Joe Cullen and Jeffrey de Zwaan broke new ground by reaching their first Quarter-Final at the World Grand Prix in…
Joe Cullen and Jeffrey de Zwaan broke new ground by reaching their first Quarter-Final at the World Grand Prix in Coventry, while Gerwyn Price and Dave Chisnall also prevailed.
For the second successive game, Cullen held his nerve in a thrilling last-leg shoot-out, this time denying his close friend Jonny Clayton after the Welshman had hit back from two sets down.
Cullen looked to be cruising through, averaging just under 100 on his way to sealing the opening two sets for the loss of just one leg.
However, Clayton came roaring back, winning the deciding leg of set three before taking the fourth set 3-1 to send the contest all the way to a decider.
An unpredictable final set saw all five legs won against throw, with a timely 180 from Cullen in the decider teeing him up for a 74 checkout which he finished in two darts.
“It was always going to be nervy going into the final set and to go to a sudden-death leg, so it’s great to get the win,” said Cullen.
“I felt good going up there and maybe the only downside was that I was playing a good friend and that’s always tough.
“In the first two sets I put him under a lot of pressure but he played fantastic darts to work his way back into the game and in the last set it was always going to be close.
“I don’t think my level dipped that much but Jonny was relentless with his starting doubles after the first couple of sets.
“The pleasing thing at the end was to take out 254 in five darts, in a sudden-death leg – that’s what dreams are made of.
“This means a lot to me, I feel like I’m getting better and more confident and I felt relaxed going into this.”
Cullen will now face Dave Chisnall in Saturday’s Quarter-Finals after the two-time Boylesports World Grand Prix runner-up recovered from two sets down to edge out Ryan Joyce.
Chisnall was handed a huge reprieve by debutant Joyce – who squandered seven match darts to follow up his First Round scalp of Peter Wright.
Joyce continued his relentless hitting of double 16 as he took a two-set lead, but in the deciding leg of set three he missed five darts at tops and two at double ten for the match, allowing Chisnall a way back into the contest.
Two-time World Grand Prix runner-up Chisnall grasped the opportunity, edging the fourth set by one leg before winning three legs in a row in the decider to seal his passage into the Last Eight.
“I’m over the moon. I should be packing my bags to go home but I didn’t give in and I waited for my chance to come, and it’s nice to have a bit of luck,” said Chisnall.
“I keep scraping through but I’ll have to play a lot better than I did today. My starting doubles were awful.
“He was brilliant all the way through the game and I can’t fault him, other than those missed doubles to win. I got a bit lucky tonight.”
In-form Price continued his march towards a first World Grand Prix title with an impressive straight sets win over Kim Huybrechts.
The world number three dominated the contest from the start, averaging 95.42 and hitting two ton-plus checkouts to reach the last eight for the second time in three years, dropping just three legs in the tie.
Huybrechts battled to the end but was unable to live with the scoring power of the Welshman, who will now take on De Zwaan.
“I was happy to get the first set and that put me at ease, and I played pretty well from there,” said Price.
“I started really well today and put Kim under pressure. He played reasonably well but I was that bit better today, but there’s still room for improvement.
“I’m more confident than I was after the first round, and this was a step in the right direction. I slipped up a couple of times and if you want to win tournaments like this then you have to be squeaky clean.
“I don’t mind who I play these days, I think it’s all about me. I believe in myself and if I turn up and play my A-game I’m hard to beat.
“I’ve not got a great record in this tournament but hopefully that can change.”
De Zwaan also made it through in straight sets, blowing away Gabriel Clemens to make it through to his first TV Quarter-Final in almost a year.
A late replacement for Stephen Bunting in the field, De Zwaan enjoyed back-to-back triumphs as he dropped just two legs in the contest, sealing victory in style with a ten-dart leg.
“I’ve struggled for a long time this year but playing like that gave me goosebumps,” De Zwaan admitted.
“It feels amazing to be in the quarter-finals and I’ve got a big chance. We’ll see what happens and I’m looking forward to the next game.
“I’ve never lost against Gabriel and my confidence was there. In the last set, the feeling that I had was that I was flying and it was great to finish with the ten-darter.”
Boylesports World Grand Prix 2020 Results
Friday October 9
Ryan Joyce 2-3 Dave Chisnall
Gabriel Clemens 0-3 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Gerwyn Price 3-0 Kim Huybrechts
Jonny Clayton 2-3 Joe Cullen