Gerwyn Price reclaimed first place in darts by reaching the semi-finals of the World Matchplay in Blackpool for the first time.
The “Iceman” defeated Portugal’s Jose De Sousa 16-14 in a titanic battle at the Winter Gardens to book a date with Danny Noppert in the last four.
Price insisted this week that regaining first place in the PDC rankings was not high on his list of priorities in Blackpool.
But Peter Wright’s quarter-final loss on Thursday opened a door that the Welshman walked right through – his growing confidence reflected in a tournament-best 104.64 average.
“I think I deserve to be there,” Price said of his new world rankings on Sky Sports. “I think I’m number one in the world.
“It was a difficult game but I think I deserved that extra shot at the end because I bombed numerous chances.”
Both players showed spectacular 160 checkouts in the first four legs.
Price clearly outplayed De Sousa in the first two sessions but failed to build momentum against his stubborn opponent.
The first 10 legs were shared – with neither player managing to make two mistakes at any point – despite Price averaging 103.63 to De Sousa’s 91.67.
De Sousa, nicknamed “The Special One” like his Portuguese compatriot Jose Mourinho, showed why he bears this nickname with a double success of 83 percent.
Price, world champion in 2021 but never a semi-finalist at Blackpool, pressed to win five of the next seven legs for a 10-7 lead.
The end seemed near as Price continued with a 13-8 advantage.
But De Sousa – who ended up matching Price’s nine 180s – rattled off with five legs, aided by the perfect combination of heavy scoring and clinical completion.
Price dug deep and although he missed the bullseye for a 16-13 win, he didn’t penalize on the double eight after De Sousa missed five shots to level the match.
Noppert defeated his compatriot Dirk van Duijvenbode 16:11 and thus also reached his first World Matchplay semi-final.
Both players hit 10 180s, but Noppert was the smarter finisher and kept his composure in crucial moments.
The pair were partners at the World Cup of Darts last month when the Netherlands reached the semi-finals.
UK Open winner Noppert went 4-1 into the first break, with Van Duijvenbode’s only respite being a brilliant 132 checkout and a bullseye finish.
Van Duijvenbode stormed back into the lead for the first time, 7-6, but Noppert grew stronger as the fight progressed.
He extended a 12-9 lead and won the last four legs, sealing the win by beating 121 on the bullseye.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/gerwyn-price-portugal-blackpool-sky-sports-michael-van-gerwen-b2129544.html Gerwyn Price back in first place after reaching first World Matchplay semi-final