World Grand Prix 1st round: Taylor begins campaign to reclaim title
Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | October 5, 2015
The World Grand Prix reaches its second day, and Coral darts writers preview the second half of the first round draw, which features some top names.
Stars such as 11-time winner of this event Phil Taylor, current world and Premier League champion Gary Anderson and James Wade, who has two titles here, all take to the Dublin oche on Monday evening.
Due to its unusual ‘double in, double out’ format, this tournament has the potential for some early stage shocks, so read on to pick up some top tips from the eight fixtures that are worth a punt…
— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) September 28, 2015
Phil Taylor v Vincent van der Voort
We start of with the greatest player the sport has ever seen. Surely The Power (5/2 competition second-favourite) can see off a Dutchman he has beaten 21 times in their 24 encounters?
Taylor’s 11 World Grand Prix titles and heavy 1/6 odds-on match price certainly suggest he can, while he is also looking to reclaim the trophy that he has never been without for more than a year since he won the first in 1998.
However, you have to remember that The Power is now at the age of 55 and his doubles percentage isn’t as high as it used to be. There is also a worrying stat that could linger in his mind that he’s lost three times in the first round here, so the quick-fire Dutch Destroyer is a tempting 4/1 shout to cause an upset.
Mervyn King v Terry Jenkins
Dublin darts fans will be treated to another tasty battle on day two, this time between two veterans and past World Grand Prix finalists.
The King and Bull lock horns for a 12th career duel, with the duo being tied on five wins apiece – the other being a draw. However, it is the slightly older Jenkins who has won the last five, so is the 8/11 favourite.
King did win their only previous Grand Prix meeting at this same stage 2-1 in 2012, so can be backed at 11/10, but the Bull is a more enticing 12/5 price to gain revenge and reverse the scoreline.
Gary Anderson v John Henderson
In this all-Scottish battle, it’s very difficult to see past second seed Anderson, who is the odds-on 1/5 match favourite and 13/2 tournament chance.
But the Flying Scotsman has not had the best of summers, and The Highlander has reached the quarters here before in 2011, so Big Bad John is 7/2 to get only his second win over his compatriot.
James Wade v Mensur Suljovic
Having burst onto the scene claiming numerous major titles from 2007, Wade’s only premier event success since 2011 has been The Masters last year.
However, The Machine (14/1 title shout) looks up and running again following a decent 2015 to date, and is odds-on at 3/10 to belie his 3-4 losing head-to-head record against Austria’s Suljovic (5/2).
Andrew Gilding v Simon Whitlock
Whitlock (8/11 favourite) has never really shone in this event, with a quarter-final appearance in 2013 being his furthest progression, so Gilding, who has arguably had his best year in the PDC to date, is a tempting 11/10 match chance.
Goldfinger, who has won two of their three meetings, is a longer 11/4 to defeat The Wizard 2-1.
Justin Pipe v Steve Beaton
Both The Force and Bronzed Adonis have reached as far as the semis here before, although the latter hasn’t since 2004. Slow-styled Pipe, therefore, is the 8/13 favourite to beat Beaton (13/10).
Ian White v Jamie Caven
West meets east in this Midlands match-up, but neither Stoke-based White nor Leicester-born Caven have really impressed at the World Grand Prix before.
‘Diamond’ White is the odds-on favourite at 8/15 as he is the only one of the two to have won a match here (once in 2012), but Jabba edges their head-to-head record 4-3 so is a tasty 6/4 shout.
Robert Thornton v Daryl Gurney
The Thorn’s major event form has worn down in recent years, but the veteran Scot faces young Northern Irishman Gurney, who he has beaten in both meetings.
Thornton (2/5 favourite) should be able to see off Dude (15/8) once more, and is better priced at 13/10 to do so 2-0.
Coral’s top tip: Simon ‘The Wizard’ Whitlock finds it hard to work his magic at the World Grand Prix, so back Andrew ‘Goldfinger’ Gilding, who boats a 2-1 head-to-head record over the Australian, to win 2-1 @ 11/4