World Grand Prix - Night One Round Up
Phil Taylor made a brilliant start to his bid for an 11th PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix title with a straight sets win over youngster Michael Smith on Monday night - but Gary Anderson and Simon Whitlock crashed out in Dublin.
Taylor, the reigning champion in the double-start event, dropped only two legs as he swept past the 22-year-old debutant - who hit two 180s in the game's opening leg but was unable to stop the world number one's charge. Taylor hit a 165 score of his own to set up double eight for a 14-darter to win the game's opener, and after Smith levelled the Stoke great finished 84 and then took out 94 on the bull to win the first set.
An 82 finish from Taylor gave him the lead in set two, and he then fired in a stunning 167 checkout to move 2-0 up. Smith finished 113 to keep the game alive, but Taylor followed up a 180 with a 106 finish to seal the victory, ending with an impressive 100.73 average in the double-start format. The win came only a fortnight after Taylor had been knocked out in the quarter-finals of the European Championship by Brendan Dolan, but he insists he is in the right shape to take the £100,000 first prize.
"I felt I was ready for this and I've got a massive chance of winning this title again now," said Taylor, who now plays Robert Thornton in round two on Wednesday night. "I've had a bad couple of months and wasn't quite ready for the European Championship but I'm trying to get back on top. I'm getting there and my mind's right. I've got Robert in the next game and will have to improve again."
Smith is managed by world number four Anderson and has won two senior titles already, and Taylor admitted to being impressed by the St Helens youngster. "For him to come up on stage and throw two 180s in the first leg shows his class and he's one to watch in the next couple of years," said Taylor. "He's very determined to win and he has got a good future ahead of him."
Anderson had earlier been knocked out of the tournament himself as last year's runner-up Brendan Dolan produced another superb display in front of the Dublin crowd with a straight sets win over the Scot. Dolan, who had hit a nine-darter in his run to the final 12 months ago, celebrated the anniversary of that achievement by edging both sets 3-2 to move into the last 16. "It's a huge relief for me to win this game," admitted Dolan. "There was a bit of extra pressure on me because I reached the final last year. I'm in the second round now and that's the next obstacle. I've got to take one game at a time, like I did last year, but with the crowd behind me and the confidence I've got in my game at the moment there's nothing to say I can't go on to win this."
World number five Simon Whitlock, who won the European Championship a fortnight ago, was defeated 2-1 by Justin Pipe in their clash, with the Taunton thrower recovering from losing the second set to take the decider 3-0 to progress. "I lost my concentration after that first set and it nearly cost me, but I got myself together again for the third set," said Pipe. "I won't make that mistake again and I'll look forward the second round. Last year, I was looking forward to my debut in the event so much but then I had a long weekend and won my first Players Championship on the Sunday and was mentally drained by the time I went on stage. This time I was more prepared and it worked out well for me. I'd beaten Simon in Championship League Darts last week and I think that may have been playing on his mind a bit. Winning my group in Championship League has ben a big boost for me. Last year was a big year of learning in the TV events and this year I really want to push on and do well."
Pipe will now play Kevin Painter in the second round, after the Players Championship Finals winner whitewashed Belgian debutant Kim Huybrechts 2-0, producing some superb scoring as he won six legs without reply.
"I'd never beaten Kim before and maybe he went up there thinking he was going to have an easy ride, but he missed a few doubles," said Painter.
"My scoring was good and if, at the start of the day, you offered me a 2-0 win against someone like Kim then I'd have bitten your hand off. He's one of the form players, alongside the likes of Dave Chisnall, in recent months and I've not been doing a lot. Justin knows that I can play good darts and he won't be taking me lightly. The bookies have written me off tonight and they can keep doing that - I love it.I'm happy with that and it's nice to be in the second round."
Dave Chisnall erased the memory of his first round loss last year, when he missed 13 darts to defeat Alan Tabern, by seeing off debutant Dean Winstanley in the deciding leg of a three-set contest.
"I didn't make it easy for myself and when I started missing doubles my mind went back to last year but he let me in and I took my chance at the end," said Chisnall.
"I've been playing well recently even though I've not been at my best in TV tournaments, but I'm trying to put that right by doing well in this competition. I can relax now I'm through the first round, the format's longer in the second round so I'll look forward to a good game."
Chisnall now plays Mervyn King, who edged out Terry Jenkins in a thrilling contest which saw the number eight seed miss three darts for a straight sets win and two further darts to take the decider before King finished double 16 to edge through.
"I thought I had Terry dead and buried in the first set but he came back and won it, then in the second set he raced away - but I was telling myself that I could still win the game," said King.
"I always believe when I get on a roll that I can come back like that - it was one of those topsy-turvey games and I was so happy that the winning double went in. I've had two years of everything going against me, with my father dying and then getting acute tennis elbow, to the stage where I couldn't even really a throw a dart, and then I've had six months of playing well but not getting the results to show for it. I'm out of the top 16 and fighting with a few other players to get back in there, so it feels sweet to get this result and I'm looking ahead now - I don't want this to end in the second round on Wednesday."
Ireland's William O'Connor came close to causing another upset in his clash with Vincent van der Voort, who came from a set down to take a 2-1 victory, but not before the Limerick youngster missed double 18 to snatch the win in the deciding leg.
"It was a really hard battle for both of us," admitted the Dutchman. "William was good and he was enjoying it in front of his crowd. I played some horrible darts at times but I won."
The night's other game saw UK Open champion Thornton follow up his win in Sunday's Players Championship with a 2-1 win over Mark Walsh, as he came from a set down to win six straight legs in setting up his clash with Taylor.
Two-time World Grand Prix champion James Wade enters the fray on Tuesday night when he plays Colin Osborne in their first round contest, while World Champion Adrian Lewis faces Richie Burnett.
2004 champion Colin Lloyd plays Saturday's Players Championship winner Michael van Gerwen, two-time World Grand Prix finalist Raymond van Barneveld meets Stoke's in-form Ian White and Northern Ireland's Michael Mansell faces Paul Nicholson.
World number six Wes Newton takes on Ronnie Baxter, Andy Hamilton meets Mark Webster and Steve Beaton plays three-time quarter-finalist Andy Smith.
Tickets for the PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix are still available in person from the Citywest Hotel Box Office.
PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix
Monday October 8
Mark Walsh 1-2 Robert Thornton
Dean Winstanley 1-2 Dave Chisnall
Simon Whitlock 1-2 Justin Pipe
Terry Jenkins 1-2 Mervyn King
Gary Anderson 0-2 Brendan Dolan
Phil Taylor 2-0 Michael Smith
Kevin Painter 2-0 Kim Huybrechts
Vincent van der Voort 2-1 William O'Connor
Tuesday October 9 (7pm-12am)
Steve Beaton v Andy Smith
Andy Hamilton v Mark Webster
Michael van Gerwen v Colin Lloyd
Wes Newton v Ronnie Baxter
James Wade v Colin Osborne
Adrian Lewis v Richie Burnett
Raymond van Barneveld v Ian White
Michael Mansell v Paul Nicholson
Table Tickets €20
Mark Walsh v Robert Thornton
0-0 - Robert Thornton wins the bull and will throw first
1-0 - Thornton gets away but Walsh finishes 118 to break in the opening leg.
2-0 - Walsh misses three darts at double top, but is allowed back in when Thornton fails to leave himself a double when on 76, with Walsh hitting double one and double 19 to win the second leg.
2-1 - Thornton hits back with a superb 11-dart finish, opening with a 120 score, adding a 180 and a 140 before finishing 61 on double 18.
3-1 - Walsh wins the set with a 13-dart finish, initially missing tops but returning to take the leg with his next dart.
1-0 - Thornton misses the bull to finish 81 and Walsh takes out tops.
1-1 - Thornton finishes tops for a 67 finish to level the set.
1-2 - Thornton adds his second 180 and finishes double 18 for another 11-darter as he moves ahead.
1-3 - Thornton misses double eight for a 127 finish and three further darts at double four to allow Walsh - who initially missed six starting doubles - in needing 103, but he misses tops for the finish and the Scot takes the set on double one.
0-1 - Thornton moves ahead for the first time by finishing double ten, as Walsh again struggles to hit his opening double.
0-2 - Thornton opens with a 160 score and wins his fifth successive leg by finishing double top.
0-3 - The Scot completes a brilliant fightback by sealing victory on tops with an impressive average of 94.60.
Dean Winstanley v Dave Chisnall
0-0 - Dave Chisnall wins the bull and will throw first.
0-1 - Winstanley is unable to finish 121, and Chisnall lands double top at the first time of asking to settle any early nerves.
0-2 - Chisnall repeats the trick to land tops and double his advantage.
0-3 - Winstanley misses double seven for an 86 finish, and Chisnall takes the set with a 90 finish, landing treble 20 and double 15.
1-0 - Winstanley posts tops to get himself onto the scoreboard.
1-1 - Chisnall hits double ten to reply.
2-1 - Winstanley hits the game's first 180, and after missing three darts at double four is allowed to return following a missed bull from Chisnall, with the Yorkshireman finishing double two.
2-2 - Chisnall opens with 160 and 140 and returns to level and move a leg away from the game.
3-2 - Chisnall misses tops for a 120 finish for the match, and returns from three misses at the same bed from Winstanley - only to miss double ten and two darts at double five as the debutant hits double ten to level the game.
0-1 - Winstanley this time misses tops for a 120 checkout, and Chisnall finishes double eight.
1-1 - Chisnall posts a 180 but it comes too late as Winstanley finishes 62 in two darts to level.
1-2 - Chisnall misses five darts to open before hitting double 18 - and then lands two 180s before finishing 48 on tops.
2-2 - Winstanley hits a 180, and after missing two darts at double top and one dart at double ten he lands double five to take the game into a deciding leg.
2-3 - Chisnall lands his opening double with his first dart, and Winstanley hits tops at the second time of asking - and the drama intensifies as Chisnall posts a 140 and his opponent hits a 180. Chisnall misses four darts at double 18 and one at double nine - only for Winstanley to miss two darts on the wires of double top and allow him back to finish double four for the win.
Simon Whitlock v Justin Pipe
0-0 - Justin Pipe wins the bull and will throw first
1-0 - Whitlock lands a 180 in the opening leg, and is handed a reprieve for three misses at double top when Pipe sees four darts for the lead go begging.
1-1 - Pipe levels with a superb 11-dart leg, hitting a 180 and a 92 finish.
1-2 - Pipe takes the lead with a 12-dart leg, landing another maximum and this time finishing 112.
2-2 - Double ten from Whitlock sees him level the set.
2-3 - Whitlock fires in a 180 to pressure Pipe, who misses double six and three to take out 72 only for the Australian to miss a dart at tops for the set, and the Taunton man finishes double one for the set.
0-1 - Whitlock misses four darts to start and Pipe hits a 180 - but two misses from the world number 11 allow the Australian in on 84, only for him to miss the bull to allow Pipe in to hit double one with his third dart.
1-1 - Whitlock levels the set by finishing 100 on double ten.
2-1 - Whitlock posts tops to win the third leg.
3-1 - The new European Champion hits a 180 and leaves 40 after 12 darts before winning the leg with his fourth dart at the bed to take the set and level.
0-1 - Pipe recovers from his shaky second set by taking the opener in the third.
0-2 - Whitlock scores a fine 168 to leave 140, but misses double ten to finish the combination and three further darts at the bed to allow Pipe back in to take out double eight.
0-3 - Whitlock misses five darts to start as Pipe takes command - but when he misses tops for the match Whitlock steps up needing 146. The Australian hits two treble 20s, but cannot finish the double 13 and Pipe returns to finish double ten to knock out the number five seed.
Terry Jenkins v Mervyn King
0-0 - Terry Jenkins wins the bull and will throw first
0-1 - King takes the opener to break throw immediately.
1-1 - Jenkins struggles to open but hits a 180 and finishes 126 on the bull to level.
2-1 - Jenkins lands another 180, and finishes 40 by hitting double five and double 15.
3-1 - Jenkins initially misses six darts to open the leg before hitting a 160, and he battles back to win the set on double four.
1-0 - Jenkins makes a brilliant start to the second set, hitting 160, 140, 177 and double 12 to win the opener.
2-0 - King misses four darts to level - one at tops, two at double ten and one at double five - as Jenkins steps in to double his advantage and move a leg away from the win.
2-1 - King hits a 180, and when Jenkins misses two match darts he lands double 16 to win the leg.
2-2 - Jenkins misses another match dart, this time at double ten for a 137 checkout, and King posts double 16 again to stay alive.
2-3 - King wins a third straight leg by finishing double eight.
0-1 - Jenkins misses double ten and King steps in to take the final set's opener.
0-2 - Double four from King sees him move a leg away from victory.
1-2 - Jenkins opens with a 160 and makes the initial running, but King fires in a 177 to leave 92. Jenkins misses two darts at double 16, but King misses a dart at the bull and allows him in to post double eight.
2-2 - King is first to a finish but misses double top and ten, and Jenkins hits tops to save the match and force a deciding leg.
2-3 - Jenkins scores the better in a tense decider, but misses two darts at double eight and King lands double 16 to take a remarkable victory.
Gary Anderson v Brendan Dolan
0-0 - Gary Anderson wins the bull and will throw first.
0-1 - Dolan breaks throw immediately by finishing double 16 for a 14-darter.
1-1 - Anderson fires in a 177, and posts double four to level.
2-1 - Anderson hits a 180 and finishes tops to edge ahead.
2-2 - Dolan misses the bull for a 122 finish, but Anderson misses double top and ten for the set to allow him to level on double eight.
2-3 - Dolan finishes tops to win the opening set, much to the delight of the Dublin crowd.
0-1 - Anderson hits a 180 but misses four darts at double 19 to allow Dolan in to take out 48 for the leg.
1-1 - Anderson fires in another maximum and takes out 106 to level the set.
1-2 - Dolan finishes 81 on the bull to move a leg away from the match.
2-2 - Anderson finishes 63 in two darts to level again.
2-3 - Dolan, last year's finalist, completes a brilliant win over the number four seed.
Phil Taylor v Michael Smith
0-0 - Phil Taylor wins the bull and throws first.
1-0 - Smith hits two 180s but is unable to finish 103 and Taylor follows up a 165 by landing double eight for a 14-darter.
1-1 - Smith opens with a 160 and levels by hitting double ten with his fourth dart to win the leg.
2-1 - Taylor finishes 84 on double six to win the third leg.
3-1 - Taylor wins the set in style by converting a 94 checkout on the bull
1-0 - Taylor finishes 82 with a bullseye, double 16 combination to break throw in the second set's opener.
2-0 - Taylor moves a leg away from victory with a brilliant 167 checkout - lifting his average to 103 in the process.
2-1 - Smith takes out 113 on double 18 to keep the game alive.
3-1 - Taylor hits his first 180 and seals victory with a 106 finish, ending with a 100.73 average to begin the defence of his title superbly.
Kevin Painter v Kim Huybrechts
0-0 - Kim Huybrechts wins the bull and will throw first
1-0 - Painter breaks throw immediately to lead.
2-0 - Painter wins the second leg to double his lead, despite missing his first six darts at the opening double.
3-0 - Painter misses two darts for the set, but Huybrechts is off-target with a pair of darts at double four to allow him back to seal the set on the same bed.
1-0 - Huybrechts misses four darts to take the leg and Painter finishes double four to edge in front.
2-0 - Painter breaks throw to move a leg away from a whitewash.
3-0 - Painter finishes double six with his third dart to complete a brilliant victory.
Vincent van der Voort v William O'Connor
0-0 - Vincent van der Voort wins the bull and will throw first
0-1 - O'Connor delights his home crowd by hitting a 180 and taking the first leg with a 95 finish.
1-1 - Both players miss doubles, with O'Connor off-target with four darts for the leg to allow van der Voort back in on double three.
1-2 - O'Connor posts tops to move himself back ahead.
1-3 - The Irish ace thrills the Dublin crowd by landing another maximum and finishing 80 to win the set.
1-0 - van der Voort is unable to take out 139, but when O'Connor misses the bull the Dutchman returns to hit tops.
1-1 - O'Connor produces a party-piece 96 finish of single 20, double 18 and double top to level the set.
2-1 - van der Voort converts a 76 finish to edge back ahead.
3-1 - van der Voort initially misses four darts for the set but has enough cushion to return and take the set.
1-0 - van der Voort takes out 62 on double 16.
2-0 - The Dutchman moves a leg away from the win by hitting double ten.
2-1 - Both players miss the bull and van der Voort sees a further two match darts at double eight go begging to allow O'Connor back in on double four.
2-2 - O'Connor takes the game into a deciding leg with a sensational 140 checkout.
3-2 - The drama increases as van der Voort reaches a double first, only to miss two darts at double 16 and allow O'Connor a shot at 110 - but the Cappamore ace misses double 18 for the match and the Dutchman seals the win on double eight.