Thursday 11 November 2021

Some Grand Slam thoughts

Dimitri's tested positive for the bubonic plague, sigh. We have no idea whether he's actually ill or not, but oh well, let's look at the groups.

Group A - This is a spicy one. Let's get the obvious out of the way - Rafferty will clearly lose all three games. He's got a ton of potential for sure, but hasn't shown anything this year which makes me think he'll compete with players of this calibre. Question now is whether Schindler can convert his top 20 level of play into results against Price, who is clearly still super elite, and Ratajski, who is clearly putting up top 10 levels of performance and results. He can, and the short race will help. It's only best of nine (I see no real reason why they can't bump to best of eleven), variance helps here.

Group B - Clayton's the clear favourite. He's hoovered up everything that doesn't count towards the rankings and is top five in scoring for what counts. He'll clearly be fine. Brooks and Rodriguez is going to be an interesting battle of youth, until you work out that Rusty is way better than Bradley is. Then we throw in Mervyn King, who's been super solid all year, but isn't that far ahead of Rusty in all honesty. Will be down to those two I'd think.

Group C - This seems like one of the more interesting ones. Wade is nowhere near one of the more dominant seeds, indeed Cross' resurgence in form sees him above him in scoring. Williams, from what we've seen on the Challenge Tour, has been playing at an extremely competent level and can easily threaten either over a short format. Then we chuck in Boris Krcmar, who is deadly on his day and can quite easily upset any of these. I wouldn't like to call a top two in this one.

Group D - This was the Dimitri group, but now we've got Chris Dobey in, which I don't mind as according to my scoring table it actually makes the group stronger. He's in red hot form and will probably get out of this one. Bunting, Joyce and Rodriguez don't have a great deal to separate them - Rowby is probably the weakest of the three but is trailing Joyce over the course of the year by less than a quarter of a point per turn. Stephen's only about a point higher than either of them. It's going to be tight as anything.

Group E - God knows what will happen here. Wright's going to take the group, that much seems obvious. As for the others, who knows. Clemens has got a couple of decent runs this year, but looks a fair bit off what he was doing in 2019. Sherrock has looked great in exhibitions but we'll see what happens here. de Decker hasn't done a huge amount in 2021, but certainly has upped his game over the last month or so and is peaking at the right time, so we could easily get a situation where this comes down to leg difference.

Group F - This is going to be good. Jose, for what many say, is still playing at an elite level, clearly top five in 2021. Humphries would probably be a name I would chuck into a "next player to win a major" conversation and is scoring in the top 20. Mensur's done most of everything and has picked his game up a ton in the last quarter and is probably playing as good as he has in the last couple of years. Then we chuck in Matt Campbell, whose data looks a bit pedestrian but we've not seen since the last worlds what he can really do, on his day he can certainly push any of these hard. Think he's the clear underdog in this one, but I'd love him to do well here.

Group G - This seems one of the easier groups to call. van Gerwen is back to the top of my scoring charts after a solid last weekend, finally grabbing a ranking title. Cullen is hanging around the top 20 area and should grab second. Hendo isn't doing too badly but is scoring below 90 over the course of the year and is a clear three points per turn lower than Cullen is. Then we chuck in Lisa Ashton, who's always been a bit hit and miss at this level, but mostly miss on the Pro Tour this year, but perhaps the Women's Series has sparked an upturn, and in a short race she can roll off 3-4 legs pretty rapidly.

Group H - Ando's hanging around as the top seed. Not sure why, Barney's outscoring him, as is Smith. To be fair, Barney's not ahead by much, but he is ahead, Michael is a good point further ahead. I think unfortunately we can chuck Joe Davis out of the equation, he's been struggling with injury per the PDC and didn't show a great deal on the Dev Tour when he did play, so this will likely be a straight three into two equation, one which I hope Smith doesn't manage to fuck up.

Bets tomorrow.

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