2021 World Grand Prix: Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton meet in an exciting all-Welsh final | Darts News


World Cup partners Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton to battle for the 2021 World Grand Prix crown

Thirty-two players came, now only two Welsh remain, as World Cup partners Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton prepare to meet in the final of Saturday’s World Grand Prix at Morningside Arena, Leicester.

Price tries to follow in the footsteps of Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen by becoming the third player in Grand Prix history to defend the coveted title, while Clayton aims for his first televised qualifying crown.

‘The Ferret’ has established himself as one of the world’s best darts players by virtue of having won the Masters and Premier League this year, however, with both tournaments unranked, his current status as world number 13 does not reflect his feats.

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October 9, 2021, 8:30 p.m.

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The subplots are fascinating. Clayton attributes his meteoric rise to his World Cup win alongside Price last November, and now the world’s number one aims to stop the monster he’s responsible for unleashing.

The defending champion has been fighting the crowd as much as his opponents this week and despite struggling for long stretches of the event, he has given up just three sets to advance to the final.

Clayton has produced a number of brilliant displays to reach his eighth final of 2021, but Price certainly has a psychological advantage over his compatriot.

This year’s World Grand Prix has been fraught with uncertainty, but we can guarantee that the title will return to Wales. The question is, will it be Markham or Pontyberem?

Does the story call the ice man?

Price is aiming for a sixth major singles title when he meets Clayton in Saturday's final.

Price is aiming for a sixth major singles title when he meets Clayton in Saturday’s final.

“Champions find a way, that’s what they do.” Wayne Mardle’s comments midway through Price’s semi-final matchup against Stephen Bunting proved prescient as ‘The Iceman’ roared 2-0 against to keep his title defense alive in dramatic fashion.

The world number one was in a one-stage tungsten phase against ‘The Bullet’ but overcame injury and a hostile crowd to reserve his spot in a second straight Grand Prix final.

Price’s route to the final

L32: 2-0 against Michael Smith (100.82)
L16: 3-1 vs. Mervyn King (93.19)
QF: 3-0 against Dave Chisnall (87.58)
SF: 4-2 vs. Stephen Bunting (88.99)

Before their last four fight, Price’s progress had been relatively uneventful. He sailed with potential banana skin in the first round to defeat world number 9 Michael Smith in straight sets, becoming the seventh man to average more than a ton in tournament history.

The world champion rallied from a set down to beat veteran Mervyn King in the second round, before punishing a wasteful display by two-time runner-up Dave Chisnall to complete a routine 3-0 victory in the quarterfinals.

Clayton on the cusp of maiden ranking major

Clayton hopes to follow up his Masters and Premier League successes with a major first qualifying title.

Clayton hopes to follow up his Masters and Premier League successes with a major first qualifying title.

‘The Ferret’ celebrated his 47th birthday by starting his campaign with huge success in straight sets over Callan Rydz, averaging 95 and converting 60 percent of his final doubles.

This set the precedent for his extraordinary consistency in the outer ring throughout the week, as he struggles to claim a third major title of 2021 and catapult himself into the top eight in the world.

Clayton Route to the Final

L32: 2-0 vs. Callan Rydz (95.10)
L16: 3-1 vs Jose De Sousa (94.95)
QF: 3-2 against Krzysztof Ratajski (91.44)
SF: 4-1 against Danny Noppert (94.82)

The diminutive Welshman collected four more tonnes of finals to represent José De Sousa in a repeat of this year’s Premier League final, before bouncing back from 2-1 adrift to defeat World Matchplay semi-finalist Krzysztof Ratajski in a exciting round of 16 fight.

Clayton was converting 65 percent of his final doubles before his semi-final clash against Danny Noppert, and produced another compelling display to account for Michael van Gerwen’s conqueror, missing a 4-1 winner with a 94.82 average.

Price: I need to improve

Price was relieved to reach the World Grand Prix final after what he described as 'one of his worst performances' by beating Stephen Bunting.

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Price was relieved to reach the World Grand Prix final after what he described as ‘one of his worst performances’ by beating Stephen Bunting.

Price was relieved to reach the World Grand Prix final after what he described as ‘one of his worst performances’ by beating Stephen Bunting.

“I dug there to the end and luckily I overcame the winning line. It’s probably one of the worst performances I’ve ever had. [vs Bunting]. That was tough.

“I was under a lot of pressure and the crowd was on my back. I was basically depressed and had to kick myself in the back.”

“Jonny is brilliant. He has played fantastic darts throughout the tournament. It is going to be a tough match, but I hope I can play a lot better than in the semi-final, because I need to.”

Clayton: I’m over the moon

Clayton was delighted after advancing to the World Grand Prix final at Danny Noppert's expense.

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Clayton was delighted after advancing to the World Grand Prix final at Danny Noppert’s expense.

Clayton was delighted after advancing to the World Grand Prix final at Danny Noppert’s expense.

“I’m over the moon. I came here to reach the final and I did it, it’s fantastic. I’m happy with that win. Hopefully it’s my year.”

“The crowd is absolutely fantastic. The support is incredible. Welsh flags are everywhere, so I think they wanted a totally Welsh final.

“It’s nice to have come a long way in a qualifying tournament! I’m looking forward to it. Let’s see what happens.

Face-to-face record

Price and Clayton led Wales to first World Cup success in November 2020

Price and Clayton led Wales to first World Cup success in November 2020

Price dominates the pair’s head-to-head record, having won 11 of their 16 matchups and, more significantly, the world champion has won each of their last eight matchups.

Clayton prevailed in his first two televised fights, though he has been one-way traffic for ‘The Iceman’ ever since, and has won his last three meetings by an aggregate score of 23-7.

Gerwyn Price vs Jonny Clayton – Head to Head

Price Clayton
World Ranking: 1 13
Individual main titles: 5 2
Face-to-face record: eleven 5
Face-to-face TV: 3 2
2021 titles: 4 4

The world number one was left without an 11-3 complete winner in his last World Matchplay fight in July, and Clayton is bidding to oust Price on the televised stage for the first time since November 2017.

However, in their solitary showdown in a PDC final, ‘The Ferret’ managed an 8-5 victory over Price in the final of the Austrian Darts Open in April 2018. Can you repeat the feat tonight?

Can Clayton cause a discomfort?

Wayne Mardle and John Part debate whether Clayton can defeat No. 1 Price in the World Grand Prix final

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Wayne Mardle and John Part debate whether Clayton can defeat No. 1 Price in the World Grand Prix final

Wayne Mardle and John Part debate whether Clayton can defeat No. 1 Price in the World Grand Prix final

Wayne Mardle: “Jonny is pitching at a brilliant pace. His finishing stats throughout the event have been like we’ve never seen before. He’ll feel like he has a real shot.

“The downside is that when he plays Gerwyn he usually underperforms, but if he wins he can go to world number 7. Are there six better players in the world than Jonny Clayton right now?

“The answer is no. He just proved again that he is one of the best in the world. This is all Gerwyn Price’s fault. He has created a monster!”

See the best of the action from the World Grand Prix semi-finals

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See the best of the action from the World Grand Prix semi-finals

See the best of the action from the World Grand Prix semi-finals

John Part: “It’s exciting. We feel like Jonny is fit for both of us, but Price is the leader of the pair. He has always been dominant in head-to-head matches.

“With Jonny, there’s a kind of postponement that continues, towards Gerwyn. He has a lot of respect for him, and he’s probably grateful that the World Cup started him on his way.

“He will have to be a little more aggressive and play for him, not Wales.”

Watch live coverage of the World Grand Prix final on Saturday starting at 8:30 pm – join us on Sky Sports Main Event and Sand for the thrilling conclusion to seven days of dizzying drama

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