Raymond van Barneveld rolled back the years to pull off a sensational 16-13 victory over reigning champion Gerwyn Price and…
Raymond van Barneveld rolled back the years to pull off a sensational 16-13 victory over reigning champion Gerwyn Price and set up a Semi-Final clash with Michael Smith at the Grand Slam of Darts.
Van Barneveld continued his fairy-tale comeback by recovering from 8-3 down to stun the world number one on a thrilling opening night of Quarter-Final action in Wolverhampton on Friday.
The five-time World Champion, who only came out of retirement last February, produced a vintage display to inflict Price’s first defeat in a knockout tie at the Aldersley Leisure Village.
Van Barneveld had defeated Price in a thrilling Group Stage encounter earlier in the week, and repeated the feat to secure his place in a first major ranking Semi-Final since 2017.
“I was struggling for many years, but I’m so happy right now. What a feeling,” admitted Van Barneveld.
“I’m probably in the top five players of all-time along with Phil Taylor, Michael van Gerwen, Eric Bristow and John Lowe, and everyone knows I can do this. It is all about belief.
“I love to play darts, I love to play in front of this amazing crowd, and I believe I can win this.”
The 2012 champion missed darts to win each of the first two legs, and despite landing a ten-darter to open his account, he trailed Price 3-2 at the first interval with a 107 average.
The Dutch veteran followed up his third 180 with a 98 finish to level inside 12 darts, but he paid the price for squandering two darts in leg eight, as a trio of 13-darters catapulted Price into a 7-3 lead.
The Welshman extended his winning run to five legs as he threatened to run away with the tie, but Van Barneveld launched a spirited revival, following up back-to-back 15-darters with an 11-dart hold to make it 6-8.
The 55-year-old then punished seven missed doubles across three legs from Price to make it six legs without reply, before raising the roof with a spectacular 157 finish to move 10-8 ahead.
Van Barneveld was riding the crest of a wave, wiring the bull for a show-stopping 170 finish as Price finally stopped the rot, but the former Premier League champion responded with a two-dart 78 combination to restore his two-leg cushion.
He continued his astonishing run with legs of 13 and 12 darts to stretch his advantage to 13-10, and with Price faltering on the outer ring, Van Barneveld pinned double four to move to within two legs of a famous victory.
Price fought back from 8-6 adrift to defeat Danny Noppert in the last 16, and he threatened to produce similar heroics against another Dutchman, reeling off three straight legs to reduce the deficit to 14-13, featuring a 12-dart break in leg 26.
However, with the world number one poised to make it 14-14, Van Barneveld sank a nerveless 71 finish on tops to move one leg away, before firing in a 13-darter to cap off an inspired display.
Van Barneveld will now take on Michael Smith for a place in Sunday night’s final, after Smith recovered from 15-13 down to edge out Joe Cullen in a gripping last-leg decider.
The two-time world finalist raced out of the blocks before suffering a mid-game slump, but he fought back magnificently to prevail in a rollercoaster clash, denying Cullen a single match dart in the closing stages.
Smith enjoyed a profitable opening session, hitting four 180s in as many legs to seize the initiative, although Cullen stayed in contention after the St Helens star spurned three darts for a 4-1 lead.
Cullen then followed up a clinical 116 kill in leg six with a sublime 170 checkout to restore parity at four apiece, but Smith soon regained control, maintaining his sensational scoring to move 6-4 ahead with a 110 average.
Following a sequence of four straight holds, Cullen punished a sluggish leg from Smith to reduce the deficit to 8-7, and he continued his charge with a 13-dart break in leg 19 to lead for the first time.
Cullen made it seven legs from eight with a superb 12-darter to lead 12-9, only for Smith to deliver a spirited riposte, converting 110 and 78 finishes before halting a run of four straight breaks to cut the gap to 13-12.
The Masters champion responded with dominant holds of throw to move to the brink of victory at 15-13, before landing a brace of maximums in leg 29 to pile the pressure on Smith.
However, the two-time World Championship runner-up was up to the task, following up a skin-saving 70 checkout with a majestic 11-dart break to force a dramatic deciding leg.
Smith had the advantage of throw in the last-leg shoot-out, and despite Cullen firing in a timely 11th maximum to set up a potential two-darter, Smith sealed his progression with a 76 finish on tops to book his place in Sunday’s semi-finals.
“When I was 15-13 down it was now or never,” admitted Smith, who averaged 100 and landed 14 maximums to prevail in a Wolverhampton classic.
“I feel sorry for Joe because I love him like a brother, but someone had to lose, and I’m so glad I was able to get over the line.”
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Grand Slam of Darts 2022 Day Seven Results
Friday November 18
Michael Smith 16-15 Joe Cullen
Gerwyn Price 13-16 Raymond van Barneveld
𝗗𝗮𝗿𝘁𝘀 𝗚𝗼𝗹𝗱 𝗵𝗮𝘀 𝗮 𝗻𝗲𝘄 𝗲𝗽𝗶𝘀𝗼𝗱𝗲 🎯🏅
— Live Darts (@livedarts) November 18, 2022
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