Grand Slam of Darts 2020: Simon Whitlock meets Jose De Sousa and James Wade takes on Dimitri Van den Bergh for a place in the finalNovember 23, 2020
Having been touted as a tournament that could only be won by one of the sport’s big three, the Grand Slam of Darts has produced an unlikely semi-final line-up with all of the four remaining players having high hopes of emerging victorious.
Three major winners and one dangerous debutant will slug it out on Monday evening for the right to meet in Tuesday’s final and, if Sunday’s quarter-finals are anything to go by, darts fans are in for a treat.
121 legs out of a possible 124 were played on Sunday with Jose De Sousa, James Wade, Dimitri Van den Bergh and Simon Whitlock coming through four thrilling quarter-finals to seal their places in the last four.
None of the world’s top six, let alone the top three, have made it through to the semi-finals. There will be a new name on the Eric Bristow Trophy and a yet another different TV champion in 2020.
Sky Sports Darts runs the rule over the four remaining contenders, their hopes and the semi-finals that lie in wait on Monday night from 7pm on Sky Sports Arena
- LISTEN: The Darts show podcast semi-final preview
- Grand Slam of Darts 2020: Results, draw and schedule
Monday’s Semi-Finals – Order of Play
Live Grand Slam of Darts
November 23, 2020, 7:00pm
Before this week The Wizard had never been beyond the last eight at the Grand Slam in nine previous visits. Mind you, before the last couple of months he had no idea how to beat Michael van Gerwen having lost his last 15 matches against the world No 1 and won just one of the previous 27.
On Sunday night Whitlock beat Van Gerwen for the third time in recent months and with it ended the Green Machine’s major hopes for a third major since lockdown – he will now hope to improve on what followed on the previous two occasions.
The Aussie beat MvG at the Matchplay in July, but lost to Gary Anderson in the last eight. He also beat the Dutchman in the second round at the Grand Prix last month but was defeated by Dirk van Duijvenbode in the semi-finals.
Whitlock has one major title under his belt, having won the 2012 European Championship, and he has played more darts than anyone else in this relentless four-week stretch but with a 100 per cent record so far this week he has shown no signs of slowing down.
Jose De Sousa
‘The Special One’ has lived up to his name to progress to his first major televised semi-final on his Grand Slam debut, and he has done so in typical De Sousa style – power-scoring, clinical combination finishing and plenty of bewildering miscounts!
He was pitted alongside world No 4 Michael Smith, former World Master Krzysztof Ratajski and four-time women’s world champion Lisa Ashton in Group C – touted as this year’s ‘Group of Death’ – where he progressed as runner-up after recovering from defeat against Smith to topple Ratajski and Ashton.
The Portuguese star defied a spirited fightback from Dave Chisnall to reach the last eight, before gaining revenge for his group stage defeat against Smith in a pulsating quarter-final, which saw ‘Bully Boy’ depart despite firing in 14 maximums.
De Sousa is no stranger to the elongated format following his soft-tip exploits and although he’s the only semi-finalist without a major title to his name, his European Darts Grand Prix success in October will offer plenty of encouragement for one of the game’s emerging forces.
James Wade has a 100 per cent record in Grand Slam semi-finals but he’s bidding to go one step better this year and lift this coveted crown for the first time in his career – which would see him scoop a landmark 10th major televised title.
‘The Machine’ is making his 14th consecutive appearance in the cross-code event, although his record is somewhat puzzling – only once has he failed to navigate his way through to the knockout stages, yet he has only progressed beyond the last 16 on four occasions.
Wade is a compelling character but his nonchalant demeanour appears to be serving him well in Coventry. He advanced through Group F with maximum points and posted averages of 98 and 101 in recording impressive wins over Ian White and Damon Heta.
Throughout the last decade, Wade has forged a reputation for cleaning up at wide-open tournaments, when Phil Taylor and Van Gerwen had fallen by the wayside, and he may feel he is poised to add another title to his illustrious haul.
Dimitri Van den Bergh
The man nicknamed ‘The Dream Maker’ could not have wished for a better week at the Ricoh Arena, as he targets a second major TV title in the space of five months. He has performed with the poise of a champion, illustrated by the fact he has been installed as the new tournament favourite.
Van den Bergh has been dubbed a ‘future world champion’ since emerging on to the scene and he demonstrated his burgeoning potential earlier this year, although his performances at this year’s Grand Slam have usurped his Matchplay heroics.
The diminutive Belgian stormed through to the quarter-finals having conceded just six legs, boasting a tournament average of 105 whilst also twice missing double 12 for a nine-darter.
He was forced to display all his battling qualities in overcoming world No 6 Nathan Aspinall in a last-leg thriller to reach the semi-finals, but if he can reproduce his form from earlier in the week, Van den Bergh will take some stopping.
2020 PDC televised champions
Whitlock vs De Sousa
Having produced a stellar display to dump out Van Gerwen in the Grand Prix quarter-finals, ‘The Wizard’ succumbed to surprise package Dirk van Duijvenbode in the last four, so ‘The Wizard’ will be desperate to avoid a similar fate against De Sousa.
The enigmatic Portuguese star is provisionally up to 24th in the world following his best televised showing, but victory over Whitlock would move him into the world’s top 20, whilst the Australian eyes a place in his first major final since the 2018 European Championship.
Wade vs Van den Bergh
This fascinating showdown will pit the most decorated of this year’s semi-finalists against the tournament’s form man, but crucially Van den Bergh now possesses the pedigree.
The Belgian has only lost one of his four meetings against the nine-time major winner, and their last competitive meeting saw them share the spoils when the former World Youth champion featured as a contender in the 2019 Premier League.
Don’t miss a dart from the Grand Slam of Darts on Sky Sports as the action continues on Monday – join us from 7pm on Sky Sports Arena and follow us @SkySportsDarts for updates and clips throughout the tournament.
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