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Article: Clayton Hopes Slam Win is a Huge "Step up"

Clayton Hopes Slam Win is a Huge "Step up"

Jonny Clayton hopes that winning his Bwin Grand Slam group unbeaten will be a huge “step up” for his career. The Welsh wonder delivered his third successive win to beat Gary Robson and secure a last 16 clash with Krzysztof Ratajski on Thursday night. Clayton did well to produce another fine win despite the euphoria of beating Michael van Gerwen on Sunday. He said: “It’s a brilliant feeling to top the group. When you see the group and see MVG, he’s phenomenal, you know it’s going to be so hard. To top that group is a big step up for my career hopefully. “It was important for me to play well and win after beating Michael the other night. It was a totally different atmosphere and totally different mindset. “When you play against Mike, the crowd is incredible and I’m the underdog. But this time I was hoping to win that game. “I just spent my day off chilling out. I just kept practising, went out for food, walked around town. It was important to forget about beating Michael, big time. “I had to do that because it doesn’t happen very often and it’s a big plus in any dart player’s career to beat the best. You just try and forget and move onto the next. “Now it’s the knockout stages and I’m looking forward to everything.”
Wesley Harms came through a nail-biting 5-4 win over Keegan Brown to book his place in the last 16 against Gary Anderson. The laid-back BDO Dutchman is relaxed about facing the Flying Scotsman on Thursday night. He said: “So far I’m happy. It’s now going to be very tough against Gary. The last time I played him I lost 5-0 I think. Hopefully we do better this time. “My last match against Keegan Brown was already a knockout match. It’s in the moment, if it goes, it goes.” Wesley Hamrs, Grand Slam of Darts, Red Dragon Darts
Gary Anderson admits that feeling “fresh” is the key to him achieving a sensational darting quadruple. It was a piece of cake for The Flying Scotsman as he beat ‘Muffin Man’ Steve Hine 5-1 in the Bwin Grand Slam last group game. Anderson is unbeaten going into his first knockout last 16 game tomorrow as he aims to add the Slam to his UK Open, Matchplay and Champions League wins already this year. He said: “I’m looking forward to the longer format. The Matchplay was a prime example, the early rounds are like practice and I get into it. “I’m in a good place. I’m playing in 50 per cent of the tournaments and life is good. Someone said to me the other day do I not want to be up at World No.2 again. “That really doesn’t bother me. I’m just happy the way it is. It keeps me fresh for the majors and that’s been working this year. I don’t know, maybe the UK Open, Matchplay and Champions League were just lucky. “I’m happy being fourth in the world and I don’t need to chase anything and play in everything. Considering I’ve only played half the events and I’m World No 4, that’s not bad at all is it? “When I have two or three weeks off, I actually don’t even look at a dartboard now. “There’s days when I play really well, and sometimes I turn up like Saturday night and I was all over the place. “Tonight I was OK, not great, but I’m warming up as the matches go by and that’s exactly what happened in the Matchplay. “I’ll now do exactly the same preparation for Thursday night. I’ll try and sort some fishing out with Ian White and Michael Smith, it’s a great way to relax.”
Michael van Gerwen kept alive his hopes of a fourth consecutive Slam title with a win over Joe Murnan. World No.1 Van Gerwen saw his 21-match winning run in the tournament ended by Jonny Clayton in a Grand Slam classic on Sunday evening, but he recovered in style to make it through with a 5-1 win to eliminate Murnan. He said: “It wasn't an outstanding performance but I won the game and that's all that counts, whereas the other day I played a phenomenal game and lost. “It would be nice to win this tournament again but there is a long way to go yet and it's going to be tough to beat the top players who are still left in.” Van Gerwen will face Group B winner Michael Smith in a mouth-watering last 16 clash after the Premier League finalist whitewashed Raymond van Barneveld 5-0, as the former champion went out at the group stage for just the third time.
By Phil Lanning (@lannomedia)

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