Madars Razma and Martin Lukeman both progressed to a first PDC major Quarter-Final at the 2022 World Grand Prix on…
Madars Razma and Martin Lukeman both progressed to a first PDC major Quarter-Final at the 2022 World Grand Prix on Thursday and were joined by Gerwyn Price and Nathan Aspinall.
The Second Round of the double-start event concluded on another dramatic night at the Morningside Arena in Leicester on Thursday.
2020 champion Price stole the show with a scintillating six-leg burst to recover from a set behind and knock out Joe Cullen in a decider.
The Welshman trailed the Masters champion 2-1 following a largely subdued display, only to suddenly burst into life, averaging 107 in each of the last two sets to storm into Friday’s Quarter-Finals.
The world number one drew first blood in a scrappy first set, but Cullen restored parity at one apiece with a clean sweep in set two, before punishing Price’s profligacy in the third to move 2-1 ahead in the match.
Price regained his focus to blitz through set four with legs of 15, 13 and 14 darts, and the deciding set followed a similar pattern.
The 2021 World Champion followed up a 104 checkout by taking out 305 in six darts, firing in a superb 171 and taking out a tops-tops 134 checkout, before a clinical 88 kill capped off an inspired fightback.
“I put myself under a lot of pressure, but when my back was up against the wall I produced my best darts,” said Price.
“I’m nowhere near my best. I was way off the pace early on, but I produce my best stuff under pressure, which is brilliant.”
Price will now face Razma after the Latvian dumped out 2017 champion Daryl Gurney to reach the Quarter-Finals of a PDC televised event for the first time.
Razma averaged 92, landed five 180s and pinned 37% of his attempts at a finishing double to complete one of the best big stage performances of his career to date.
Gurney kicked off proceedings with a 110 checkout, but a sequence of six straight legs from Razma saw him establish a two-set lead.
Gurney arrested his slide in set three to halve the deficit, but Razma regained control with back-to-back 14-darters, and a trademark 171 with three treble 19s catapulted him to victory inside 16 darts.
“I’m in the quarter-finals – it sounds so amazing. I am living my dream, and I believe I can go further,” said Razma, who is on the cusp of breaking into the world’s top 32.
“I am so happy. I am improving step by step, and I feel like I can beat everybody here. My new goal is to be in the top 32 by the World Championship.”
Meanwhile, Aspinall pulled off a terrific comeback from 2-0 down to edge out UK Open champion Danny Noppert, surviving four match darts to secure a spot in his second World Grand Prix Quarter-Final.
Noppert snatched a hard-fought opening set after Aspinall squandered five set darts, and his frustration was compounded when the Dutchman doubled his advantage in a second set decider.
Aspinall closed out a scrappy third set to keep his hopes alive, and he then produced his best spell of the match to force a fifth and final set, taking out 104 and 100 finishes to maintain his revival.
Noppert looked to have stemmed the tide after storming 2-0 ahead in set five, but after squandering four match darts in leg three, his game unravelled in an action-packed conclusion which saw Aspinall become embroiled with the crowd.
The Dutchman took 13 darts to pin a starting double in an incredible final leg, and Aspinall took full advantage to hit tops and reach his second televised Quarter-Final of the year.
“What a fantastic comeback. I’m absolutely buzzing,” admitted Aspinall. “I’m a fighter. I enjoy these battles. That is what I’m about, and I’m very happy with that win.
“When Danny was starting, there were a few whistles and boos and I was trying to hush the crowd.
“Likewise when I was 2-1 down, I’m about to throw to make it 2-2 and it got to the point where I’d had enough and I turned around and said “please will you just shut up.”
“We’re different people with different personalities and I just reacted differently. I shouldn’t have reacted the way I did but I did and I can’t take it back.
“Danny wasn’t happy with how I reacted but he shook my hand, I didn’t think he would, so fair play to him. He took the defeat well.”
The two-time TV title winner will now play Martin Lukeman, who denied Ross Smith in another dramatic sudden-death leg to continue his dream debut in Leicester.
Smith crashed in ten 180s and forced a last-leg shoot-out after an extraordinary miscount from Lukeman in the penultimate leg, but the debutant recovered to secure a landmark win.
Smith converted 72 and 67 finishes in consecutive legs to snatch the opening set, but he was left to rue squandering four darts at double for a 2-0 cushion as Lukeman levelled.
The 37-year-old reeled off five consecutive legs to move 2-1 ahead but Smith responded strongly, following up a sensational 174 set-up shot by pinning double eight to preserve his hopes.
Smith appeared to have gifted Lukeman victory after squandering eight darts to force a decider, but a bizarre miscount from Lukeman on 45 prolonged the drama, only for the Watford thrower to sink tops to seal the deal.
“It’s the biggest payday of my career. I’ve put so much work in, and I’m so proud of myself,” said Lukeman.
“I’m in the quarter-finals of a major – It’s crazy. I’m just going to take it game by game. I know I can beat anyone on my day and I’m riding a wave at the moment.”
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World Grand Prix 2022 Day Four Results
Thursday October 6
Martin Lukeman 3-2 Ross Smith
Daryl Gurney 1-3 Madars Razma
Gerwyn Price 3-2 Joe Cullen
Nathan Aspinall 3-2 Danny Noppert
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