Five Players Progress to L16
Gerwyn Price is among the five players to secure a place in the knockout stages at the Mr Vegas Grand Slam of Darts on Sunday, as Beau Greaves and Fallon Sherrock created history in Wolverhampton.
Greaves and Sherrock delighted a packed WV Active Aldersley venue, on a landmark day which saw two female stars prevail in the same PDC premier televised event for the first time.
Greaves, who fired in five 180s during her deciding-leg defeat to Nathan Aspinall on Saturday, delivered another brutal display of scoring to sweep aside emerging German talent Ricardo Pietreczko in Group H.
The Women’s World Matchplay champion raced into an early 3-0 lead, before a pumped-up Pietreczko opened his account with a 118 combination in leg four.
However, the teenage sensation restored her three-leg buffer with a clinical 90 kill on the bullseye, before wrapping up a memorable victory with a brilliant 12-darter.
Greaves will now play Australian number one Damon Heta on Tuesday in a straight shoot-out for qualification to the knockout phase of the Grand Slam.
“What a feeling; I can’t really explain it - I’m so happy,” said the 19-year-old, who is the third woman to taste victory in the Grand Slam since the tournament's inception in 2007.
“I’ve just been so relaxed and I’ve really enjoyed it, and that is when I play my best darts.
“I’m really looking forward to the game on Tuesday now. I’ve won a game at the Grand Slam, and nobody can take this away from me!”
Sherrock, a Grand Slam quarter-finalist in 2021, returned to winning ways in Wolverhampton with a deciding-leg success against Martijn Kleermaker in her second Group G encounter.
The 29-year-old was beaten by an impressive Van Gerwen on Saturday’s opening night, although she kept her qualification hopes alive with a battling victory against Kleermaker on Day Two.
“I was shaking near the end, but I got across the line,” reflected Sherrock, who will play 2018 World Champion Rob Cross for a place in the last 16 on Tuesday.
“I think when you put me in these pressure situations that is when my best darts come out, so hopefully I can produce something special in my next game.
“Michael [van Gerwen] produced his A-game against me and I felt like I dealt with that pretty well, and I expect Rob will do the same, but hopefully I can grind out a win!”
Three-time Grand Slam champions Price and Van Gerwen were among the stars to confirm their place in round two on Sunday, with World Matchplay champion Nathan Aspinall also sealing his progress to the last 16.
Price continued his Grand Slam love-affair with a sensational whitewash win against Ryan Searle, demolishing the Somerset star in less than eight minutes to clinch top spot in Group D.
“I felt good up there. I knew I was through with a win, which gave me that extra edge,” revealed Price, who averaged 110.51 and recorded winning legs of 16, 11, 12, 14 and 15 darts.
“I was in the zone. I was putting Ryan under a lot of pressure which was a good feeling, but I didn’t realise how well I was playing.
“I think that sends out a statement. The format gets longer in the knockout stage, but that’s when I get better and better.”
Van Gerwen sealed his qualification from Group G in dramatic style, rallying from 3-1 down to win a last-leg shoot-out against Cross, who landed 136 and 108 finishes before missing three match darts in the decider.
Aspinall was the first player to claim a place in the knockout stage, converting 151 and 122 finishes to seal a 5-2 success against Heta in Group H, which ended Pietreczko’s qualification hopes.
Former World Youth Champion Josh Rock then confirmed his place in the last 16 with an emphatic 5-1 win against Jonny Clayton, having already claimed the scalp of Chris Dobey in his Group B opener.
Meanwhile, American debutant Stowe Buntz guaranteed his progress from Group E with a clinical 5-3 success against Stephen Bunting, who missed double 12 for a nine-darter midway through the match.
Reigning champion Michael Smith picked up a second Group A victory to put one foot into the second round, edging out Krzysztof Ratajski to extend his winning run in the Grand Slam group stage to 18 matches.
Ratajski averaged 101 and conjured up the first 170 checkout of the tournament, only for Smith to convert a nerveless 106 outshot in the final leg to retain top spot in Group A.
The world number one will now take on James Wade in a crunch showdown on Monday, after the three-time finalist won five straight legs to defeat Nathan Girvan 5-2 and keep his qualification hopes alive.
Dobey and Clayton will now lock horns in a decisive clash on Monday, after the reigning Masters champion denied Berry van Peer in a gruelling nine-leg affair, despite the Dutchman landing a brace of ton-plus finishes.
World Grand Prix champion Luke Humphries is in pole position in Group C, averaging almost 101 to wrap up an emphatic 5-1 win against two-time finalist Gary Anderson in Sunday evening’s finale.
Humphries’ final round-robin fixture pits him against Dirk van Duijvenbode, who battled through the pain barrier to see off Steve Lennon with the aid of 139 and 136 finishes.
Elsewhere, Nathan Rafferty will play Ryan Searle for a place in the second round, after averaging 103 to complete a 5-2 success against Gian van Veen, who is now unable to progress to the knockout stage regardless of his result in Monday's tie against Price.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, world number two Peter Wright will face Bunting in a straight Group E shoot-out, after winning through a topsy-turvy tie against Dave Chisnall to eliminate the 2014 runner-up.
Danny Noppert currently tops Group F with two wins from two, defying a late fightback from UK Open champion Andrew Gilding to close out a hard-fought 5-3 victory.
The Dutchman will collide with Brendan Dolan on Tuesday, after the Northern Irishman reignited his campaign with a 5-2 win against PDC Asian Championship winner Haruki Muramatsu.
Groups A-D draw to a close on Monday evening, before players from Groups E-H continue their battle for qualification on Tuesday.
The top two players from each group will progress to the knockout stage, with the last 16 action set to begin on Wednesday November 15.
2023 Mr Vegas Grand Slam of Darts
Sunday November 12
Group Stage x8 – Groups B-D-F-H Second Matches
Nathan Rafferty 5-2 Gian van Veen (D)
Brendan Dolan 5-2 Haruki Muramatsu (F)
Chris Dobey 5-4 Berry van Peer (B)
Danny Noppert 5-3 Andrew Gilding (F)
Gerwyn Price 5-0 Ryan Searle (D)
Beau Greaves 5-1 Ricardo Pietreczko (H)
Nathan Aspinall 5-2 Damon Heta (H)
Josh Rock 5-1 Jonny Clayton (B)
Group Stage x8 – Groups A-C-E-G Second Matches
Dirk van Duijvenbode 5-2 Steve Lennon (C)
James Wade 5-2 Nathan Girvan (A)
Peter Wright 5-4 Dave Chisnall (E)
Fallon Sherrock 5-4 Martijn Kleermaker (G)
Stowe Buntz 5-3 Stephen Bunting (E)
Michael van Gerwen 5-4 Rob Cross (G)
Michael Smith 5-4 Krzysztof Ratajski (A)
Luke Humphries 5-1 Gary Anderson (C)