World Matchplay: Gerwyn Price thrashes Jonny Clayton in Blackpool as Dimitri Van den Bergh continues title defence
World champion Gerwyn Price ran away with victory in the highly-anticipated all-Welsh contest against Premier League winner Jonny Clayton at the World Matchplay in sweltering Blackpool on Tuesday night.
Reigning champion Dimitri Van den Bergh landed an astonishing 14 180s, averaging 103.97 to defeat Dave Chisnall and set up a mouth-watering clash against Price.
Young pretender Callan Rydz continued his dream run at the tournament, piling in with four sensational bullseye finishes, including The Big Fish, to knock out former champion Rob Cross.
Krzysztof Ratajski will take on Rydz next after the Pole reached the quarter-finals for the second successive year as he saw off giant-killer Luke Humphries.
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Price makes it eight wins in a row over Clayton
The friendship between Price and Clayton was put firmly on the backburner as the World Cup-winning duo went at it hammer on tongs on the big stage at the Winter Gardens.
World No 1 and reigning world champion Price started in blistering fashion. He struck with an 11-darter, before landing two-dart combination finishes of 85 and 80. But The Ferret responded with a ton out, an 11-darter of his own, and tops as the match rattled on at high velocity.
The Iceman asserted his authority by claiming the next four legs on the bounce, including a neat 108 finish, to establish a 7-3 lead.
Clayton, who came into the tournament having won the Premier League, The Masters along with two Players Championship events, was having trouble with his doubles and Price punished him in ruthless fashion to finish off a comprehensive 11-3 demolition job.
Dimitri continues title defence with Chizzy win
Van den Bergh continued the defence of his title against Chisnall, who was looking to recapture his best form having enjoyed his first World Matchplay win since 2018 against Vincent van der Voort.
Van den Bergh looked at home on the Blackpool stage as the dancing Belgian went into the first interval 3-2 ahead, despite Chisnall’s showstopping 130.
A 121 on the bullseye followed by double 16 handed the defending champion a 6-4 lead with a cool 104 average and eight 180s.
But he continued to allow Chizzy, a world championship semi-finalist in January, a route back into the contest with the St Helens thrower levelling at 6-6 with an excellent 127 on the bullseye.
Some outstanding finishing from Van den Bergh helped him recover as he won four out of the next five legs to edge closer to a date with Price. And despite 25 missed doubles, he sealed an 11-8 win following an 11-dart leg against the throw.
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Rydz reels in The Big Fish to sink Cross
Debutant Rydz had already knocked out two-time semi-finalist Glen Durrant and the emerging talent from Bedlington had 2019 winner Cross, firmly in his sights.
The pair traded early breaks but it was Voltage who held a slender advantage before he turned on the afterburners to open up a 5-2 lead.
Cross appeared to be in control until his three missed darts at doubles and the Riot made him pay with three magnificent bullseye finishes – an 86 checkout, a party piece 89 finish, and then another clutch finish to clean up 92 for a 7-5 advantage.
Rydz was simply sizzling on the oche on a barmy hot night in Blackpool and he inflicted another break of the Cross throw with double 4 to move two legs away from a famous win. But Cross, a former world champion, stayed in touch at 9-7 with a crucial 132 checkout on the bull.
But an incredible 170 finish from Rydz put him on the brink of victory and the 23-year-old cleaned up 60 to claim a sensational 11-8 success.
Me and callan room share on tour and we play first to 5 bulls all the time …and believe it or he hardly ever wins 🤣🤣🤣..
The practice obviously paid off 🤣
Fair do's pal …proud of ya …keep it going @callanrydz170 🎯@dartingp
Callan Rydz 🔥 🎯
The Polish Eagle flies into quarter-finals
Ratajski produced the first ton-plus average of the tournament during his impressive win over Brendan Dolan and he continued in the same manner against debutant Humphries.
The Pole charged into a 4-0 lead, including a whopping 140 finish with two double tops, before Humphries got on the board.
Humphries produced an outstanding debut at the Winter Gardens to knock out former winner James Wade on Sunday, but Ratajski, the 13th seed, was keeping him at arm’s length in a top-notch encounter.
Humphries, who has reached four finals in 2021 in establishing himself inside the top 32, gradually clawed his way back into the contest, but Ratajski pinned double 10 for a much-needed rot-stopper before taking out 88 for an 11-darter to extend his lead to 7-4.
Cool Hand crashed in a 121 on the bullseye, but that was as good as it got for him as Ratajski won the next four on the bounce to complete an impressive 11-5 victory with a 99.94 average.
Darts is back on your Sky Sports screens with live coverage of the World Matchplay from the iconic Winter Gardens running all the way through until Sunday, July 25. Check out daily Darts news on skysports.com/darts, our app for mobile devices and our Twitter account @skysportsdarts
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