Brendan Dolan v Vincent van der Voort
Brendan Dolan picked up where he left off in last year’s World Grand Prix by beating Gary Anderson in straight sets last night with a better than 50% record on his doubles. A percentage only bettered by Phil Taylor.
Vincent van der Voort, on the other hand, muddled his way through to the last 16 by beating Irish youngster William O’Connor in a deciding leg. The partisan crowd clearly got to the Dutchman and he was let off the hook after losing the first set with the throw.
If he thought that the crowd were vociferous in support of O’Connor then it is certain to be ratcheted up another notch for this match. Sporting a shirt emblazoned ‘History Maker’ Dolan has developed a penchant of this tournament and can book his place in the quarter-finals in fairly comfortable fashion. Pile into the 1.80 being offered about a Dolan victory.
Justin Pipe v Kevin Painter
Kevin Painter was the most convincing of winners on the opening night of the World Grand Prix, whitewashing Kim Huybrechts to win all six legs and record a 2-0 victory. Surprisingly, it wasn’t his proficiency on the doubles that helped him dominate the match, but his ability to hit 140s at just the right time in almost every leg.
Justin Pipe, conversely, was forced to scrap his way through, winning a final-leg decider against European Champion Simon Whitlock. Often criticised for his slow play this format appears to suit Pipe’s game. Starting on a double naturally slows the pace of any game down and Pipe’s speed wasn’t so obviously deliberate in the first round.
That said, the value bet has to be in siding with Painter at odds of 2.30. The Artist’s experience on the big stage was evident in seeing off the fancied Huybrechts in round one, and he can do a similar job on another one of the game’s rising forces here.
Phil Taylor v Robert Thornton
A dip in form? What dip in form? Phil Taylor did as Phil Taylor so often does in bouncing back to form when beating youngster Michael Smith in the first round on Monday night. The Power posted a 100.73 three-dart average (remember players must start on a double) and hit 75% of his finishing doubles.
Robert Thornton was in typically gritty mood when presented with a tricky opening round match against Mark Walsh. The Scot coming back from a set and 1-0 down to take the match with the second highest average of the night (94.60) to set up a repeat of the UK Open final.
One thing that you do not want to do in darts is upset Phil Taylor, and if you beat him you best be on your guard next time out because you can be sure there isn’t another sportsman more intent on gaining revenge than The Power. Thornton is in good nick, but back-to-back wins over Taylor are the stuff of fiction. This is reality.
Mervyn King v Dave Chisnall
How Dave Chisnall managed to get through to the second round here is a thing of mystery. Whether he would ever have recovered had he not beaten Dean Winstanley is questionable.
Having missed 13 match darts and lost to Alan Tabern in this event last year, Chizzy looked to be heading the same way as he missed nine darts to defeat Winstanley. But when Winstanley also missed two match darts Chisnall was give a reprieve and, after some dramatic wandering around the oche, he pinned double four for the match. We predicted that both players would go through flaky patches on the doubles, and so it proved.
There was no such mental weakness shown from Mervyn King as he came back from a set and 2-0 down to win the match in a deciding leg. King’s was the much more convincing of opening round performances and by my reckoning he should be the strong favourite here. As it is he can be backed at odds of 2.35, and it is therefore a maximum bet.
Dolan to win @ 1.80
Painter to win @ 2.30
King to win @ 2.35