Grand Slam of Darts | Day five round-up

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Nine-dart joy: Dimitri van den Bergh fired in the perfect leg in his 10-6 victory over Stephen Bunting. Photo : Taylor Lanning

Dimitri van den Bergh fired in his first nine-dart leg on a PDC stage as the Belgian saw off Stephen Bunting in an excellent battle on Wednesday evening in Wolverhampton. It was a very close battle in which Bunting gathered the momentum early on as ‘The Bullet’ could’ve gone into the break with a 4-1 lead, but the Belgian closed the gap to 3-2. Following the interval, Van den Bergh won three out of the next five leg as he moved into a healthy 6-4 lead as he pounced on some missed opportunities from Bunting. But, the former Lakeside World champion refused to give in as he stuck with Van den Bergh. But, the Belgian remained focused as he was always a break of throw in front of Bunting, and the World Youth champion fired in a phenomenal nine-dart leg to move 9-6 ahead. Bizarrely, it’s four years to the day since Kim Huybrechts hit a nine-dart leg to knock out Michael van Gerwen at the Grand Slam.

In the second match of the evening, Gerwyn Price booked his place in the Quarter-Finals of the Grand Slam as he Welshman enjoyed an assured 105 victory over Gravesend’s Josh Payne. In the early phase, Price came firing out of the blocks in terms of scoring, but Payne produced two fantastic checkouts of 140 and 124 in consecutive legs as the 24-year old took a 3-2 lead into the first interval. The break appeared to come at the wrong time for Payne as he struggled to match Price as the Welshman moved into a 4-3 lead within a matter of minutes. But, both players held their own throw without any real danger as the spoils were shared at the second interval with the scoreline level once more at 5-5. Much like the first interval, it came at the wrong time for Payne as he missed several opportunities to go 6-5 and 7-5 in front, those squandered opportunities were soon converted by ‘The Iceman’ who went on to win the third session 5-0 as he cemented his place in the last eight.

Mensur Suljovic became the next player to book his place in the last eight as the Austrian completed a 10-7 victory over reigning World Champion Rob Cross. Suljovic was always in the driving seat as he moved 5-1 up early on, and Cross faced an uphill task in which Suljovic reeled off a series of fantastic legs. Cross squandered 19 darts at a double in the match which is a key statistic as the Austrian mopped up when he was called in to do so.

In the final game of the evening, Simon Whitlock continued his impressive run of form as the Aussie ran out a comfortable 10-6 winner. There was no separating the pair early doors as there were five consecutive holds of throw as Whitlock pulled out a steaddy 108 checkout to edge 3-2 clear at the break. Just after the interval, Whitlock finally broke Wright’s resistance as he found the break of throw that he was searching for, that lead was extended to 5-2 as he won a scrappy leg it must be said in 20 darts. Whitlock carried the three leg advantage deep into the the match as he moved 7-4 clear with a strong 14-dart leg. As the match was disappearing from Wrights grasp, the Aussie broke the Wright throw once more as he extended his lead to 8-4. Wright stopped the rot as he reeled off two legs in succession to close the gap to 8-6, but Whitlock produced two great legs himself to see the match out in just 29 darts (15,14).


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