Gerwyn Price and Luke Humphries will collide in the 2023 World Grand Prix final after overcoming Michael Smith and Joe Cullen…
Gerwyn Price and Luke Humphries will collide in the 2023 World Grand Prix final after overcoming Michael Smith and Joe Cullen respectively in Saturday’s Semi-Finals in Leicester.
Price recovered from a mid-game slump to topple World Champion Smith 4-2 in the opening semi-final at the Morningside Arena and remain on course for a second Grand Prix crown.
Sixth seed Humphries then thrashed a struggling Cullen 4-0 to coast into his second major ranking final, following on from the 2021 UK Open.
Price claimed nine of the last ten legs to see off Smith and progress to a third World Grand Prix final in the space of four years.
The 2020 champion made an ominous start to the contest, firing in back-to-back 180s on his way to a 12-dart break, and he eventually struck the first blow in an error-strewn conclusion to set one.
The roles were reversed in set two as Price was punished for missing a dart at double 12 for 2-0, and Smith capitalised on this reprieve to seize control of the contest.
The world number one wrapped up set three with an emphatic 110 average, producing a ten-darter during this blistering spell to pile the pressure on Price.
The Welshman responded with an equally dominant fourth set to level at two apiece, converting a 109 checkout to stop the rot, before punishing Smith’s woes on the starting doubles.
Price suddenly began to find his range on the outer ring and this coincided with Smith’s slump in form, and it all unravelled for the World Champion in the closing stages, as Price powered to victory.
“Michael Smith is the World Champion and world number one, so I knew it was going to be difficult,” said Price.
“My back was against the wall but I came back fighting.
“I felt I probably should have been 2-0 up, and then I found myself 2-1 down. It was a bit of a rollercoaster, but I fought back and put him under pressure from then on.
“It was a difficult game but one that I’m glad I came through. Luke is a great player, he’s had a bit of lady-luck on his side in this tournament, but it will be tough tomorrow.
“It would mean the world to me to lift another trophy and ease a bit of pressure going into the World Championship.”
Humphries battled back from the brink to stun 2018 runner-up Peter Wright in Friday’s Quarter-Finals, and he made it seven sets without reply as he crushed Cullen.
Cullen endured a nightmare on the outer ring in the opening exchanges, incredibly missing 19 of his first 21 darts at double, and Humphries duly capitalised to establish a two-set advantage.
Humphries raised his game in set three to tighten his grip on proceedings, before firing in a 138 checkout midway through the fourth to move a leg away from victory.
Cullen threatened to turn the tide with a superb 150 checkout moments later, but Humphries quashed any hopes of a fightback to end his two-and-a-half year wait for a televised ranking final.
“I’m really happy. The last major final I made was behind-closed-doors, and now I finally get to enjoy that major final in front of a crowd,” said Humphries.
“We dedicate everything for these moments, and I’m going to give it my all tomorrow. I will put everything on the line, and it will come down to who can hold their nerve.
“I’ve got a good record against Gezzy this year which does give me confidence, but this is a different ball game. I’m going to enjoy it, because these opportunities don’t come around every day.”
Boylesports World Grand Prix 2023 Semi-Final Results
Saturday October 7
Michael Smith 2-4 Gerwyn Price
Luke Humphries 4-0 Joe Cullen
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