Gerwyn Price will take on Michael van Gerwen in Sunday’s Betfred World Matchplay final, as two of the sport’s premier players collide in a Blackpool blockbuster.
Price landed his fourth televised nine-darter of 2022 on a sensational night of semi-final action on Saturday, defeating UK Open champion Danny Noppert 17-11 to book his place in a first World Matchplay final.
Meanwhile, Van Gerwen produced a late surge to battle past 2020 champion Dimitri Van den Bergh, reeling off the final four legs to complete a hard-fought 17-14 success.
Price has already broken new ground in Blackpool, becoming just the second Welshman to feature in a World Matchplay final, after Richie Burnett succumbed to Phil Taylor in the 2001 showpiece.
The 37-year-old had failed to progress beyond the quarter-finals in seven previous appearances, but he’s produced a series of sublime displays at the Winter Gardens to regain the world number one spot.
“I’m going in the right direction, and hopefully I can be the first Welshman to win this title,” said Price, who is eyeing his eighth PDC televised triumph.
“This happened at the World Championship. I couldn’t get past the first or second round, and then as soon as I did, I was in the final and picking up the trophy.
“Hopefully that will be the case here, so every year I come to Blackpool, I will have good memories rather than bad ones.”
The 2021 World Champion produced comeback wins over Martin Schindler and Dave Chisnall earlier this week, before averaging 104.64 to defeat Jose De Sousa 16-14 in a gripping quarter-final tie.
Price then landed the first nine-darter at this event since 2018 in his last four clash against Noppert, to set up a fascinating showdown against Van Gerwen, in the pair’s first final in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
“Michael is coming back into some good form. When he’s flowing he is one of the best, so it’s going to be a tough one,” added Price, who boasts an impressive 101.73 tournament average.
“I want to win every trophy that I haven’t won before, and this is one of them. Hopefully I can tick this one off this weekend!”
Van Gerwen hasn’t hit the same heights as Price throughout the week, but the Dutchman is eyeing another slice of history in his fourth Winter Gardens final – his first since 2016.
The 33-year-old has beaten four TV title winners en route to Sunday’s showpiece, opening his campaign with a scrappy victory over two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis.
Van Gerwen then eased past Masters champion Joe Cullen in a repeat of last month’s Cazoo Premier League final, before defying an inspired fightback from former UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall to prevail 16-14 in a last eight thriller.
The three-time World Champion averaged 101.86 against Aspinall – his only ton-plus average of the tournament so far – before denying Van den Bergh in a gruelling battle of the former World Matchplay winners.
“It was about who had the most belief in their ability, and I think that was me,” said Van Gerwen, who will reclaim the world number three spot following this year’s event.
“You to have believe in yourself. Mentally I feel quite strong at the moment, and I will never give up.”
Van Gerwen is featuring in only his second event since undergoing arm surgery last month, which took place a matter of hours after he clinched his sixth Premier League crown in Berlin.
The Dutchman enjoyed a remarkable 19-match unbeaten run against Price before the Welshman beat him at the 20th attempt at the 2019 Grand Slam of Darts, and they’ve since shared seven wins apiece.
“I’m not 100%, everyone knows that,” said Van Gerwen, who is bidding to become the second player after 16-time winner Taylor to claim a hat-trick of Winter Gardens successes.
“It has been a long eight or nine days for me, but I hope I can hold my body together for one more day.
“Me and Gerwyn always have cracking games. It is probably one of the best finals for people to see.
“The best man will win, simple as that.”
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
Sunday July 24
Final (2100 BST)
Michael van Gerwen v Gerwyn Price
Best of 35 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 the final (best of 35 legs) reach 20-20, then the 41st leg would be the final and deciding leg.
4/5 Gerwyn Price
1/1 Michael van Gerwen
Odds courtesy Betfred and correct at time of writing. Subject to fluctuation.