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Two-time World Grand Prix winner James Wade is in opening night action when the double-start event gets underway in Dublin on Monday evening.

Wade, who has amassed seven PDC major titles to date, takes on Steve Beaton at the Citywest Hotel, as ‘The Machine’ bids to repeat the form that saw him win the unique tournament, which requires players to start and finish each leg by hitting a double, in 2007 and 2010.

The Aldershot ace, who has reached the semi-finals of the World Championship, Premier League and World Matchplay in the last twelve months, is looking to end a two year wait for his ninth televised triumph.

“I’m looking forward to the World Grand Prix in Dublin,” said Wade, whose last major victory came at the 2011 UK Open.

“I’ve got some great memories from the event and I’m ready to win big majors again. I haven’t been at my very best for a while but I am getting closer and I’ve still gone deep into tournaments.”

“I’ve been putting the work in and I’m in a good place but I will take each game as it comes and if I play like I can, I can beat anybody.”

Monday evening also sees Robert Thornton and Paul Nicholson go head to head, while world number four Simon Whitlock meets Michael Mansell, of Northern Ireland.

Michael van Gerwen, who clinched his first PDC major when he scooped the £100,000 first prize last year, begins his title defence against John Part on Tuesday evening.

The Dutchman has since reached the final of the Grand Slam of Darts and World Championship, before winning the Premier League earlier this year.

Now ranked second on the PDC Order of Merit, van Gerwen is excited at the prospect of successfully defending the prestigious title.

“It’s been a fantastic year and it is a great feeling coming back to Dublin as the champion,” said ‘Mighty Mike’.

“I’ve prepared well and I’m very confident but I know I’ll have to be at my best because John is a brilliant player.

“It is probably the hardest tournament to win because of the double-start but I enjoy it and I’m really looking forward to the week.”

van Gerwen’s compatriot Raymond van Barneveld is also in action on Tuesday. The Dutch legend, who won Sunday’s Players Championship event, takes on Stuart Kellett.

The second round of the £350,000 event will be split across Wednesday and Thursday, with the quarter-finals being held on Friday, the semi-finals on Saturday and the final on Sunday.

By Chris Murphy

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