the final set.

Chisnall, a runner-up in the double-start tournament back in 2013, then crucially missed five match darts in leg four, which allowed the Scot to scramble home on double ten to keep his hopes alive.

Thornton punished four missed opening doubles from Chisnall in the sudden-death leg with tops to seal his place in a first TV ranking quarter-final since the 2015 Grand Slam of Darts.

“I’m over the moon,” Thornton said. “I thought I threw it away after a great first set but I dug deep and fought back.

“This format is brilliant and for the last couple of weeks I’ve been practising my doubles and they’re the important thing in this event.

“I’m not in as good form as I was two years ago when I won it but it seems to be getting better.

“My first game was scrappy and went to a deciding leg too but the bookies write me off all the time and I’ve proved I can hold my bottle up there.”

Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Dave Chisnall averages 101 and is 6/6 on finishing doubles in 2-0 win against Jelle Klaasen in World Grand Prix first round

Dave Chisnall produced the most impressive performance of the opening night of the Unibet World Grand Prix, averaging 101 and hitting six finishing doubles from as many attempts to beat Jelle Klaasen 2-0 in the first round.

The world number seven, a finalist in the double-start tournament in Dublin back in 2013, kicked off his latest bid for a maiden major with an eye-catching display on Sunday night.

Trailing 2-1 in the opening set, Chisnall fought back with finishes of 101 and 80, punishing Klaasen for failing to close out the deciding leg, before taking set two without reply with the aid of two 12-darters.

“I’m really happy, it’s great to play so well,” said Chisnall, who also hit six 180s in his first-round win.

“I missed a couple of doubles to start but my finishing was really good.

“I had to play well to beat Jelle and I did. I’m glad to win tonight and I can come back on Tuesday for the second round now, I love it here.”

Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

World number 32 John Henderson dumps out defending champion Michael van Gerwen in World Grand Prix first round

John Henderson pulled off the biggest win of his career to knock out defending champion Michael van Gerwen in the first round of the Unibet World Grand Prix.

World number one van Gerwen had won three of the last five titles at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin, but the Dutchman suffered a first-round exit in the double-start tournament for the first time since his debut in 2009 after losing in a dramatic last-leg decider with Henderson.

The Scot punished a slow start from the top seed to take a 2-0 lead in the opening set, and although van Gerwen won the next two legs to force a decider it was Henderson who capitalised on six missed opening doubles from his opponent to claim the set on double 10.

Van Gerwen bounced back after the break by winning the second set in straight legs, but he was unable to find a break of throw as the third set went to a sudden-death leg.

Henderson kicked off the decider with scores of 120 and 140 to edge clear, with van Gerwen replying with four 96s, but the Scot was first to a double and hit tops to secure a memorable win.

“It’s probably the best win of my career on television,” said the world number 32, whose most recent win on TV had been in the second round of the 2015 European Championship more than 700 days ago.

“I played really well in the Players Championships over the weekend so my form was good but against Michael you expect to be the underdog – he’s the main man at the minute.

“It’s not often Michael plays like that so you’ve got to jump on it when he does and I have tonight, so I’m glad to be through.

“I knew there was going to be a big comeback from Michael but luckily for me I got there in the end.

“It’s been my night and I’m going to enjoy it – I’ve got to try and come down from this and hopefully I can progress.”

Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC