Price sinks Smith to set up Humphries showdown at World Grand Prix
Gerwyn Price will take on Luke Humphries in the 2023 BoyleSports World Grand Prix final, after the pair overcame Michael Smith and Joe Cullen respectively on semi-final Saturday in Leicester.
Price - the only former champion remaining in the field - recovered from a mid-game slump to topple World Champion Smith 4-2 in Saturday's opening semi-final at the Morningside Arena.
Humphries then punished a profligate display from Cullen to race through to his second televised ranking final, closing out a straight-sets success against the former Premier League runner-up.
However, Price is just one win away from securing a second double-start crown, after winning nine of the last ten legs to dispatch Smith and progress to a third World Grand Prix final in four years.
The 2020 champion made an ominous start to the contest, firing in back-to-back 180s on his way to a 12-dart break, and he eventually struck the first blow in an error-strewn conclusion to set one.
The opening stanza saw all five legs won against throw, with Smith squandering three darts to draw first blood, after Price had spurned opportunities of his own earlier on in the piece.
The roles were reversed in set two as Price was punished for missing a dart at double 12 for 2-0, and Smith capitalised on this reprieve to seize control of the semi-final.
The St Helens star wrapped up set three with a monstrous 110 average, conjuring up a ten-dart leg during this blistering spell to pile the pressure on Price.
The Welshman responded with an equally dominant fourth set to level at two apiece, converting a 109 checkout to stop the rot, before punishing Smith's woes on the starting doubles.
Price suddenly began to find his range on the outer ring and this coincided with Smith's slump in form, and it all unravelled for the World Champion in the closing stages, as Price powered to victory.
"Michael Smith is the World Champion and world number one, so I knew it was going to be difficult," reflected Price, who had not dropped a set in reaching the semi-finals.
"I felt I probably should have been 2-0 up, and then I found myself 2-1 down. It was a bit of a rollercoaster, but I fought back and put him under pressure from then on.
"It was a difficult game but one that I'm glad I came through. Luke is a great player, he's had a bit of lady-luck on his side in this tournament, but it will be tough tomorrow.
Humphries battled back from the brink to stun 2018 runner-up Peter Wright in Friday's quarter-finals, and he made it seven successive sets without reply to sweep aside Cullen.
The Yorkshireman endured a nightmare on the outer ring in the opening exchanges, missing 19 of his first 21 darts at double, and Humphries duly capitalised to establish a two-set buffer.
Humphries raised his game in set three to tighten his grip on proceedings, before converting an effortless 138 combination midway through the fourth to move a leg away from Sunday's showpiece.
Cullen threatened to turn the tide with a sublime 150 skin-saver moments later, but Humphries quashed any hopes of a fightback to reach his first televised final since March 2021.
"I'm really happy. The last major final I made was behind-closed-doors, and now I finally get to enjoy that major final in front of a crowd," said Humphries, a UK Open runner-up two years ago.
"We dedicate everything for these moments, and I'm going to give it my all tomorrow. I will put everything on the line, and it will come down to who can hold their nerve.
"I've got a good record against Gezzy this year which does give me confidence, but this is a different ball game. I'm going to enjoy it, because these opportunities don't come around every day."
Price is a 2/5 favourite with title sponsor BoyleSports to triumph in Sunday's showpiece, with Humphries a 2/1 outsider to clinch his first senior televised crown.
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