Price & Van Gerwen to meet in Cazoo European Championship last eight

Cazoo European Championship (Kais Bodensieck, PDC Europe)

Gerwyn Price and Michael van Gerwen will clash in a high-profile quarter-final at the Cazoo European Championship after dominating their second round ties in Salzburg on Saturday.

World Champion Price cruised into the quarter-finals with a 10-3 defeat of Czech teenager Adam Gawlas, coming from 2-0 down to power to victory.

Van Gerwen, meanwhile, won the clash of former European Champions with James Wade 10-4 to continue his challenge for a fifth title in the event.

Sunday's final day of action at the Salzburgarena will also see 2019 European Championship winner Rob Cross, Grand Slam of Darts winner Jose de Sousa, Austrian favourite Mensur Suljovic and in-form Danny Noppert also in action after they won through an action-packed second round day.

World number one Price, who won both European Tour events held in 2021, could only watch on as emerging star Gawlas opened their tie with a 12-darter before doubling his lead.

Finishes of 119 and 116 from Price sparked his performance as he levelled, winning five straight legs before Gawlas hit back.

However, Price took out an outstanding ten-dart leg - which featured two 177 scores - in another five-leg burst to seal his quarter-final place.

"It was a really slow start but he flew out of the blocks in the first two legs, and the 119 was a big shot," said Price, the runner-up to Cross two years ago.

"From being 2-0 down I won ten of the next 11 legs, and for most of that game I played really well - but I need to up that again and take it into tomorrow."

Van Gerwen, meanwhile, knocked out 2018 champion Wade as the Dutchman came from a leg down to win five in a row and take command of their contest.

Wade pulled back to 8-4 as he sought a route back into the tie with finishes of 88 and 142, but missed doubles in the next two legs allowed Van Gerwen to close out the win.

"It was comfortable but I made too many mistakes," said Van Gerwen. "Overall I can't really complain and a win is a win, but I know I've got more in the tank and I have to show that tomorrow.

"I hit too many low scores between good scores, but I won and that's the most important thing. I know there's more to come."

Van Gerwen defeated Price last November on his way to winning his most recent ranking title, at the Players Championship Finals, and is hoping to repeat the feat on Sunday.

"It's going to be a tough game against Gerwyn tomorrow," said Van Gerwen. "We always have good games and I'm looking forward to it.

"I've won most of the games we've had but I need to concentrate on my own game because we all know what I'm capable of. My form has started to change and I feel good."

Cross and De Sousa will meet in another tasty quarter-final after they enjoyed contrasting wins on Saturday afternoon over Brendan Dolan and Luke Humphries respectively.

Cross took the opening four legs to assume control of his contest, finishing 124 on the bull in the process, and despite an 11-darter from Dolan he extended the advantage to 6-1.

Dolan responded with back-to-back legs, but an 11-darter from Cross stemmed the tide before the Hastings ace closed out the win with a 76 finish.

"I played steady and thought I was clinical at certain times, but I let a few legs go," reflected Cross.

"My game's really good at the minute, I'm enjoying the game and it's a massive difference to where I've been for the last 18 months, but I'll keep trying.

"It's nice to start making inroads to where I think I should be for my ability. I don't think that I've got to get better to win, I've just got to get back to where I was."

De Sousa, meanwhile, defied five ton-plus checkouts from Humphries to claim a 10-8 win following an entertaining contest.

Humphries had opened the tie with a 130 finish, but found himself 3-1 down and facing a 5-3 deficit when he took out 104 in leg nine.

The tenth leg proved pivotal as Humphries wired the bull for a 170 finish which would have levelled the game, before then having to watch on as De Sousa took out 123 on the middle double to regain breathing space at 6-4.

Humphries also missed double 18 to finish 156 in the next leg, and De Sousa moved 8-4 up before Humphries finished 106, 146 and 160 to claim three of the next four, while a 74 checkout kept him in the tie at 9-8 before the Portuguese ace finally closed out the win.

"It's amazing for me to make the quarter-finals here," said De Sousa. "Playing against Luke is always difficult - he has such talent.

"The 123 was a special moment from the Special One! I think it was crucial. I'm very happy that I'm through and I hope in the next round I can play my best game."

Noppert's brilliant form continued as he finished ten doubles from 16 attempts to defeat Ryan Searle 10-6, booking a spot in a second successive televised quarter-final.

The Dutchman impressed in his first round win over Krzysztof Ratajski, and pulled clear from three-all to win seven of the next eight legs in another confident display.

Searle had hit back from 2-0 down with a 108 finish to level in leg four, and followed a Noppert 11-darter with a second 13-dart finish of the tie in leg six.

Noppert, though, regained the lead, punished three misses from Searle to lead 5-3 and then took out a brilliant 170 checkout before moving 8-3 up.

Searle responded, but Noppert quickly ended any hopes of a fightback by landing double 18 and then tops to move into the last eight.

"It was a really good performance again," said Noppert, a World Grand Prix semi-finalist last week. "I'm playing really well at the moment and enjoying my darts.

"Ryan is a really good player but he missed some doubles and I hit mine - the 170 finish was really good.

"I'm feeling great, really confident at the moment, and looking forward to every game."

Noppert now plays Nathan Aspinall after the UK Open finalist won a high-quality tie with Damon Heta 10-6 as both players averaged over 100.

Heta opened with back-to-back 13-darters and also took out 104 as he led 3-2, but Aspinall turned the game with four straight legs, and defied checkouts of 127 and 141 from the Australian to secure his last eight spot.

"I really enjoyed it and it's a fantastic win against a great opponent," said Aspinall. "I felt really good tonight.

"The 141 to stay in the match and the 104 finish showed bottle and what a fantastic player he is, but I had a job to do and I was really happy with how I performed.

"The practice is paying off and I felt so at home up there, I felt back like I felt two years ago. I was buzzing, the adrenaline was pumping and the crowd were fantastic. 

"I've got Danny Noppert next and he's playing unreal darts at the moment. I need to perform at that level tomorrow, and if I do then I'll be hard to beat."

Mensur Suljovic delighted the Austrian crowd as he won a thriller against Germany's Florian Hempel 10-9 in a dramatic deciding leg.

Emerging star Hempel responded to Suljovic's opening 136 finish by taking a 2-1 lead, only for the 2016 finalist to win five of the next six to take command at 6-3.

Hempel finished 124 as he pulled back to 7-5, and when Suljovic missed four match darts after opening up a 9-7 cushion, the tie went to a one-leg shoot-out.

Suljovic was first to a finish, and produced a superb third-dart double top to book his spot in the last eight.

"I couldn't see if the last dart was in but it's a brilliant feeling," said Suljovic. "I gave it my best and I played good darts. I'm feeling good and I'm so happy.

"I won my last tournament in Austria [at a European Tour event in 2019] and I will give it my best tomorrow. The crowd is brilliant and I have nothing to lose."

Suljovic now faces Joe Cullen, who won through to his second European Championship quarter-final with a 10-5 defeat of Willie Borland - coming from 3-2 down to surge to victory.

Cullen took out a superb 147 amongst three straight legs to push himself 5-3 up, and he defied a 116 finish from Scottish youngster Borland to progress.

"I started a little bit slowly but I felt if I imposed myself on the game that I'd come out at the other end as a winner," said Cullen.

"I felt like my experience would always show in the end. Willie's a brilliant player on the floor but it takes a lot to bring your floor game to the stage.

"I did more than enough to win the game. I tried to keep on top of him because I couldn't afford to get complacent."

Cullen was a semi-finalist in the 2018 tournament, but is now aiming to claim his first televised title on Sunday - which could move him into the world's top ten should he be victorious.

"I realise I'm in a favourable half of the draw but I've still got to go up there and win," said Cullen, who is now guaranteed £20,000 from the event.

"It's a big jump prize-money wise and £10,000 is a lot of money, so I knew it was an important win for me."

The £500,000 tournament concludes on Sunday, with the afternoon session's quarter-finals followed in the decisive evening session by the semi-finals and final, with a £120,000 top prize on offer.

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2021 Cazoo European Championship
Saturday October 16
Afternoon Session 

Second Round x4
Joe Cullen 10-5 William Borland
Rob Cross 10-4 Brendan Dolan
Jose de Sousa 10-8 Luke Humphries
Danny Noppert 10-4 Ryan Searle

Evening Session
Second Round x4
Nathan Aspinall 10-6 Damon Heta
Gerwyn Price 10-3 Adam Gawlas 
Michael van Gerwen 10-4 James Wade
Mensur Suljovic 10-9 Florian Hempel

Sunday October 17
Afternoon Session (1345 local time, 1245 BST)

Danny Noppert v Nathan Aspinall
Gerwyn Price v Michael van Gerwen
Rob Cross v Jose de Sousa
Mensur Suljovic v Joe Cullen

Evening Session (2000 local time, 1900 BST)

Price/Van Gerwen v Noppert/Aspinall
Suljovic/Cullen v Cross/De Sousa


Quarter-Finals - Best of 19 legs
Semi-Finals - Best of 21 legs
Final - Best of 21 legs

Prize Fund
Winner - £120,000
Runner-Up - £60,000
Semi-Finalists - £32,000
Quarter-Finalists - £20,000
Second Round Losers - £10,000
First Round Losers - £6,000
Total - £500,000