World Series Finals: Wright and Price set up enticing semi-final clash in Austria
Peter Wright and Gerwyn Price arranged a meeting in the World Series of Darts Finals semi-finals after prevailing on Sunday afternoon at the Salzburgarena in Austria.
Reigning world champion Wright was the first man to book his place in the last four as he averaged 100.23 in relatively comfortable triumph over Daryl Gurney.
Wright raced into a 3-0 lead following the unsuccessful attempts at three-dart combination checkouts from Gurney, and the world number two was seemingly breezing to a comfortable victory.
However, Gurney would peg back the Scotsman, claiming the subsequent two legs in 12 and 13 darts in order to head into the first interval only a solitary leg behind Wright.
The Northern Irishman was averaging the higher of the pair as they returned from the commercial break, and continued to pepper the treble bed, registering a second maximum on his way to restoring parity at three apiece.
Wright proceeded to clinch two legs in succession, only for Gurney to execute another bullseye checkout to halve the deficit, but ‘Snakebite’ reinstated his two-leg advantage with an 11-dart leg.
Following the second interval, it was plain-sailing for Wright as he reeled off four of the next five legs to prevail and book his place in the semi-finals.
Wright will face two-time Grand Slam of Darts champion Price on Sunday evening after the Welshman recorded a 100.94 average in overcoming Nathan Aspinall.
In a match riddled with inexcusable interferences from the Salzburg crowd, Price produced a doubling masterclass to reach the World Series Finals semi-finals for the second time.
It was Aspinall who constructed an early 3-2 advantage, with the former UK Open champion averaging in excess of the 100 mark and having darts to potentially lead 5-0 at the opening interval.
Price celebrating during his narrow win over Aspinall (Photography: Kais Bodenseick/PDC Europe)
Price converted clutch checkouts of 60 and 74 to somehow head into the break only one leg behind the Stockport thrower, and used that to his benefit in the proceeding stages of the encounter.
Aspinall regained his two-leg cushion following the break, but then squandered two darts on the outer ring and allowed Price to move within one leg once again.
‘The Asp’ then reeled off three of the next four to hold a 7-4 lead, with a magnificent 148 checkout from Price being sandwiched between winning legs for his firing opponent.
The Welshman’s finishing continued to impress as he level up proceedings at seven apiece after winning three in succession, including combination checkouts of 53, 60 and 72.
Both players then held their throws, with Price spurning multiple darts at double in the 16th leg, before sharing 11-darters to send the match to the distance.
Aspinall fired home his tenth maximum in the decider, though, a missed dart at double 18 proved pivotal as Price erupted into a raucous roar after pinning his favourable double tops to progress.
Meanwhile, both James Wade and Rob Cross came through all-English encounters to seal their spots in Sunday evening’s last four, setting up a repeat of last year’s Premier League semi-final.
Wade, a World Series of Darts Finals champion two years ago, pipped Premier League table-topper Durrant in a closely contested collision, averaging just spare of the 100 mark in a 10-9 win.
Durrant converted stunning checkouts of 87 and 105 to open up an early 2-0 advantage, but Wade claimed three on the bounce, including a spellbinding 170 outshot, to lead 3-2 at the interval.
THE BIG FISH!
James Wade takes out the biggest checkout of the lot – a 170 – as he draws level with Glen Durrant at 2-2 pic.twitter.com/3muuafzFX6
— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) September 20, 2020
Both players proceeded to hold their throw to perfection in the second mini-session, with the next five legs going with the darts, meaning scores were stalemate at five apiece.
The esteemed pair then shared break of throws, before Wade clinched two legs in succession to move within two of his first televised semi-final in over a year.
Durrant subsequently punished a missed dart at double top from Wade, hitting double eight to keep his hopes intact, before levelling proceedings at eight apiece with a 97 checkout to round off a much-needed 12-darter.
The three-time BDO world champion then wired the bullseye for the second 170 checkout of the match, handing Wade an opportunity at double – which he jumped all over and moved on the cusp of victory.
Durrant found his seventh maximum of the affair in a timely manner, before converting 52 in two darts to send a thrilling match to a deserved deciding leg, averaging in excess of 102.
Wade produced a scintillating showing in the decider, leaving Durrant with little opportunity and landing tops once again to keep his hopes of pocketing the £70,000 cheque alive.
Former world champion Cross returned to form with a spectacular victory over his World Cup of Darts teammate Smith, pinning six maximums and a 98.67 average.
Smith converted a maximum with his first three darts of the match, but Cross found a 116 checkout with his opponent sat on a double to snatch the opening leg, before doubling his advantage with a hold of throw.
‘Bully Boy’ battled back and eventually levelled up proceedings at three apiece, prior to leading for the first time with his third maximum and a 14-darter.
Nevertheless, former World Matchplay winner Cross turned the tables, restoring parity at four-all, before claiming the next two legs to hold a 6-4 lead.
Smith hit two 140s and his fourth 180 in the tenth leg of the encounter, but sloppiness in the finishing department handed Cross the ascendancy at the second interval.
More misses from Smith then gifted Cross a 7-4 lead and a break of throw, but the former World Championship finalist broke back prior to pinning a crucial 110 checkout to move within one of his opponent.
Former finalist Smith claimed two of the next three to level at eight apiece, but Cross converted impressive checkouts of 92 and 101 in legs of 11 and 12 darts to prevail.
The 2020 World Series of Darts Finals comes to its conclusion on Sunday evening, with four major champions vying for success in Austria.
WORLD SERIES OF DARTS FINALS
Salzburgarena, Salzburg, Austria
Sunday September 20
Peter Wright 10-5 Daryl Gurney
Gerwyn Price 10-9 Nathan Aspinall
James Wade 10-9 Glen Durrant
Rob Cross 10-8 Michael Smith
Evening Session (7.15pm)
Peter Wright v Gerwyn Price
James Wade v Rob Cross
Best of 21 legs
Wade/Cross v Wright/Price
Best of 21 legs
(Featured Image: Kais Bodenseick/PDC Europe)