Grand Slam of Darts 2020 schedule: Saturday session, featuring Van Gerwen versus Anderson
Six of the eight seeds will be battling for quarter-final spots at the Grand Slam of Darts.
One of them has already made it, with James Wade assured of a Sunday return. He's joined by the continually impressive DImitri van den Bergh, the now four-time quarter-finalist Simon Whitlock, and debutant Jose de Sousa. There are some mammoth clashes ahead of us on Saturday.
They don't come much bigger than a repeat of the 2019 World Matchplay final (well, they do - more on that later). Rob Cross triumphed on that momentous day in Blackpool, but the story of each player's 2020 is one of hugely divergent trajectories. Smith is the big favourite here. His scoring standards were excellent throughout the group stage, and even a dip in quality on the doubles was swiftly righted. The Bully Boy will feel the clear favourite against his World Cup partner.
Devon Petersen and Damon Heta have written different chapters of the same story. Petersen excelled and topped a tough group, while Heta crept through by a razor-thin margin, but both are first-timers who have made it to the knockouts. With it being unchartered territory, it can't be fully clear whether each will rise to the challenge. Anyone who has watched either closely this year, however, will be confident in their ability to set up a quarter-final meeting with James Wade.
The last time Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson met at the Grand Slam of Darts, it was a brilliant performance by the Scot which denied Van Gerwen a shot at a 20th title of the season. The world number one would reach that milestone at the World Championship not long later. Their 2020 showdown comes with Van Gerwen battling to reassert himself as the PDC's top dog, while Anderson might be more worried about his injured leg than anything. His prickly demeanour this week is the sign of someone who isn't happy being on the oche - a win against an old rival might be just the ticket.
Gerwyn Price and Nathan Aspinall know they can't just win. Not when Dimitri van den Bergh awaits, in the form of his life. Sure, getting to the quarter-finals is the most important thing, but going into that sort of game off the back of a jittery showing would prove difficult. Being given a second chance at a second defence, due to Ryan Joyce missing the bull by mere millimetres, could be the jumpstart Price needs. The Asp knows that Price will be on a finish after four visits at most, in most - if not every - leg. Quality is assured, but consistency is a fine art that both need to master here.
2020 Grand Slam of Darts Schedule
Saturday November 21 (19:00 GMT)
19:10 Michael Smith v Rob Cross
20:00 Devon Petersen v Damon Heta
21:00 Michael van Gerwen v Gary Anderson
22:00 Gerwyn Price v Nathan Aspinall