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Longer Format Suits Big Guns at Grand Slam of Darts

With the group stages taken care of the cream can rise to the top in the longer format of the knockout stages at the Grand Slam of Darts.

Phil Taylor ditched the specs for his final group game against Wes Newton on Wednesday night and in doing so took giant steps towards recapturing his best form. Although perhaps only a short term fix to the problem The Power managed to considerably up his three-dart average to 108.25 in comparison to the 97.22 he posted in defeat to Ted Hankey and 89.88 against Michael van Gerwen earlier in the week.

In the aftermath of his win over Newton ‘The Power’ expressed his relief at progressing past the group stages where the short best-of-9 format means the top players are much more susceptible to a shock defeat.

“I was very nervous beforehand but I played better without the glasses and reacted well,” said Taylor. “It's a longer format from the second round onwards so I can relax a little more.”

The three-time Grand Slam of Darts winner faces old foe Ronnie Baxter in the last 16 and is a 1/20 chance to progress with the bookmakers. ‘The Rocket’ is 8/1 to cause an upset.

World number three Raymond van Barneveld was another who needed to win his final group game in order to guarantee his progression to the knockout stages of the event. He did so with much less razzmatazz than Taylor, posting a mediocre 91.26 three-dart average, but got the job done nevertheless.

His reward is a match-up against one of the tournament’s most impressive players in the group stages Scott Waites. Last year’s beaten finalist maintained his 100% record in this year’s event with a comfortable win over Adrian Lewis. Over the shorter group stage format the bookmakers may have been forced to side with Waites for this one but in a race to 10 legs it is Barney who gets the nod at odds of 4/6 whilst the BDO man is an 11/10 chance.

In this best-of-19 format there is less pressure on each individual leg in the early stages meaning the players that can consistently produce the best darts will emerge victorious.

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