Luke Humphries produced an inspired comeback from two sets down to defeat Peter Wright for a place in the World…
Luke Humphries produced an inspired comeback from two sets down to defeat Peter Wright for a place in the World Grand Prix Semi-Finals on Friday.
Humphries was one of three players to reach the Semi-Finals of the double-start major for the first time, while Gerwyn Price remained the only former champion left standing in the field.
Former finalist Wright began his clash with Humphries superbly to establish a two-set lead, but was left shell-shocked as a tenacious Humphries clawed himself off the canvas to complete a sensational fightback.
Wright averaged 99 to clinch a high-quality opening set, and the colourful Scot soon doubled his tally, following up a 100 checkout with a hold of throw to leave Humphries staring down the barrel.
However, the 28-year-old halved the deficit, before converting 133 and 92 finishes en route to restoring parity at two apiece, after surviving three match darts in a dramatic conclusion to set four.
Humphries continued his charge with a 109 checkout to move a leg away from glory, and despite Wright’s best efforts, the sixth seed held his nerve to prevail in a thrilling last-leg shoot-out.
“That could be one of the greatest wins of my career,” admitted Humphries, who will now feature in a second successive TV ranking semi-final.
“I can’t really put that into words. That was prime Peter – that was Peter Wright at his best. I put everything into that game, and I’m so proud of myself. That is a massive win for me.
“I never make it easy for myself, but you don’t expect it to be easy. We have so many great players here, and I’m probably going to have to play as well as that in the semi-finals.”
Friday’s action also saw Price and Michael Smith celebrate straight-sets wins, which sets up a mouth-watering Semi-Final showdown between the pair on Saturday.
Price raced through to the Last Four with a thumping win over Martin Schindler, who endured a night to forget at the Morningside Arena as he mustered just one leg.
Schindler squandered five darts to win the opening leg and never recovered, losing eight consecutive legs as a merciless Price powered towards the finishing line.
Schindler finally opened his account with a 12-dart break midway through set three, only for Price to punish more missed chances from the German to cap off a dominant display.
“Martin was way off the pace, so I just had to concentrate on my own game,” said Price, who is yet to drop a set in this year’s tournament.
“I’m nowhere near the heights I can reach, but I’m still here and I think the extended format is a little more favourable for me, so hopefully I can lift this title for a second time.”
The 2020 champion will now take on world number one Smith, after the top seed swept aside UK Open champion Andrew Gilding to reach his first World Grand Prix Semi-Final.
Gilding fired in a maximum on his way to an early hold of throw, before Smith seized control with a run of six consecutive legs – aided by a 104 checkout – to move to the cusp of victory.
The world number one then defied back-to-back 14-darters from Gilding to complete a straight-sets success, producing a 13-dart break in a third-set decider to maintain his serene progress.
“My scoring was non-existent, but I think my finishing to end legs was superb tonight,” reflected Smith, who has dropped just six legs in his run to the Semi-Finals.
“Me and Gezzy always have great games. It will be played in a good spirit, and it will be nice to have a really fast-paced game and put on a great show for this crowd.”
Joe Cullen conjured up a majestic 121 checkout to overcome Chris Dobey in a gruelling five-set affair, recovering from 2-1 down to reach a sixth televised Semi-Final.
Cullen flew out of the blocks, winning the opening four legs to seize the initiative, only for Dobey to respond with three straight legs of his own – culminating in a 12-darter – to draw level.
Dobey, who dumped out reigning champion Michael van Gerwen in the Last 16 on Thursday, continued his defiance to win a scrappy third set, but Cullen hit back in some style to wrap up the fourth.
The former Premier League runner-up fired in legs of 13 and 10 darts to force a fifth set, where he punished Dobey’s doubling woes to triumph in a battle of the Masters champions.
“If I’m completely honest, if that 121 finish didn’t go in, I would have probably lost the game,” conceded Cullen, who has now broken into the world’s top ten for the first time.
“I felt so focused, and I want to give myself the best possible chance. I think this [fightback] will stand me in good stead, and I will take that confidence into tomorrow.
“Luke is a great lad. He dug in tonight and showed his fighting qualities, so I will have to perform tomorrow, but this double-start [format] is a massive leveller.”
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Boylesports World Grand Prix 2023 Day Five Results
Friday October 6
Gerwyn Price 3-0 Martin Schindler
Michael Smith 3-0 Andrew Gilding
Peter Wright 2-3 Luke Humphries
Chris Dobey 2-3 Joe Cullen
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