World Grand Prix Semi-Final Round-Up
World Grand Prix Semi-Final Round-Up
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN and Mervyn King will contest the final of the PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix on Sunday night following superb semi-final performances to defeat Wes Newton and Brendan Dolan at the Citywest Hotel.
Dutch youngster van Gerwen won through to his first major PDC final with a 5-1 defeat of Newton in their last four contest, with the 23-year-old taking four sets without reply as he progressed to compete for the £100,000 first prize.
He replied to a 150 finish from Newton in the game's opening leg by landing a 136 checkout in taking the opening set 3-2, although the Fleetwood ace replied to win the second in the same manner, hitting key finishes of 90 and 96.
Newton also posted a 152 checkout as he shared the third set's first four legs, but a 104 checkout from van Gerwen crucially swung the game his way as he took the set for a 2-1 lead.
He won six of the next eight legs to take command of the match as Newton was unable to match his heavy scoring, and the 23-year-old won the sixth set 3-1 to triumph and move into the final.
"It feels amazing to be in the final," said van Gerwen. "It's beautiful that I've done so well in a tournament like this, because it's very difficult with the double start.
"I'm very happy that I've played so well, and I think this was my best match in the tournament. My scoring was very good - I have a lot of confidence in my game and I did some damage at the right moments.
"I thought I should have been 2-0 up in sets but Wes finished well. I kept calm though and did a job.
"The crowd have been fantastic and I hope I can continue this because it's a big game tomorrow."
Van Gerwen has knocked out former World Grand Prix winner Colin Lloyd, World Champion Adrian Lewis and Andy Hamilton in his run to the final, and he admitted: "It feels great.
"Adrian Lewis, Wes Newton and Andy Hamilton are fantastic players and they're all in the top ten, and you need to throw well to beat them. I hope I can carry on and do some more damage.
"I'm very happy about this and I hope I can give the crowd and the fans on TV a good game tomorrow."
King, meanwhile, ended Northern Ireland's Brendan Dolan's hopes of reaching the World Grand Prix final for a second successive year with a 5-2 victory in their clash.
Dolan, cheered on by a capacity crowd at Dublin's Citywest Hotel, took the game's opening two legs but saw King take command - and silence his opponent's supporters - by winning six of the next seven legs to assume a two-set advantage.
Dolan hit a 170 finish to kick-start his challenge as he took the third without reply, but King came from a leg down to take the fourth 3-1 and then edged the fifth in a deciding leg to move 4-1 up in the game.
The sixth set also went to a deciding leg, with King missing four match darts as Dolan took his second set of the contest, but the Norfolk thrower edged ahead in the next before finishing 108 and 132 in successive legs to complete the win.
"I'm delighted to have come through a very tough match," said King.
"I missed out on the final a few years ago when I lost out to Raymond van Barneveld in the semi-finals - on that night I was playing just one player but today it was about 2,000 because of the great support Brendan gets.
"They were obviously going to support Brendan but I managed to do a good job there.
"My starting doubles began to desert me in the last couple of sets a little but but overall double 16 has been very strong for me. I work very hard at the game and never give up."
King joined van Gerwen in joining the PDC in 2007, and admitted that he is happy to see his fellow former World Masters winner in the final of a PDC major for the first time.
"I'm really pleased for Michael," added King. "He's a nice fella and a great player, and it's going to be a really hard game.
"Obviously when we go on stage tomorrow I'll want him to lose and for me to win, but that's darts.
"I've got to try and get away [with my first three darts], score big and hit 180s like I can do. If I can do that, then I stand every chance and I'm looking forward to it."
King has dropped out of the world's top 16 over the past two years, with the death of his father followed by the onset of chronic tennis elbow in his throwing arm, but the 46-year-old is delighted to be back to his best.
"It seemed at one time that it was just one thing after another, and I had to consider whether I would maybe have to jack it in because if it had carried on like it was I was going to slip out of the rankings," he revealed.
"But when I got rid of the injury problems and got my head around my father's passing, it was all guns blazing and I've put a lot of hard work in on the practice board.
"I've had a couple of little tweaks to my darts, maybe my throw is a little bit different after the injury problems I've had and the darts didn't feel quite right so I changed them a little bit.
"I've gone up a gram in weight and use shorter points, and they seem to be working okay so I'm quite happy.
"With reaching the final, it's put me definitely back into the top 16 and into the Grand Slam, so the hard work has really paid off."
Dolan had hit the historic first double-start nine-darter in his run to the World Grand Prix final last year, and this run followed his progression to the semi-finals of the European Championship last month.
"If I'd won the first set, it might have settled me down a little bit better but I ended up chasing the game throughout the match," he admitted.
"I pushed him in the first set and probably switched off a little in the second and Mervyn bullied me from there on with his scoring. He man-managed the game very well and deserved to win.
"I thought Mervyn played very well and there's no shame in losing that game because it was a pretty good match. I felt good about myself and certain things that I did during the game and I'm glad to have got to the semi-final.
"I think coming back here and getting to the semi-finals proves that I wasn't a one-hit wonder last year and that I'm a half-decent dart player who can handle himself - and to make two major semi-finals in a row backs that up too.
"I'm pleased with the way my game's going and I'm moving up the rankings, which is all I want to do. I want to keep improving, and if I keep improving every year then someday I'll make it to number one."
Newton's run to the last four had seen him come from behind to defeat both Ronnie Baxter and Paul Nicholson, but he had no complaints after losing out to van Gerwen.
"On reflection, the game was probably a lot closer than the scoreline suggests, but Michael was the better player and deserved to win," said Newton. "He played really well and I take my hat off to him.
"I started off well and I've felt good all week. I've rode my luck in games and dug in and got the results, but my game hasn't clicked fully and this was probably my best performance of the week.
"I kept believing, but Michael's a quick player and once he got the momentum he was hard to peg back. I kept trying to get back into the game, but he was hitting everything and played really well."
Newton had reached the final of the European Championship last month, and moves back above Simon Whitlock into fifth place in the PDC Order of Merit by taking £20,000 prize money.
"It's another good run for me in a major and I can take a lot of positives from it," said Newton. "It's all experience for me and I'm sure I'll go on and win one of these eventually."
Sunday's final, held over the best of 11 sets, will commence at 7pm and be preceded by the final of the Tom Kirby Memorial Irish Matchplay event, which will see Northern Irish paid Daryl Gurney and Campbell Jackson play off for a place in the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship.
Michael van Gerwen 5-1 Wes Newton
Mervyn King 5-2 Brendan Dolan
Sunday October 14
World Grand Prix Final (7pm)
Mervyn King v Michael van Gerwen
Best of 11 sets, best of five legs per set.
All legs must begin and end with a double.
Michael van Gerwen v Wes Newton
0-0 - Michael van Gerwen wins the bull and throws first.
0-1 - Newton hits a 180 to leave 150, and when van Gerwen misses two darts at tops the Fleetwood ace powers home the 150 checkout on double 15.
1-1 - Newton misses double ten to take out 140, and van Gerwen returns to post double eight to settle any nerves.
2-1 - Van Gerwen finishes 136 to win the third and edge ahead.
2-2 - Newton pins double six to send the set into a decider.
3-2 - van Gerwen takes the set on double 16 to finish 48.
1-0 - Newton misses darts at double top and ten, and van Gerwen lands double eight to break throw.
1-1 - Newton fires in a 180
1-2 - Newton finishes 90 on the bull to move ahead.
2-2 - Newton powers in a 180 but van Gerwen lands double four to stay in the set.
2-3 - Newton takes out 86 on double eight to win the set and level.
1-0 - van Gerwen hits a 174 to leave 16 before posting double four to win the third set's opener.
1-1 - van Gerwen posts a 177 score and Newton lands a maximum, with the Dutch ace missing two darts at double 16 to allow his opponent to level on the same bed.
2-1 - Double 12 sees van Gerwen move back ahead in the set.
2-2 - van Gerwen hits his first 180 of the game, but Newton wins the leg with a sensational 152 checkout.
3-2 - van Gerwen takes out 104 on double 16 to win the set and regain the advantage.
0-1 - van Gerwen posts a 177 to be first to a finish, but misses three darts at double top and ten, and Newton steals the leg on double top.
1-1 - van Gerwen takes out double ten to level.
1-2 - Double 16 puts Newton back ahead.
2-2 - van Gerwen finishes 36 to level the set.
3-2 - The Dutch ace breaks to win the decider, with Newton missing double 16 to take out 143 and allow him in on double eight.
1-0 - Double ten gives van Gerwen the fifth set's opener.
2-0 - The 23-year-old posts double 16 to break and move two legs up.
3-0 - van Gerwen opens with a 160, before Newton replies with a 180, but the drama comes at the end of the leg as van Gerwen misses two darts for the set, only for Newton to miss the bull to finish 126 and allow him back on double two.
1-0 - Tops puts van Gerwen ahead in the sixth set as he moves two legs away from the win.
2-0 - van Gerwen lands double 12 to put himself a leg away reaching his first major PDC final.
2-1 - Newton holds throw despite a 180 from van Gerwen, finishing 52 to stay in the contest.
3-1 - van Gerwen wins through to the final by taking out double top for a 72 finish.
Mervyn King v Brendan Dolan
0-0 - Mervyn King wins the bull and throws first
0-1 - King misses three starting doubles as Dolan gets away immediately, only for the home favourite to miss the bull to take out 170. King, though, misses double 16 and eight and Dolan finishes 25 to break throw.
0-2 - The players trade 180s in back-to-back throws, but King misses double ten for a 128 checkout and Dolan finishes 62 in two darts.
1-2 - King hits a 180 and tops to get off the mark.
2-2 - Both players miss the bull before King returns to post double four to level the set.
3-2 - King wins a third successive leg to claim the set, finishing 52 on double eight to silence the home crowd.
0-1 - Dolan finishes 82 on tops to win the second set's opener.
1-1 - Double 12 sees King level the set.
2-1 - Dolan misses double 13, hitting single six before being off-target on double ten, allowing King in to break.
3-1 - King wins the set by posting double 16.
0-1 - King hits a 174 and Dolan lands a 180, with the Northern Irishman finishing double 16 to break and win the third set's opener.
0-2 - Dolan lands double eight to move two legs up.
0-3 - A brilliant 170 checkout from Dolan raises the roof at the Citywest Hotel as he wins the third set without reply.
0-1 - Dolan wins the fourth set's opener to take a fourth successive leg.
1-1 - Dolan is unable to punish three misses from King as he is off-target on double 16, and King returns to hit double two.
2-1 - King lands double 18 for a 13-darter to break and move ahead in the set.
3-1 - King lands a 180, his third of the game, and finishes double 16 to win the set and go 3-1 up.
1-0 - King finishes 89 in two darts to lead in set five.
1-1 - Dolan hits back to level the set.
1-2 - The players trade 180s, and when King misses two darts at double 16, Dolan steps in to finish 84 on the bull to break throw.
2-2 - Double top for King sees him level the set.
3-2 - King moves 4-1 up in the game, taking out 49 to win the set.
0-1 - Dolan hits a 180 and finishes tops to lead.
1-1 - Double eight sees King level.
1-2 - King lands a 180 but misses double seven, and Dolan posts double eight to move 2-1 up.
2-2 - King finishes 90 on double eight to level.
2-3 - King misses four match darts at double top and ten, and Dolan lands double two to keep the match alive.
1-0 - Double five sees King take the seventh set's opener.
2-0 - Dolan misses double 16, and King finishes 108 with a 'Shanghai' on the 18 bed to move a leg away from the final.
3-0 - Dolan lands his fifth 180 of the game, but King seals a brilliant win with a 132 bullseye finish