Former champions Michael van Gerwen and Dimitri Van den Bergh will collide in Saturday's Betfred World Matchplay semi-finals, as Gerwyn Price takes on UK Open champion Danny Noppert on a bumper night at the Winter Gardens.
Following two incredible nights of quarter-final action at the Empress Ballroom, this year’s stellar semi-final line-up features four TV title winners battling it out for the £200,000 top prize and the coveted Phil Taylor Trophy.
Saturday’s opening semi-final sees Noppert lock horns with Price, who will regain the world number one spot ahead of Peter Wright after the event, courtesy of at least £50,000 in prize money.
Price came through a pulsating quarter-final clash against De Sousa on Friday, surviving a spirited fightback from the former Grand Slam champion to close out a 16-14 success.
The Welshman, who battled past Martin Schindler and Dave Chisnall en route to the last eight, posted a 104.64 average to deny De Sousa – the highest of the tournament so far.
The 2021 World Champion is now back at the sport’s summit, but he’s firmly focused on lifting an eighth televised title ahead of his last four clash against Noppert.
"I believe I’m the world number one, especially with performances like that. I think it’s where I deserve to be,” insisted Price, the 2/1 joint tournament favourite alongside Van Gerwen.
“It feels good to be world number one, but it wasn't my main priority this week. I want to go all the way and win this tournament.
“Danny reminds me a little bit of Jonny [Clayton]. Winning the UK Open has given him a huge confidence boost and he’s playing fantastic darts.
“I know it’s going to be another tough game, but I think I’m more than ready.”
Noppert is also featuring in his maiden World Matchplay semi-final, and his quarter-final victory over fellow Dutchman Dirk van Duijvenbode will see him break into the world’s top ten after this event.
The 31-year-old posted ton-plus averages to dispatch Northern Irish duo Brendan Dolan and Daryl Gurney earlier in the week, before averaging 106 in the last 12 legs of his clash against Van Duijvenbode.
“I’m feeling good. To reach the semi-finals in a tournament like this means everything to me,” said the current UK Open champion.
“I’m now in the top ten of the world. It’s special.
“I’m feeling comfortable. I’m looking forward to the semi-finals, and it’s starting to happen for me on television.
“I want to win all the games. Everyone from the start of the tournament believes they can win the title, but I hope I can bring it and lift the trophy on Sunday."
Saturday’s second semi-final will see two-time World Matchplay winner Van Gerwen take on 2020 champion Van den Bergh for a place in Sunday’s showpiece.
Van Gerwen has seen off three TV title winners to reach his sixth Blackpool semi-final, following up a scrappy first round win over Adrian Lewis by dumping out Joe Cullen and Nathan Aspinall.
The Dutchman eased past Masters champion Cullen in a repeat of last month’s Premier League final, before fending off a stirring fightback from Aspinall to triumph 16-14 in a compelling contest.
“I know I’m not 100%, but I will keep battling, and I know I can give everyone a great game,” said Van Gerwen, a back-to-back World Matchplay champion in 2015 & 2016.
“It’s about winning games at the highest level, so the game against Nathan gives me a great boost.
“Dimitri is in great form and he deserves to be in the semi-finals. If I want to beat him I have to play well, simple as that.
“We know each other really well. It’s going to be a tough one on Saturday but I’m looking forward to it.”
Van den Bergh is featuring in his third consecutive World Matchplay semi-final, as his love affair with the tournament continues.
The Belgian relinquished just eight legs in wins over Callan Rydz and Rowby-John Rodriguez, before coming through an extraordinary quarter-final tussle against reigning champion Peter Wright.
The 28-year-old averaged 102 to dethrone the World Champion in a 30-leg epic, and now he’s bidding to join Rod Harrington, Phil Taylor and Van Gerwen in claiming multiple successes at the Winter Gardens.
“I’m so happy. Three semi-finals in a row at the World Matchplay. It is incredible,” admitted Van den Bergh, who has won 12 of his 13 matches at this event.
“I’ve learned to dig deep, I’ve learned to never give up and I believe in my own ability.
“I’m working hard and doing everything I can to chase my dreams and create a beautiful future for my family.
“I’m not afraid to lift the title, but I’ve got a lot of quality in front of me. I’m keeping my feet on the ground.”
The action will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK, through the PDC's worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and Viaplay, and on PDCTV (excluding UK, Germany, Austria & Switzerland based subscribers).
2022 Betfred World Matchplay
Saturday July 23 (2000 BST)
Gerwyn Price v Danny Noppert
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Michael van Gerwen
Best of 33 legs
Each game must be won by two clear legs, with up to a maximum of five additional legs being played before the sixth additional leg is sudden-death. For example, should a semi-final (best of 33 legs) reach 19-19, then the 39th leg would be the final and deciding leg.
2/1 Gerwyn Price, Michael van Gerwen
3/1 Dimitri Van den Bergh
5/1 Danny Noppert
Semi-Final Match Odds
6/5 Dimitri Van den Bergh
4/6 Michael van Gerwen
4/7 Gerwyn Price
11/8 Danny Noppert
Odds courtesy Betfred and correct at time of writing. Subject to fluctuation.