Michael van Gerwen and Peter Wright will face off in the final of the 2019/20 World Darts Championship after defeating…
Michael van Gerwen and Peter Wright will face off in the final of the 2019/20 World Darts Championship after defeating Nathan Aspinall and Gerwyn Price respectively at Alexandra Palace.
Reigning champion Van Gerwen and former runner-up Wright both recorded 6-3 wins to confirm up a repeat of their 2014 show-down – which Van Gerwen won 7-4 to lift the first of his three World Championship titles.
Darts’ biggest event will reach its climax on New Year’s Day as Van Gerwen and Wright go head-to-head for the coveted Sid Waddell Trophy and the £500,000 winner’s prize.
Wright made it through to his second World Championship final with a dominant win over world number three Price in a feisty affair.
Competing in his third World Championship Semi-Final, Wright outplayed Price in every department, hitting seven more 180s and missing fewer double attempts than the Grand Slam champion.
Price had proclaimed in an earlier interview he would “smash” Wright 6-0, and after winning the opening set with an 11-darter in the deciding leg, the Scot gestured jokingly to Price at the drinks table but his actions appeared to rile the Welshman.
The Scottish World Cup winner’s flying start continued as he landed a 131 checkout in the opening leg of set two, but Price showed typical resilience to win the set despite a near 12 point-gap in the averages, prompting an outpouring of emotion in the face of his opponent.
Set three saw the Price take out 100, his only ton-plus finish of the match, in moving 2-1 ahead, but Wright responded with a pair of 13-darter on his way to winning set four, before an 81 checkout saw him win the set five decider to regain the lead at 3-2.
Price won three consecutive legs to win set six and level the contest, but that proved to be the third seed’s final moment of success in the contest.
A 15-dart leg from Wright saw him win the seventh set decider to go 4-3 in front, before doubling his advantage by taking the eighth set 3-1.
Wright struck his 57th 180 of the tournament in the ninth set, and after Price missed two darts at double to make it 5-4, Wright found the winning double at the tenth attempt to book his place in his second World Championship final, six years on from his first.
“Tonight I was missing doubles at crucial times and kept letting him in but thankfully I stopped giving him chances in the end,” said Wright, who needs 15 more 180s to beat Gary Anderson’s record of 71 180s at the 2016/17 World Championship.
“Before the match me and Gezzy were winding each other up. He said he was going to win the first two sets and I would change darts, I like him but I don’t appreciate what he did.
“I’m older and wiser than I was six years ago, I didn’t feel ready to be World Champion then but I do now.
“There’s no mental block against Michael, even though I should’ve beaten him in a few finals.
“I told him a few weeks ago that we would meet in the final of the World Championship and it’s come true.
“I’m not thinking too much about what it would mean to be World Champion, I’m just going to go up there and play my game like I have been doing all tournament and we’ll see who wins.”
Van Gerwen progressed to his fifth World Championship final by fending off the challenge of Aspinall, who was making his second successive Semi-Final appearance.
The deciding leg of the opening set saw Van Gerwen produce a 14-dart break of throw, only for Aspinall to hit straight back with a nerve-settling 124 checkout to break throw on his way to winning the second set 3-1 to level.
Three visits without a treble cost Aspinall in the third set decider as Van Gerwen punished to regain the outright lead, but Aspinall fought back with a 110 checkout to win the deciding leg of the fourth to level once again at two-all.
After Aspinall missed a dart at tops to go 3-2 in front, Van Gerwen showed his ruthless edge to capitalise and regain command and then pressed home the advantage by winning the sixth set without reply for a 4-2 advantage.
The response was strong from Aspinall, who won the seventh set 3-0 to go within a set once again, but he was unable to earn himself a shot at double in the deciding leg of set eight as Van Gerwen took out 68 in two darts to move 5-3 up.
There was to be no remarkable comeback from Aspinall, as Van Gerwen won the ninth and final set 3-1, sealing the deal on double ten to continue his quest for a fourth World Championship crown.
“Every time I had to play well I did it, so I can’t really complain about how I played,” said Van Gerwen, who will be hoping to retain the World Championship title for the first time.
“I had too many bad scores and I know I can do better, so I will have to improve that for the final.
“Most of the time Peter plays me he blows up and misses darts at double and that’s a good thing for myself.
“I hope I can play a bit better than I have been doing so far in this tournament and I’m looking forward to the final.
“I think he’s more scared of me than I am of him.”
The final gets underway from 7pm GMT on New Year’s Day and will be contested over the best of 13 sets.
William Hill World Championship 2019/20 Results
Monday December 30
Peter Wright 6-3 Gerwyn Price
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Nathan Aspinall