Price ‘full of confidence’ after claiming Clayton scalp to reach Grand Slam semis

Gerwyn Price insists he’s ‘full of confidence’ after recording a hard-fought 16-12 victory over Jonny Clayton in a thrilling affair to continue his bid for a third Grand Slam of Darts title in four years.

‘The Iceman’ had produced a series of stuttering displays en route to the quarter-finals, succumbing to Martin Schindler in his final Group A clash, before surviving a major scare to scrape past World Youth champion Bradley Brooks in the last-16.

However, the world No 1 underlined his title credentials with an impressive 16-12 success over ‘The Ferret’, to curtail Clayton’s dreams of landing a fifth major televised title of 2021.

“I got over the winning line in the end and I’m pleased to be in the next round because that was a tough one to get through,” Price reflected post-match.

“I should have blown him away early on but I’m letting people off the hook. I need to be playing a lot more and I haven’t this year.

“It was close, it was intense and I was fortunate that Jonny slipped up a couple of times and I did what I had to do.

“I flew out of the blocks but when it was 6-4 I should maybe have been 8-2 up, Jonny shouldn’t have been in the game but I’m letting people off.

“When my back was up against the wall, I didn’t want to let him get in front of me. I wasn’t at my best, but it was an exciting game, a close game and good for the crowd and people back home.”

Price made a blistering start to proceedings against his World Cup partner – drawing first blood with a 13-darter, producing a delightful tops, tops 100 checkout in leg three, followed by a magnificent 10-darter as he established a commanding 4-1 cushion after the opening mini-session.

Nevertheless, ‘The Iceman’ was punished for squandering four darts at double for a 6-1 lead, and Clayton ignited his comeback charge with a clinical 126 finish, before registering legs of 11, 14 and 13 darts to restore parity at six apiece.

Price regained the initiative with a pivotal 110 finish in leg 13 – sparking huge celebrations from the world champion, who restored his three-leg buffer at 12-9, with Clayton left to rue his profligacy on the outer ring.

‘The Ferret’ fought back once again though – reeling off three consecutive legs to square up the contest at 12-12, yet Price held firm, claiming the final four legs without reply to triumph with a 98.11 average and 11 maximums.

The world No 1 was incredibly focused from the outset, and despite a couple of momentary blips midway through the contest, the two-time Grand Slam winner produced a professional performance to avenge his loss to Clayton in last month’s World Grand Prix final.

Price will now face three-time finalist James Wade for a place in this year’s showpiece, after ‘The Machine’ fended off a spirited fightback from a resurgent Rob Cross to seal his spot in Sunday’s semi-finals, and Price insists he’ll have to improve against the world No 4.

“I need to improve if I want to win this tournament because I won’t get away with what I did today against James,” the Welshman continued.

“I want to go on and win this tournament, it’s one of my favourite tournaments. Now I’m in the semi-finals hopefully I can start playing well and blow people away.

“I need to fly out of the blocks and put James under pressure, because if you give him shots he’ll ping them out. I need to take my opportunities, put him under pressure and hopefully get a good lead on him. I’m full of confidence.”

Wade progressed through to his fourth Grand Slam semi-final with a narrow 16-14 victory over Cross in Friday night’s curtain-raiser in Wolverhampton.

‘The Machine’ managed to overcome an enforced change of darts midway through the tie after a point snapped in the board, and his hopes of a maiden Grand Slam crown remain alive, as he condemned Cross to a second quarter-final exit at this event.

“It’s a gift to be in the semi-finals,” Wade claimed.. “It was a struggle but I did enough at the right times. Rob wasn’t at his best and I took advantage of that. I’ve got mixed emotions – it was messy but I’m happy to move forwards.”

There was very little to separate the pair in the opening exchanges, with the first ten legs all going with the darts. Cross threatened to break on numerous occasions, but a sublime 150 checkout from Wade helped preserve his throw in leg eight.

The UK Open champion then produced a superb five-leg burst to open up a 9-5 lead and despite Cross’ best efforts, the former world champion struggled to make any inroads into the deficit, with the next nine legs also going with throw.

‘Voltage’ did reduce the arrears to 13-12; following up a 13-dart break with a clinical 70 kill, yet Wade was unperturbed, restoring his buffer courtesy of a majestic 148 checkout to lead 14-12.

The pair then traded 13-darters and while Cross continued to chip away, he was punished for a spate of sloppy visits in a tense 30th leg, which enabled Wade to wrap up victory with a 17-dart hold via double six.

The quarter-finals conclude on Saturday evening at the Aldersley Leisure Village, as three-time Grand Slam winner Michael van Gerwen faces 2015 semi-finalist Michael Smith before world number two Peter Wright aims to halt the fairytale run of history-maker Fallon Sherrock.

Image Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Cazoo Grand Slam of Darts
Friday November 19
2x Quarter-Finals

James Wade 16-14 Rob Cross
Gerwyn Price 16-12 Jonny Clayton

Saturday November 20 (1900 GMT)
2x Quarter-Finals

Michael van Gerwen v Michael Smith
Peter Wright v Fallon Sherrock

Sunday November 21
Afternoon Session (1300 GMT)
Semi-Finals

Gerwyn Price v James Wade
Wright/Sherrock v Van Gerwen/Smith

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