Much talk in the sporting world in the last month has been about the completion or attempt to complete certain Slams, which means winning all of the top tournaments in a sport in succession.
Serena Williams accomplished her own tennis Slam when winning Wimbledon, to add to being reigning champion at the US Open, Australian Open and French Open.
Currently in golf, Jordan Spieth is looking to become the first player since 1953 to win the first three majors of the year, following his successes in the Masters and US Open. He remains in contention in the Open Championship at St Andrew’s.
If the 21-year-old does top the leaderboard, he will head to the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in August looking to complete the Slam of majors.
One Slam that hasn’t been given the same coverage is that which Gary Anderson is two-thirds towards completing.
Anderson has enjoyed a productive year in darts, winning a first World Championship in January when beating Phil Taylor 7-6 in the final and then registered a second career victory in the Premier League thanks to defeating world number one Michael van Gerwen 11-7.
The final leg of the treble is the World Matchplay, which is a competition where Anderson’s results have been distinctly average in the past.
After five consecutive years of failing to make it beyond the second round, he took a big step forward last year through beating Jamie Caven, Stephen Bunting and Adrian Lewis to reach the semi-finals, where he was beaten 17-15 by Taylor.
Taylor has won the Matchplay for the last seven years since losing a semi-final to Terry Jenkins in 2007. Given this obvious love for the tournament structure, Taylor looks overpriced at 10/3 to enjoy Matchplay success again.
However, in a year of Slams, 5/1 is too big to ignore on Anderson, who has warmed up for this visit to Blackpool’s Winter Gardens with at least a semi-final finish in his last four tournaments.
The main problem posed to his challenge is the draw, which hasn’t been the kindest. Anderson opens against Steve Beaton and then could have to run the gauntlet of Jenkins, James Wade, Taylor and Van Gerwen to prevail.
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