Luke Humphries to win and most 180s v James Wade & Rob Cross to win (-1.5) v Stephen Bunting
Luke Humphries to win the tournament ⬇️
The Grand Slam of Darts concludes on Sunday as the semi-finals and final will be played out at the Aldersley Leisure Village in Wolverhampton in what’s sure to be a pulsating and entertaining day of darts.
In last night’s action, the American dream finally came to an end as ‘The Bullet’ Stephen Bunting made light work of Stowe Buntz, winning the game 16-8 with a degree of ease. It’s been an amazing run for the Virginia man who has brought plenty of entertainment to the tournament this year and he’ll be back stronger for the experience. In the second quarter-final of the evening, Rob Cross ended Damon Heta’s bid for a first ever major semi-final appearance as he prevailed 16-6 over the Australian to set up a clash with Bunting. Those two join James Wade and Luke Humphries in the last four and they will face off on Sunday afternoon before the competition concludes in the evening.
A preview of the final four is covered in this article alongside some key statistics, research and predictions to help with any bets on the tungsten action as the curtain falls on this year’s tournament.
Our darts experts have pulled together an exciting darts double across both of this afternoon’s semi-finals as well as their outright selection for who they’re backing to lift the trophy.
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Sunday’s Semi-finals Double
🎯 Luke Humphries to win and most match 180s
James Wade remains on course for a first ever Grand Slam of Darts title having come through an enthralling game against Josh Rock, rallying from 15-12 down to win the last four legs in order to claim a 16-15 victory. Wade used all of his experience and was typically tenacious and workmanlike in his performance, absorbing Rock’s power-scoring to prevail in an absolute thriller.
‘The Machine’ was a finalist in this event in 2010, 2016 and most recently in 2020 but is yet to win the crown, which remains one of the only majors missing from his impressive CV. Wade has admitted that he’s not yet back to his best but is fighting to return to the top of the sport, and will again need to harness that ability to cope with pressure situations if he’s to make a fourth final here.
Luke Humphries reached his second consecutive Grand Slam of Darts semi-final on Friday evening as he beat the in-form Gary Anderson 16-14. The statistics were certainly impressive as Humphries averaged 103.56, hit 13 maximums and pounded in a 170 checkout in a scintillating display and he’ll be looking to go one better than last year where he fell to Nathan Aspinall.
‘Cool Hand Luke’ has had a breakthrough year and is now starting to realise his potential having already claimed major silverware at the World Grand Prix this season, and it’s evident he’s hungry for more. The world no. 4 is simply the best player on the planet at the moment and has attributed his recent success to an improved temperament on the big stage.
This one is setup to be a classic. Wade will be under no illusion that Humphries will outscore him, but he has all the experience to stay in the game as he did against Rock and will hope to take his chances in the crucial legs when they come. However, the numbers which Cool Hand has been putting up this season are phenomenal and he’s yet to dip below a 100 average during the tournament.
Humphries should progress to the final here so he’s taken on the win market, especially with a better head-to-head record, winning eight of their 13 encounters. The win is coupled with him also scoring more 180s in the game as Wade falls well short in this metric compared to his opponent, both over the course of the season (605 v 284) and during this years tournament (29 v 11).
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🎯 Rob Cross (-1.5 handicap)
Stephen Bunting earned a place in what will be his first major semi-final for just over two years by defeating the charismatic American Stowe Buntz 16-8. It was far from vintage stuff from the Liverpudlian, but he did enough to win by averaging 96.79 and hitting six maximums to get over the line, continuing the excellent recent form he’s been showing in floor tournaments this season.
In various interviews in the build up to this event, ‘The Bullet’ has been very positive about his chances here, sighting just how well he’s been playing since a change to his darts, upping the weight from 11g to 18g. It would be no great surprise to see Bunting finally fulfil the potential he showed in the days of the BDO, where he won the World Championship back in 2014.
Rob Cross is clearly in fantastic shape at the moment after dominating Damon Heta in the quarter-finals, prevailing 16-6 in what was a clinical and ruthless performance by the world no. 9. With the game tied at 6-6, Cross reeled off ten legs on the spin to close out the match against ‘The Heat’ in order to progress to his first career semi-final appearance at the Grand Slam of Darts.
Along with Luke Humphries, ‘Voltage’ is one of the hottest players in the game at the moment and came into this event full of confidence, something he eluded to in a recent Sky Sports podcast. That’s clearly shown throughout his matches as he’s amassed a tournament average of 98.82, which is up on his season average of 96.39, a clear demonstration of where his game is at right now.
Bunting will hope to rediscover his maximum hitting abilities in order to keep pace with the consistent scoring of Cross, especially as he leads his opponent in the 180 charts. That seems to be the key weapon for ‘The Bullet’, but if he can’t hit the red bit with regularity, he could struggle to get the chances to close out important legs in the match, especially as Cross fairs much better on the outer ring.
The checkout percentage feels like a significant angle with Cross ranking tenth and Bunting 45th across the PDC this season. The Bullet has also been known to wobble at the business end of tournaments in the past, especially on the big stage, so with a really nice boost to the odds, Voltage is taken to cover the handicap and progress to the final with a bit to spare.
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Luke Humphries to win the tournament
Assuming that Humphries and Cross both prevail in their respective games, we should expect an absolute cracker in the final with the two most in form players in the PDC going head to head for the Eric Bristow trophy.
Cross has been throwing with freedom and has been rejuvenated of late with confidence at an all-time high. However, Humphries is playing a different level of darts at the moment and it’s hard to see past him collecting a quickfire double major championship here.
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Written by an Andy verified content writer
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