Michael van Gerwen and Peter Wright will renew their rivalry in the BoyleSports World Grand Prix semi-finals on Saturday, with top seed Gerwyn Price up against Nathan Aspinall on a blockbuster night in Leicester.
The semi-finals of the double-start event will feature three of the world’s top four in Price, Wright and Van Gerwen – while Aspinall has been one of the top performers over the last six months, scooping two ProTour titles to top the Players Championship Order of Merit.
The quartet all featured in the semi-finals of the 2020 World Championship at Alexandra Palace, and they will again do battle as the fight to scoop the £120,000 top prize continues at the Morningside Arena.
Saturday’s action kicks off with 2020 champion Price taking on former UK Open champion Aspinall, as the Welshman bids to secure a spot in his third successive World Grand Prix final.
The world number one produced a sensational comeback to defeat Masters champion Joe Cullen in the last 16, averaging 107 in each of the last two sets to close out a 3-2 victory.
However, Price’s progress has otherwise been relatively serene, courtesy of straight-sets wins over Martin Schindler and Madars Razma in round one and the quarter-finals respectively.
“I think I played decent in the quarter-finals, but against Nathan I’m going to have to up it and put him under a lot more pressure,” said Price, the current 6/4 title favourite with BoyleSports.
“I think we will both benefit from the atmosphere, and Nathan likes to express his feelings like I do, so I think it will be a great game.
“I’m sure Nathan is going to play well against me - he always does! I’m going to be pushed in the semi-finals but if I’m going to lift this trophy I will have to improve.
“I’m going to have to play like I did in the last two sets against Joe Cullen. I know I’ve got that in the locker, it’s just whether it comes out.”
Aspinall is featuring in his first double-start semi-final, and the Stockport star is riding the crest of a wave as he continues his resurgence following last year’s injury woes.
The two-time TV title winner dumped out fourth seed Michael Smith in his opener, before producing a stirring fightback from 2-0 down to stun UK Open champion Danny Noppert in the second round.
Aspinall then denied debutant Martin Lukeman 3-2 in a gruelling quarter-final tie to move a game away a first televised final since October 2020.
“From where I was six months ago, to be in the semi-finals of the World Grand Prix after reaching the quarter-finals at the World Matchplay, I’m over the moon,” declared a buoyant Aspinall.
“I’ve got my hunger back. I’ve been working really hard and I’ve put in so much practice over the last three weeks.
“There is nothing more frustrating than putting in four or five hours a day building up to a big tournament, only to get smashed in the first round.
“It is the most demoralising feeling in the world, but my form had dipped, my consistency had dipped, so I’ve put the work in and I am reaping the rewards,” added Aspinall, a 6/1 outsider for the title.
Van Gerwen and Wright then lock horns for a place in Sunday’s showpiece, with the Dutchman continuing his chase for a sixth World Grand Prix success.
The 33-year-old produced the performance of the tournament in his quarter-final win over Chris Dobey, averaging 99, converting five ton-plus checkouts and registering six perfect 160 starts to complete a 3-1 win.
Van Gerwen also impressed in his deciding-set victory over Stephen Bunting in the second round, after breezing past two-time World Champion Gary Anderson 2-0 on Monday’s opening night.
The three-time World Champion has already celebrated Premier League and World Matchplay wins earlier this year, and now he’s setting his sights on landing his third big TV title of 2022.
“I’m in the semi-finals but there is still a long way to go. I have won nothing so far, so I need to make sure I am sharp against Peter,” insisted Van Gerwen, who is featuring in his first World Grand Prix semi-final since 2019.
“Peter is a brilliant player, but you never know what you’re up against, because he always plays with different darts.
“I know I’m the better player, but I just need to do the right things at the right moments and make sure I’m going to beat him, and that’s the only thing that counts.
“I think I’ve played some stunning darts in this tournament. I don’t have to show anybody what I’m capable of because they all know that, but I need to just keep believing in my own ability.”
World Champion Wright is bidding to lift his maiden World Grand Prix crown in Leicester, after surviving three match darts in a gripping sudden-death shoot-out against Dimitri Van den Bergh in the last eight.
Wright, who defeated Kim Huybrechts in straight sets on Monday, also trailed 2-1 against Krzysztof Ratajski in round two, and the Scot is bidding to take full advantage of his good fortune.
“To win these titles you’ve always got to have a bit of luck,” admitted Wright, who was beaten 5-2 by Van Gerwen in the 2018 final in Dublin.
“That was my luck last night, and now I’ve got to play proper darts and not give away any chances.
“By Michael’s standards he has been playing mediocre darts, but he’s still won the Premier League and the World Matchplay.
“We have come up to Michael’s level, but we know he can hit 110+ averages in big majors, and that’s what I would like, as then he will push me and Gerwyn.
“We’ve had some crackers in the past, and hopefully we will have another one on Saturday.”
2022 BoyleSports World Grand Prix
Saturday October 8 (2000 BST)
Gerwyn Price v Nathan Aspinall
Peter Wright v Michael van Gerwen
Best of Seven Sets
6/4 - Gerwyn Price
9/4 - Michael van Gerwen
3/1 - Peter Wright
6/1 - Nathan Aspinall
Semi-Finals Match Odds
4/11 Gerwyn Price v Nathan Aspinall 21/10
11/10 Peter Wright v Michael van Gerwen 8/11
Odds courtesy boylesports.com and correct at time of writing. Subject to fluctuation.