Grand Prix blown wide open after night of surprises
Michael van Gerwen, Peter Wright, and Gary Anderson are among those to have been knocked out of the World Grand Prix at the first attempt after a thrilling evening in Leicester on Monday.
Van Gerwen, a five-time Grand Prix winner, was eliminated by fellow Dutchman Danny Noppert in a prickly contest.
Despite MVG missing the bullseye for what would have been only the fourth ever nine-darter in the format’s history, Noppert’s scoring was more consistent and he prevailed 2-0.
There was no handshake afterwards and Noppert revealed he confronted Van Gerwen at the break over accusations he was stamping on the oche.
Matchplay winner Wright, who declared pre-tournament he was going to win the “double in” Grand Prix, was picked off by former World Champion Rob Cross 2-0, while Anderson was beaten 2-1 by Ian White.
Birthday boy and Premier League champion Jonny Clayton (7/1) eased past youngster Callan Rydz while Lithuanian debutant Darius Labanauskas and speedster Vincent van der Voort are also through to round two.
That means Gerwyn Price (Grand Prix outright – 7/4) is the clear favourite to defend his title while De Sousa is the man to beat in the bottom half of the draw.
The second round begins on Tuesday evening with four close-looking contests taking place at Leicester’s Morningside Arena.
Ryan Searle and Luke Humphries, (Match betting – Searle EVS, Humphries 4/5) two in-form dark horses, kick off proceedings with matches now extended to best of five sets.
UK Open winner and two-time Grand Prix winner James Wade is up next with World Championship semi-finalist Stephen Bunting (Wade 8/15, Bunting 6/4) his opponent after he averaged just under a ton against Daryl Gurney in round one.
Price then takes to the oche against experienced arrow-smith Mervyn King (Price 1/5, King 18/5), who is gunning for a first-ever TV title.
Dave Chisnall, runner-up in the 2019 Grand Prix and therefore defending £50,000 of ranking money, is last up against the improving Ross Smith (Chisnall 4/7, Smith 7/5).
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Source: Darts – Betfred