Premier League winner Glen Durrant suffers a surprise defeat while World Matchplay champion Dimitri Van den Bergh gets underway with a record-breaking performance
Last Updated: 17/11/20 8:01am
Gary Anderson was vexed despite his victory after his first match at the Grand Slam of Darts, as James Wade also won his group-stage opener.
Anderson and Wade have claimed a host of PDC major titles between them but neither has won the Grand Slam before.
The opening day of action featured eight matches in a packed afternoon session, headlined by Anderson, Wade, Glen Durrant and Dimitri Van den Bergh.
Duzza was the man to falter, suffering a 5-0 defeat to Jermaine Wattimena, but Anderson, Van den Bergh and Wade all kicked off with victories, albeit in very different fashion.
Monday Afternoon’s results
|Group B||Gary Anderson 5-3 Adam Gawlas|
|Simon Whitlock 5-3 Ryan Searle|
|Group D||Rob Cross 5-1 Justin Pipe|
|Dave Chisnall 5-4 Luke Humphries|
|Group F||James Wade 5-2 Damon Heta|
|Glen Durrant 1-5 Jermaine Wattimena|
|Group H||Nathan Aspinall 5-0 Wayne Warren|
|Dimitri Van den Bergh 5-1 Ricky Evans|
Anderson launches tirade after victory
In Group B, Gary Anderson punished Adam Gawlas’ missed darts at double to begin his own quest for one of the few major titles to elude him, but after his match launched a bizarre tirade on goings-on behind the scenes.
The Flying Scotsman is nursing a knee injury and has played little since losing at the World Grand Prix and he was far from his best against the talented Czech, who missed seven darts at double to allow Anderson to claim a 5-3 victory.
But it was after the match that he attracted headlines, telling reporter Michael Bridge: “It’s nice to play darts, you get players snarking in your ear, every time you throw and it always seems to come from the same team, then it gets on your nerves a bit.
“Would I pull out? Yeah, because darts isn’t darts anymore. You need to have a word with everyone that watches darts. They call it gamesmanship, I call it cheating.
“Ask a lot of players and they don’t say anything. I’ll say something. If they are all sniffing, they better get their test again – that’s the way I look at it.”
In the other game in the group, Simon Whitlock has been playing some of the best darts of his life of late, and after a first day off in more than a week he produced an impressive display to beat Ryan Searle 5-3.
The Wizard has played competitive arrows for nine successive days having reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup with Australia, then qualifying for the Grand Slam after two hours sleep the following day.
He also played all five days at the Winter Series before an overdue day off on Sunday, but he was back on the board with a typically impressive display of finishing as he starts his bid to improve on his status as a three-time quarter-finalist.
Wade dazzles as Duzza falters
James Wade is twice a runner-up in this event and makes no secret of the fact that he loves the longer format, but in the quickfire group stage he made no mistake in overcoming the awkward Damon Heta in Group F.
The Aussie has made a blistering start to life on the PDC Tour but had no answer to Wade’s 102 average that helped him to a 5-2 victory over the Aussie.
Wade will next face Jermaine Wattimena after he shocked an out of sorts Glen Durrant who is continuing to return action after a positive coronavirus test a couple of weeks ago.
Premier League champion Durrant tweeted about lacking form and confidence and it showed as Wattimena, who took the final place on offer after a consistent showing at the Winter Series, proved too strong with a 5-1 victory.
It means Duzza will face Heta with both knowing a win might be crucial to keeping their hopes alive.
Cross, Chisnall and Aspinall win but Dimitri steals the show
Rob Cross and Dave Chisnall took the early initiative in Group D with opening-day victories.
A 94 average from Cross was enough for him to put a dismal Winter Series behind him and start in impressive fashion with a 5-1 win over Justin Pipe. Bar a run to the final at the European Championship, Voltage has been well below his best this year, but he was too strong for The Force.
In the other game in the group 2014 runner-up Chisnall came from 3-2 down to defy a 97 average and beat Luke Humphries 5-4 in a game that featured 28 missed darts at double, including two for the match in the final leg from Humphries.
Completing the afternoon’s action was Group H, where Nathan Aspinall and Dimitri Van den Bergh were victorious.
Former UK Open champion and Premier League runner-up Aspinall has won just one of his previous six matches in two trips to the Grand Slam and he matched that with a 5-0 demotion of the reigning BDO world champion Wayne Warren.
But it was World Matchplay champion Van den Bergh who stole the show with the performance of the first round to blow away ‘Rapid’ Ricky Evans with the highest recorded average in the tournament’s history.
The Belgian needed just 78 darts to see off Evans, and that included him going eight darts of the way to a perfect nine-dart leg before wrapping up a 5-1 win with a 114.85 average, bettering the mark set by Phil Taylor.
Don’t miss a dart from the Grand Slam of Darts on Sky Sports as the action continues on Tuesday with another double session on Tuesday – join us from 1pm on Sky Sports Arena and follow us @SkySportsDarts for updates and clips throughout the tournament