The 2020 BoyleSports will commence tomorrow at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, West Midlands.
It will be the 23rd staging of the event and it will be the first time since 2001 that the tournament will be held away from its original home at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin. This is of course due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead the tournament will be taking place behind closed doors at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, a venue that is the current home of Coventry City FC in the football, Wasps RFC in the rugby union and also has hosted the Champion of Champions in snooker.
The World Grand Prix is one of the biggest prizes on the darts calendar and also one of two tournaments that has a setplay format (the other being the World Championship). It also has the unique double in-double out format where players must begin and end the leg on a double. It always guarantees us drama of the highest order and with the first round being the best of three sets (first to two) it always brings up the possibility of a few upsets!
World number one Michael van Gerwen is the defending champion after defeating Dave Chisnall by 5 sets to 2 in last year’s final. Van Gerwen has also won it for the last two years, but after an inconsistent year of form the world number one’s chances of a sixth World Grand Prix title is not guaranteed.
The first round took place on 28th September 2020 at 10:00 BST. Here are the first round ties.
Defending champion Michael van Gerwen will be bidding to add a sixth World Grand Prix title to his trophy cabinet. He suffered disappointment in the World Series finals after losing 6-4 to Glen Durrant in the second round and things will not get easier for the world number one as he takes on Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski, a former World Masters champion and has won five Players Championship events on the floor. The Pole will prove stern opposition for Van Gerwen but can the world number one avoid a first round upset?
South Africa’s Devon Petersen has had a memorable year on the PDC circuit. After some brilliant performances on the floor he finally reached his first PDC ranking final in the fourth event of the Autumn Series. He led Gerwyn Price 7-4 but then blew championship darts and eventually succumbed 8-7 to the Welshman. However he did not take long to breeze that disappointment from his mind as he secured his first PDC ranking title at the German Darts Championship in Hildesheim. He defeated Gerwyn Price 6-5 (from 5-1 down), Rob Cross 6-5, Krzysztof Ratajski 6-3, Danny Noppert 7-4 and finally Jonny Clayton 8-3 in the final to secure a memorable and emotional title. The South African is one of the outsider tips for the title but he will have a tough start though as he faces Portugal’s Jose De Sousa in his first round match. With both players showing deadly form on the floor, it should be one of the standout first round ties in quality.
Two time Grand Prix champion James Wade will be setting his sights on a third title this week. With his finishing being one of the best in the business and with it being a double in-double out format, this tournaments suits James Wade well. However he has only won one match at this event since 2014 so that needs to be rectified urgently. He will face Mervyn King in his first round match which is a rematch of their second round encounter at this tournament last year where King won by 3 sets to 1. Can Wade get his revenge on the 54 year old?
It is amazing to think that it has been a whole decade since Adrian Lewis reached the final of the World Grand Prix. The two time world champion has had an inconsistent year but did reach quarter final appearances at the Masters and the World Matchplay. Lewis will be facing Chris Dobey in his first round match who reached the semi finals of this tournament last year. That match will kick off this week’s action.
Former Shanghai Masters winner Michael Smith will take on reigning World Matchplay champion Dimitri Van den Bergh in one of the matches of the first round. Smith suffered a horrific day of finishing against Rob Cross in the quarter finals of the World Series, so he needs to tighten up on them for this year’s event. Van den Bergh secured a sensational triumph at the World Matchplay this year but a recent injury to his foot after a football injury has hampered him badly. Can the Belgian find some form this week?
Mensur Suljovic remembers this tournament all too well at he reached the semi finals on three occasions with his first being back in 2015. The Austrian will want to do likewise this year after a tough run of form but he faces a tricky first round tie against debutant Dirk van Duijvenbode, who was in impressive form at the start of the year.
It has been disappointing year for Rob Cross after suffering with his form and with problems off the oche. However, the former world champion did reach the final of the World Series Finals where after leading 8-4 lost 11-9 to Gerwyn Price. Despite the heartbreak his run will certainly boost his confidence for this year’s tournament. Cross will face the legend Gary Anderson in probably the tie of the first round. Anderson plays his first tournament since the World Matchplay after skipping the Autumn Series and the World Series Finals due to COVID fears. The Scot may feel very rusty but can he record his first World Grand Prix title this week?
Former BDO world finalist Danny Noppert has reached two semi finals on the Pro Tour this year but has failed to produce the goods on the TV stage. Noppert will face debutant Ryan Searle, who won his first PDC ranking title this year in Players Championship 3 back in February.
World champion Peter Wright will be looking to add another title to his collection this week as he aims to win this event for the first time in his career. Wright finished runner up in this event back in 2018, but it will not be an easy ride in his first round game as he faces Newcastle’s Ryan Joyce, a player that can hit the big averages and won his first PDC ranking title in Players Championship 10 during July.
Dave Chisnall (who turned 40 last month) has had a quiet year in 2020. His only high of the year was reaching the final in Players Championship 10 where he surrendered a 7-3 lead (and wasted championship darts) to lose 8-7 to Ryan Joyce). Chisnall will face a rematch of his semi final clash with Glen Durrant in round one. Chisnall won that match 4 sets to 1 on his run to the final, but can he reproduce last year’s heroics? As for Glen Durrant he has still been knocking on the door for a big major title but still has had no success. Could this week finally end his wait?
Daryl Gurney will be wanting to reclaim the title that he won back in 2017. The Northern Irishman defeated Adrian Lewis, Joe Cullen, Robert Thornton, John Henderson and Simon Whitlock during that incredible triumph three years ago. Incredibly, Gurney will face a repeat of the second round clash during that run against Cullen himself. However due to Gurney’s inconsistent form of late, the outcome may not be the same as it did three years ago.
Welshman Jonny Clayton comes into this tournament on the back of reaching a final on the Euro Tour. The 46 year old defeating Chris Dobey, Peter Wright, Dave Chisnall and Mervyn King to reach the German Darts Championship final before losing 8-3 to Devon Petersen. Clayton will want to continue this sort of form this week and he faces Ian White in his first round match. With White’s TV form continuing to toil, Clayton is certainly the favourite to win here.
World number three Gerwyn Price is certainly one of the big favourites for the title. The Welshman had been on an unbeaten run of 17 matches, winning back to back Players Championship events in the Autumn Series and then won his first World Series title in Salzburg, coming from 8-4 down to defeat Rob Cross 11-9 in the final. His winning run ended defeat losing 6-5 to Devon Petersen in Germany, but the Welshman will be tough to beat this week in Coventry. He will face fast throwing Jermaine Wattimena in his first round tie. The two last met at the Premier League where Price whitewashed Wattimena 7-0! Will it be another easy cruise for Price? Or will Wattimena spring a surprise?
Northern Ireland’s Brendan Dolan comes into a tournament that will rekindle his memories back in 2011. Dolan made an incredible run to the final nine years ago after defeating the likes of Wayne Jones, John Part, John Henderson and James Wade before losing to Phil Taylor in the final. Dolan also hit the first ever double in double out 9 darter against Wade in the semi finals, which is the reason why he is called ‘The History Maker’. Dolan has struggled to hit the heights since then but did win two Players Championship titles last year and reached the final of one this year. Dolan takes on 2012 Players Championship finals runner up Kim Huybrechts in Round 1, a tie that could go either way!
Inform Nathan Aspinall will be looking to continue his deadly form this week. The man from Stockport reached the quarter finals at this event last year on his debut which he eventually lost to Dave Chisnall. He is tipped to have a deep run this week and is also one of the favourites for the title. Aspinall however will face a tough first round draw as he takes on debutant and the inform German Gabriel Clemens. Clemens (who has reached a Players Championship final, a World Series final and knocked out Rob Cross in the first round of the World Matchplay) will provide stern opposition for Aspinall.
Tipton’s Jamie Hughes has had a quiet year so far in 2020. The reigning Czech Open winner has reached just two quarter finals on the Pro Tour this year and also made a quarter final appearance at the UK Open, where he wasted eight match darts to reach his first PDC major semi final before eventually losing 10-9 to Jonny Clayton. Hughes nearly produced an upset in this tournament last year, winning the first set against Michael van Gerwen before losing to the world number one by 2 sets to 1. Hughes’ doubling has been a weakness in his game so that will need to improve if he is going to make a strong run this week. Hughes will face former world champion Stephen Bunting. Bunting did reach the semi finals at this event in 2014 but despite a slump after that he has started to regain his form again. Can the Bullet make an impact this week?
The 2020 BoyleSports World Grand Prix takes place between 6th-12th October and will be televised by Sky Sports.
Tuesday 6th October: 8x first round matches
Wednesday 7th October: 8x first round matches
Thursday 8th October: 4x second round matches
Friday 9th October: 4x second round matches
Saturday 10th October: Quarter Finals
Sunday 11th October: Semi Finals
Monday 12th October: The Final
Round 1: Best of 3 sets
Round 2: Best of 5 sets
Quarter Finals: Best of 5 sets
Semi Finals: Best of 7 sets
Final: Best of 9 sets.
All sets are the best of five legs.
All games will be double start and double finish, meaning players must first hit a double before they can begin scoring in each leg.
There is no tie-break; should a game progress to a final set, the fifth leg of the set would be the deciding leg.