Blackpool’s Cold Front: Iceman and The Freeze into Semis

Iceman into First Matchplay Semi Final

Gerwyn Price survived a late comeback from Jose de Sousa, averaging 104.64 in winning 16-14 to reach his first Semi Final of the Betfred World Matchplay and return to World Number 1 in the PDC order of merit.

UK Open champion Danny Noppert also reached his maiden Semi Final at the Winter Gardens, after beating compatriot and World Cup teammate Dirk van Duijvenbode 16-11 with both players hitting ten maximums on the oche.

The 2020 World Champion hit one of two 160 finishes in the opening mini session in Blackpool, hitting tops to break straight back after his Portuguese fired an 80 finish on tops to lead. The Special One found the same target in the fourth leg to hit the 160 again, as the crowd were treated too some high class finishing from two of the games best.

The match continued with throw, as the Iceman chose sensibility in rejecting the chance for a 170 finish in the seventh leg with his opponent not on a finish. The Red Dragon man hit tops for a 4-3 lead to hold and this continued all through the second session of the Quarter Final.

The World Number 7 had not hit any real form all through the year until the start of the summer darting extravaganza but continued causing problems for Price, finishing 93 on double eighteen to go in at 5-5 at the second break, missing just one dart at double over the course of the ten legs.

The crucial break of throw came in the twelfth leg, and it went the way of the Welshman, hitting tops to finish 88 and lead 7-5. No one really put their foot down as three consecutive breaks of throw occurred, with the former Grand Slam champion hitting two double eighteens finishing 90 to impress those watching, going within one of levelling at 8-7.
The 48-year-old went in at the second break 9-6 down after missing two crucial darts at double, allowing his opponent to return and hit double ten showing his emotions in the iconic venue as he chased down his first Semi Final, losing at the Quarter Final stage last year to Dimitri van den Bergh.

The fourth mini session of the game saw an 11 dart hold of thrown from the Markham man, finding tops to finish 44 and go within five of victory. Price reeled three legs in a row before and after the break, finding his beloved double twelve twice to lead 13-8 closing in on regaining his World Number 1 spot.

De Sousa was far from finished as a late resurgence followed, winning five legs on the spin including a 100 finish on tops to break the Welshmanā€™s throw and go within one of levelling at 13-12. Both players included nine maximums and were both also above 40% on their checkout rates with the Special One the highest at 53.85%.
The quality from both over thirty legs of darts can only be applauded, and a 10-dart break of throw from the Azambuja born ace on double eighteen meant the match was on throw once more, after the Red Dragon man missed a match dart at the bull.

The world number 7 missed five darts to force a 15-15 leveller and was severely punished by the Iceman, who hit double eight last dart to seal his spot in Saturdays Semi Finals and return to being the best player in the world, becoming the seventh different player to appear in all seven active PDC televised tournaments.

Danny Noppert raced into a 4-1 lead against fellow countryman Dirk van Duijvenbode, including two breaks in the first and final leg of the first mini session. The Titan did finish 132 on the bull in the third leg to get his one and only leg of the match going into the first break, knowing he needed an improvement in his performance if he was to get back into the tie.

The break seemed to do the trick for the World Number 14, winning the second session 3-2 but still trailing the reigning UK Open champion 6-4. The Winmau man broke on double sixteen finishing 86 only for the Auber Genius to break straight back in the tenth leg on double eighteen.

The former Grand Prix finalist completed a brilliant turnaround after finishing 41 in the fifteenth leg, leading 8-7 hitting double eight having won three legs in a row in the third mini session. Both players averaged 97 over the course of the match with van Duijvenbode slightly the higher of the two.

Something has started to click with the Joure born darting star this year, and he showed in the seventeenth leg just why, after breaking with a fantastic 150 finish under all sorts of pressure hitting double fifteen for a 9-8 lead.

An 87 finish on double nine put Noppert 11-9 up at the final break, but back came the Titan with consecutive legs firstly hitting double eighteen for a 116 finish to break the throw in the twenty second leg. A 63 finish on tops put himself one away from the World Number 11, showing nerves of steel having been pressured by his opponent leaving double four after hitting a 180.

It was to be The Freeze who would go on to reach his first ever Matchplay Semi Final, winning four legs in a row and closing out in style after hitting the bull to finish 121 and claim a 16-11 victory, going through to face Price on Saturday night.
Two Semi Finals to look forward to in the Betfred World Matchplay, as Michael van Gerwen and Dimitri van den Bergh meet in the other Final 4 tie tomorrow night live on Sky Sports from the Winter Gardens.

2022 Betfred World Matchplay Results

Quarter Finals:

Danny Noppert (11) 16-11 Dirk van Duijvenbode (14)
Gerwyn Price (2) 16-14 Jose de Sousa (7)

Saturday Order of Play: Semi Finals

Gerwyn Price (2) v Danny Noppert (11)
Dimitri van den Bergh (9) v Michael van Gerwen (4)


Inages: Taylor Lanning / PDC

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