Dave Chisnall’s bid for a first major televised title continues at this week’s World Grand Prix but having scooped three ranking titles and landed a hat-trick of nine-darters in 2019, the St Helens star is full of confidence ahead of his latest Dublin appearance, writes Josh Gorton.
Chisnall is one of the most mercurial talents in the game – his prodigious ability is unquestionable although he’s yet to translate his world-class talent into tangible success, losing in all four of his previous major PDC finals.
In Chisnall’s defence, he’s succumbed to the two best players on the planet in those respective finals – Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen.
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Nevertheless, until he crosses the finishing line in a major tournament, the criticism surrounding his mental fortitude will continue to mount.
The 39-year-old recently ended his seven-year association with Target Darts and joined rival manufacturer Harrows, which Chisnall hopes will have the desired effect in his pursuit of major glory.
“It’s a new chapter for me signing for Harrows,” Chisnall told Sky Sports.
“I met up with them and it all went well. They made me new darts and I’ve played with them last weekend and I did well.
“I’ve been practising with these new darts now for two or three months. I’m confident and I’m feeling good for the Grand Prix.”
The PDC’s annual pilgrimage to the Emerald Isle is always one of the highlights of the darting calendar and it’s a tournament that has been kind to Chizzy over recent years.
The first of Chisnall’s four major televised finals came at the Citywest Hotel in 2013, as he dumped out defending champion Van Gerwen en route to reaching the tournament’s showpiece.
He was thrashed by an irrepressible Taylor on that occasion, but he’s since reached a semi-final in 2016, before defeating Max Hopp and Raymond van Barneveld to reach last year’s quarter-finals.
Considering his reputation for being profligate in the finishing department, it’s ironic that Chisnall has enjoyed success in a double-start tournament which places such emphasis on being clinical under pressure.
“I’ve had some good memories, I’ve also had some bad memories, in 2013 when I got beaten 6-0 by Phil Taylor.
World Grand Prix – Monday’s Order of Play
|Stephen Bunting||vs||Jonny Clayton|
|Vincent van der Voort||vs||Nathan Aspinall|
|Adrian Lewis||vs||Jermaine Wattimena|
|Glen Durrant||vs||Krzysztof Ratajski|
|Daryl Gurney||vs||Danny Noppert|
|Gerwyn Price||vs||Dave Chisnall|
|Rob Cross||vs||Mensur Suljovic|
|Peter Wright||vs||Max Hopp|
“That was back then, the future is ahead so I’m hoping I have a good tournament this week.
“I enjoy it. It’s a leveller for everybody, not just the top boys. If they don’t get off and you do then you’ve got a good chance. I like it. I think it’s a good format.”
Given his impressive record in Dublin, this tournament may represent one of Chisnall’s best opportunities to break his major duck, although he concedes that slow starts have cost him in previous years.
“I believe I can win a major. If I do everything right on the night I can win any tournament.
“I’ve got to start quicker in finals because I keep giving players big leads. If I play someone besides MVG or Taylor I’d have more of a chance of winning one,” he joked.
Despite his self-effacing riposte, Chisnall’s comments are made with the authority of a man who believes in their ability and he’s got every reason to be optimistic due to his impressive resurgence in 2019.
In an interview earlier this year, Chizzy revealed he wasn’t ‘in the best place mentally’ due to personal issues in 2018 and that was reflected in his underwhelming results.
However, his first Players Championship triumph of the season in February ended his 18-month wait for a title and he’s since added another Players Championship title and the Danish Darts Open to his collection.
He’s now won a remarkable 15 PDC ranking titles – the most of any player without a major televised title to their name.
“I think it’s been a very good year,” he added. “I’ve been more dedicated up there and started doing everything right, rather than the daft things.”
Chisnall was denied a fourth title of 2019 at last weekend’s Gibraltar Darts Trophy – losing to an inspired Krzysztof Ratajski in the final, despite landing his third perfect-leg of the season against James Wade in the quarter-finals.
The former BDO World Championship finalist currently occupies 11th spot on the PDC Order of Merit but with little to defend in the coming months, Chisnall is targeting a return to the world’s top ten.
The Premier League is another major priority for the St Helens ace. The 2015 semi-finalist has not featured in the roadshow since finishing fifth in 2017 and he insists he’s still got unfinished business in the competition.
“That’s one of my goals to get back into the Premier League. I just want to get as high as I can on the Order of Merit, I’m capable of doing that. I believe. I always believe.”
Nevertheless, his immediate focus is on a mouthwatering first round tussle in Dublin against seventh seed Gerwyn Price, who is bidding to add the World Grand Prix title to his Grand Slam crown.
Chisnall’s major PDC Finals
2013 World Grand Prix
2014 Grand Slam of Darts
2016 Players Championship Finals
The Welshman has never progressed beyond the quarter-finals in four previous appearances although ‘The Iceman’ has improved his game beyond all comprehension throughout the last 12 months.
Price is also renowned for his boisterous celebrations which have ruffled the feathers of various experienced professionals, although Chisnall insists he won’t be affected by his opponent.
“It will be very tough. He’s a great player but I’m also a great player. I think we’re both playing very well at the moment.