Trailblazer Clemens eyeing more history ahead of Price showdown

Gabriel Clemens (Kieran Cleeves/PDC)

Gabriel Clemens will make history at Alexandra Palace on New Year’s Day, when he takes on world number one Gerwyn Price in the Cazoo World Darts Championship quarter-finals.

Clemens is the first German player to feature in the last eight at the World Darts Championship, and he will play 2021 World Champion Price in a blockbuster tussle on Sunday evening.

The German number one has produced a series of superb displays in the capital, defeating William O’Connor, Jim Williams and Alan Soutar to seal a spot in his maiden televised ranking quarter-final.

“Normally I am happy when I can play here after Christmas, and now I can play after New Year, which is an amazing feeling,” Clemens told the Darts Show podcast.

“The first half of the year was not good for me. I had problems with my arm and I couldn’t practice normally, but the second half was good.

“I had no pain in my arm and I came to the World Championship with a lot of confidence.”

The sport’s popularity has soared in Germany over the last decade, and Clemens’ thrilling third round win over Williams was watched by around 1.4 million people on free-to-air German TV channel Sport1.

Max Hopp was Germany’s original darting trailblazer, but Clemens and Martin Schindler have taken up that mantle over recent years, with the pair now both established in the world’s top 32.

Schindler also starred at this year’s World Championship, succumbing 4-3 to Michael Smith in a third round classic, and Clemens is encouraged by the strength-in-depth within his home country.

“It’s good when you have two Germans that are going higher and higher in the rankings, so it’s not only on one player’s shoulder,” added the 39-year-old.

“Martin [Schindler] lost his Tour Card, but he has come back, and he’s played amazing darts.

“I don’t know how many Germans are in the crowd, but it’s amazing when you hear the German songs at the Ally Pally.

“I hope this inspires more young players to play darts in Germany.”

Clemens is now aiming to create another slice of history in the sport’s showpiece event, by kicking off 2023 with a first career victory over top seed Price.

The Welshman has won all four of the pair's previous meetings, including their two televised showdowns in 2020 at the UK Open and the World Cup of Darts respectively.

Price has relinquished just two sets in reaching the last eight at Ally Pally, recording wins over Luke Woodhouse, five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld and former Grand Slam winner Jose de Sousa.

However, Clemens boasts a better tournament average, checkout percentage and maximum tally than Price at this year’s tournament, and he is in confident mood ahead of the biggest game of his life.

“When I play my game, I can beat anybody in the world,” said Clemens, a World Cup semi-finalist in 2020.

“I think Gerwyn is the favourite, but I’ve played three good games on this stage, and we will see.

“I believe I can beat him. I will give him a good game and I will take my chances.”