World Grand Prix – Semi-Finals
Sunday 11 October
Live on Sky Sports Arena
Value lies with outsider
Simon Whitlock [1.54] v Dirk van Duijvenbode [2.82]
Start time 19:15
There will be a new winner of the World Grand Prix this year and this semi-final features two players that no one would have considered contenders to lift the trophy.
Whitlock was not even meant to be in the tournament, before being drafted in as a late replacement for Adrian Lewis, who withdrew after testing positive for Covid-19. ‘The Wizard’ was brought in, as one of the highest ranking players who had not qualified for the tournament.
In the quarter-finals, Whitlock produced a brilliant display to beat the reigning champion Michael van Gerwen 3-0. It’s the second time in recent months that Whitlock has knocked MVG out of a major, having also done so in the World Matchplay in July. While Van Gerwen was in poor form over the summer, he played much better on Saturday, but was let down by poor finishing. Whitlock took full advantage, recording an average of 100.29 and producing a checkout percentage of 52.94%.
Though Whitlock was not expected to be here, he has past form in the tournament, having been a beaten finalist as recently as 2017. Van Duijvenbode has no such pedigree. Ranked as the world number 73 by the PDC, Van Duijvenbode has upped his standards in each round, beating Mensur Suljovic, Dimitri van den Bergh and Gary Anderson. Like Whitlock, his finishing was excellent in the quarter-finals, with Van Duijvenbode’s checkout percentage at 50%.
Whitlock has hit the greatest heights in this tournament, but Van Duijvenbode has stepped it up all week, as the quality of his opposition has increased. The Dutchman holds a 2-1 advantage in past encounters and at these prices, the value could lie with the underdog, with Van Duijvenbode’s price of [2.82] likely to provide a trading opportunity at the very least.
Chisnall beat Price in World Grand Prix last year
Dave Chisnall [3.2] v Gerwyn Price [1.45]
Start time 20:45
While neither Chisnall or Price have won this tournament before, this semi-final is much less of a surprise. Chisnall has twice reached the final, most recently last year. Price is in great form, with the world number three having won two of the recent Autumn Series competitions and the recent World Series of Darts.
For the second game in a row, Chisnall had to come back from two sets down, as he beat Joe Cullen in the quarter-finals. His scoring was decent, but Chisnall let himself down with his finishing, converting only 13 of his 46 double opportunities.
This was something of a surprise from somone that went into this tournament with the best checkout percentage of any player over the last year. Price had the second best finishing record over that period and maintained his standards with a 40% checkout percentage in his 3-1 win over Jeffrey de Zwaan in the quarter-finals.
It’s fair to say that Price has had an easier route to the semi-final that Chisnall. ‘The Iceman’ has only dropped one set so far and should be fresher, but Chisnall cannot be discounted. He has the greater pedigree in this tournament, with it’s unique ‘double-in, double-out’ format and beat Price en-route to the final last year.
This is another game where though the identity of the favourite is justified, the prices are too far apart. With the semi-finals being played over the best of seven sets, Chisnall’s odds of [3.2] to win look likely to get much shorter at some stage.