The World Grand Prix has been boiled down to its final double.

In this article’s featured photo, you’ll see Michael van Gerwen holding the World Grand Prix trophy. The 2018 title was his fourth; he’s after number five. Mighty Mike faces an almighty challenge in the form of Dave Chisnall. It’s time for one of the best players never to win a major to lose that tag once and for all.

Michael van Gerwen

Michael van Gerwen is rocking a tournament average of 91.36. Only three others have averaged more than that in even one game. It’s the sort of form which normally ends in him holding something big and shiny. And by that, I don’t mean his own head.

To say he started slowly at this year’s World Grand Prix would be an understatement. Jamie Hughes almost sent him packing in round one. But after fighting back, the defending champion kicked on. Jeffrey de Zwaan and Mervyn King are tailor-made banana skins, having been two of the players to recently beat him at majors. De Zwaan was obliterated and King, despite troubling Van Gerwen at times, was beaten 3-1.

A 4-0 win over Chris Dobey looks like a romp on paper. It should be remembered that Dobey led in two sets and only the final set was straightforward. This hasn’t been a gift for van Gerwen; he’s taken his chances well.

The Dutch icon will want to finish what he started and make it a fantastic five World Grand Prix titles.

Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Dave Chisnall

In 2013, Dave Chisnall beat Michael van Gerwen en route to the World Grand Prix final. And he won…two legs. Phil Taylor won in a bloodbath.

A heck of a lot has changed since then. 2019’s Chizzy is a different beast, and many feel that a major triumph is a certainty. Many players have come close to winning a major, only to have it absent from their record. St Helens has enough of that right now. Could Chisnall finally set foot in the winner’s circle at the World Grand Prix?

He’s faced a variety of challenges so far. Chisnall was streets ahead of Gerwyn Price but still had to show bottle in a tense last-leg decider. Stephen Bunting was swatted aside, and Nathan Aspinall averaged higher but gave Chizzy an opening with some missed doubles. Ruthlessness was the watchword there, as it was in the semi-final. Glen Durrant gave his all but Chisnall put in a champion’s performance.

Where van Gerwen has had an obvious advantage over other World Grand Prix opponents in terms of scoring, Chisnall levels the playing field with prolific maximum-hitting. With the trebles likely to be traded, the doubles will most certainly be for dough. Chisnall had a 57 per cent success rate doubling out against Durrant, which is a promising portent.

Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Head to Head

It’s worth mentioning at this point that there are two big finals taking place in Dublin on Saturday evening. The Tom Kirby Matchplay, typically a breeding ground for top Irish talent, sees Keane Barry play Liam Gallagher. 17-year-old Barry is a revelation in the JDC and Development Tours, while 23-year-old Gallagher could be on the cusp of a massive career breakthrough. The winner will play at the World Championship in December.

Perhaps one of the pair could play van Gerwen or Chisnall – we’re getting ahead of ourselves though; there’s a World Grand Prix champion to be decided.

The big issue for Chizzy is that his record against van Gerwen is just awful. The Dutchman’s unbeaten in 26 meetings and Chisnall’s last televised win in this fixture was six years ago, which was incidentally at the World Grand Prix.

It’s obvious why the world number one is the favourite. But given how Chisnall is playing, it’s just not possible to call it for MvG yet. It could all come down to a vital double, in or out. Whoever stays cool will take the lot. For different reasons, the World Grand Prix would mean the world for either.

Click here for the tournament centre – consider it a last-minute reminder on all things World Grand Prix.

Saturday October 12 (2000 BST start)

Michael van Gerwen v Dave Chisnall

Author: Ed McCosh