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World Series Finals 2020 Day Three preview and order of play: Final eight eyeing silverware in Salzburg

Price completes title hat-trick at the World Series Finals

Jamie Shaw in World Series Finals 20 Sep 2020
Price completes a memorable hat-trick (Photo by Kais Bodensieck, PDC Europ)

Gerwyn Price claimed his third consecutive PDC title and a third career televised title at the World Series Finals in Salzburg thanks to a spirited 11-9 victory over Rob Cross.

Man of the moment Price had picked up back-to-back Autumn Series titles last Tuesday and Wednesday and extended his incredible unbeaten run to 17 games after a memorable weekend at the Salzburgarena.

The world number three, whose two previous televised titles had both come at the Grand Slam, dug deep to overturn an 8-4 deficit to Cross in a tense final.

Price had earlier survived a match dart from Nathan Aspinall in the Quarter-Finals before defying a 108 average from Peter Wright to prevail 11-6 in a thrilling Semi-Final contest.

“I’m really happy and a bit relieved,” said Price. “From 8-4 down I’m proud of myself, to dig deep once again like I have in a few games over the last couple of weeks.

“Early on in the final I thought I was playing brilliant – I should have been at least 4-1 up but I knew that Rob was going to come out firing and when he banged in that 144 I knew I was in for a tough game.

“In the middle part of the game I was beating myself up and let Rob get in front, but I stuck in there until the end and got over the winning line.

“I never give up any more and I always believe that as long as there’s one leg to go I can still win, and I stuck in there until the end.

“I’m playing well, practising well and giving 100 percent every single time. Whoever’s going to beat me is going to have to play really well and take their chances, because if not then I will.

“I’m looking forward to the European Tour next week and the World Grand Prix after that, and obviously I’ve got one eye on the World Championship.

“I wouldn’t say I’m the best player in the world now, but I believe that my A-game is better than anybody else’s. That’s all that matters, I’m confident with my own game.”

Cross had battled his way through a gruelling Semi-Final against James Wade in which both players averaged below 90, but appeared refocused for the final and started superbly with a 144 checkout in the first leg.

Price then produced legs of 11, 12 and 13 darts, including a 128 checkout, as he moved 3-2 up, but only to see the Hastings ace assume control with three straight legs.

Price responded in leg nine, but Cross took another three legs as a 110 checkout moved him 8-4 ahead.

The Welshman, though, kick-started his comeback with finishes of 74 and 79, and after Cross took out 100 it was Price who levelled by taking out 74 once again in leg 18.

Cross’ miss at the bullseye allowed Price to regain the lead – for the first time since leg five – by pinning a third-dart double five in leg 19, before hitting tops to clinch the title.

Cross had suffered elimination from the Premier League on Judgement Night last month but bounced back from that disappointment in style to reach his first final since last October’s European Championship.

He followed up Saturday’s confidence-boosting whitewash of Steve Beaton with a 10-8 Quarter-Final win over Michael Smith to open his challenge on Sunday.

He then overcame Wade 11-7 in the Semi-Finals, pulling clear from 7-6 to set up a repeat of the 2019 European Championship final with Price, only to this time end up on the losing end.

“It hurts,” admitted Cross, who turns 30 on Monday. “I lost to an in-form guy tonight and he’s been playing the darts of his life.

“Fair play to Gezzy for winning. Maybe with the lead I did have, I just got a little bit complacent.

“I’ve always got the game in the locker. I didn’t feel great when I played James and he never really got going, but it’s a step in the right direction.

“The darts are perfect for me and everything’s perfect, it’s just about Rob believing. I’m bitterly disappointed, but I’ll go back on the practice board, work harder and come back stronger.”

Wade had landed the tournament’s two maximum finishes, taking out 170 during his high-quality 10-8 Quarter-Final defeat of Glen Durrant before hitting the combination once more in his Semi-Final reverse to Cross.

Wright averaged above 100 in his Last Eight win over Daryl Gurney, but found himself on the end of a barrage from Price despite his own superb showing.

The tournament was the first PDC event since March to welcome a live crowd, with a limited capacity of 1,500 fans enjoying the action.

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World Series Finals 2020 Results

Sunday September 20

Afternoon Session

Quarter-Finals
Peter Wright 10-5 Daryl Gurney
Gerwyn Price 10-9 Nathan Aspinall
Glen Durrant 9-10 James Wade
Michael Smith 8-10 Rob Cross

Evening Session

Semi-Finals
Peter Wright 6-11 Gerwyn Price
James Wade 7-11 Rob Cross

Final
Gerwyn Price 11-9 Rob Cross