World Grand Prix 2020 preview and schedule: Friday October 9, featuring Price vs Huybrechts
There's a nice mix of World Grand Prix quarter-finalists so far - two world champions, one debutant and one player who didn't even qualify.
Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson won quite comfortably against Devon Petersen and Danny Noppert respectively. The likes of Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton are out to join the duo, Dirk van Duijvenbode and Simon Whitlock in the last eight. First up, though, is one of the standout performers of the World Grand Prix to date.
Dark horses everywhere
Ryan Joyce's quality is a secret to absolutely nobody on the Pro Tour. He has shown snapshots of that talent, but perhaps most notably so in fully removing Peter Wright from the picture in Coventry. A 69 per cent success rate doubling in is impressive enough; hitting three quarters of his checkout attempts is even better. The mild-mannered Geordie is threatening to set the World Grand Prix on fire.
Dave Chisnall is the one person you'd back right now to douse that fire. He's the only player to have appeared in all of the last six World Grand Prix editions without ever losing in the first round - Chizzy likes this tournament. His 102.85 in the first round was the last ton-plus average in the event since...well, Dave Chisnall, circa 2017. His firepower is probably a step above Joyce's, but Relentless will not give up and will keep hitting those doubles. This feels like the tie of the night.
Gabriel Clemens is bound to have a great run at a major at some point. It didn't quite happen at the World Matchplay, but the German Giant kept his cool to see off Nathan Aspinall, and has the quarter-finals in his sights. He takes on Jeffrey de Zwaan, who was good in fits and starts against Jamie Hughes. Clemens has to be better at checking out than in his game against Aspinall; it's very rare for the Asp to gift that many opportunities to win, and de Zwaan won't be generous.
Welsh hopes are high
Wales' numbers one and two could well meet in the semi-finals, but there's a long way to go before then. Gerwyn Price very rarely shows his best stuff early in a major, and it was certainly the case in a stuttering win against Jermaine Wattimena. Had Wattimena gone for 20s when left with 90 to steal set two, and not taken the high-risk effort at the bull, it might've been a totally different story. And yes, I'm still annoyed about it. Anyway, Kim Huybrechts survived a real scrap against Brendan Dolan, and fought back well from a one-set deficit. The Hurricane should prove to be another tough test for Price as he bids to finally have a strong World Grand Prix run.
Joe Cullen's 2-1 win over Daryl Gurney in the first round was nothing short of a white-knuckle ride - and yet the stats show that the Rockstar's standards stayed fairly resolute both when he cruised early on, and when Gurney pushed him all the way. For a player who can perhaps suffer the effect of nerves in big games (case in point; his first-round game in 2019), winning was a huge step for Cullen. His next challenge is Jonny Clayton, someone who has been quietly building up some solid form at just the right time. The Ferret was just slightly better than Ian White throughout their first round meeting, particularly when it came to the two or three-treble visits. It was Clayton's first ever World Grand Prix win, and he'll want to take another step up in order to book a quarter-final slot.
World Grand Prix 2020 schedule
19:10 Ryan Joyce v Dave Chisnall
20:10 Gabriel Clemens v Jeffrey de Zwaan
21:10 Gerwyn Price v Kim Huybrechts
22:10 Joe Cullen v Jonny Clayton