After a surprise return to form last year, Raymond van Barneveld will try to defend his title at the 2013 William Hill Grand Slam of Darts with his confidence in a better spot this time around.
Who will win?
Here is how the balance of power will play out in this 32-man tournament.
No. 3: Raymond van Barneveld
In that run, he beat van Gerwen and Dave Chisnall.
Van Barneveld noted the boost to his confidence that the run gave him, per Sportsmole's Darren Plant:
I played really well in Scotland and it has given me a real confidence boost.
Confidence is very important in this game. You only have to look at last year when I won the Grand Slam. That gave me belief in myself again and I haven't done too badly since then.
My self-belief has increased again from The Masters. Not only from beating Michael, but also Dave Chisnall, who has been playing very well, and I gave Adrian Lewis a very tough game in the semi-final.
He gave Lewis all he could handle. The two battled in a classic showdown:
No. 2: Michael van Gerwen
To pull that off, he will have to be in better form than he was last week, when he fell in the quarterfinals in Edinburgh.
Now time to focus, practise and prepare for Grand Slam of Darts and try and go one better than one year ago. Thank you to every1 for support— Michael Van Gerwen (@MvG180) November 3, 2013
While the loss came earlier than he is accustomed to, it is not all that concerning. The 24-year-old has been in fine form this year.
He made the final of the Championship of Darts at the end of October, and he won the Sydney Masters in August.
No. 1: Phil Taylor
However, if one player can tackle that group, it is Taylor.
"The Power" certainly got of to a strong start:
My money, and apparently nearly everyone else's, is on Taylor making a far deeper run this time around.