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World Matchplay Darts - PDC: Final preview

Two of the biggest names in darts square off in a blockbuster final at the Winter Gardens, looking to secure the World Matchplay title.

What

PDC World Matchplay Darts, final

Where

Winter Gardens, Blackpool

When

21:15, Sunday 24th July

How to watch

Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Action

Odds

Michael van Gerwen 6/5, Gerwyn Price 4/6

World number one and nine-dart king strikes again

Gerwyn Price has returned to number one spot on the PDC Order of Merit after his performance at this year's World Matchplay and the Iceman celebrated in style with a nine-dart finish in his semi-final against Danny Noppert.

That was Price's fourth perfect leg of the year, a PDC record and it capped a dominant display as he beat Noppert 17-11, averaging 102.37 in the process.

The Welshman got the better of Martin Schindler, Dave Chisnall and Jose de Sousa on the way to the final four, registering the best three-dart average of 104.64 in his quarter-final win over de Sousa.

Now the Iceman is on the brink of his first major title since he won the 2021 Grand Slam of Darts after fighting back from a hand injury to recapture his form of old.

Despite his dominant displays in this year's event, this is actually the first time Price has ever got past the quarter-finals at this tournament in eight attempts.

The new world number one now faces Michael van Gerwen, looking to win his first ever World Matchplay.

MvG gets the job done

Van Gerwen has not been as convincing as Price throughout his run to the final of this year's World Matchplay, but he has got the job done nevertheless.

After a scrappy first round win over Adrian Lewis, the Green Machine turned on the style against Joe Cullen and Nathan Aspinall to reach Saturday night's semi-final against Dimitri van den Bergh, recording a 101.86 three-dart average in a 16-4 win over the Asp.

Van Gerwen trailed for much of what was a cagey semi-final against van den Bergh, before winning seven of the last eight legs to come from 13-10 down to win 17-14.

That grit and determination to get the job done has been a mainstay throughout van Gerwen's career and demonstrated why he has won as many majors as he has.

The Dutchman is into the final of the World Matchplay for the first time since 2016 and is looking to secure his third title at the Winter Gardens.

The 33-year-old reached the final in 2014, 2015 and 2016, winning the latter pair, and now has returned to the showpiece just weeks after recovering from surgery.

Price looking to get improve head-to-head record

As Price was rising through the ranks of the PDC, he found it almost impossible to get the better of van Gerwen.

The Dutchman won 18 of their first 19 meetings, with the other a draw. The Iceman finally got his first victory at the 20th attempt in the 2019 Grand Slam semi-final.

Since then the pair have won seven matches each between each other but MvG still has a major advantage in the head-to-head standings.

Tight final set to ensue

Given the quality of the two players, this could be set up to be a blockbuster final. Price's scoring has been heavier throughout the tournament but van Gerwen has shown plenty of grit to squeeze out legs, even when not playing at his best.

That ability to grind out legs means he could drag Price into a proper battle and the over 32.5 legs line at 11/8 is of interest as a result.

Four of the last eight matches between these two have gone to a deciding leg so don't be surprised if supporters of either player are in for a long evening in Blackpool.

Slow start could hamper MVG but he may finish strong

Van Gerwen has started slowly in a few of his games during the tournament before growing into them, particularly the semi-final where he was 4-1 down after the first mini-session. As a result, the 6/4 about Price to be ahead after six legs may be of interest with the Iceman usually up and running quickly.

However, the Dutchman is a wily operator and should be able to claw his way back into the contest. Both men are fiery characters so expect dramatics on stage.

At the prices, it may be worth chancing van Gerwen to come out on top. Although Price has been the outstanding player of the tournament he has not yet faced someone of MvG's calibre and his ability to hang about means he could win a protracted final.

The 6/5 about the Dutchman picking up his third World Matchplay trophy looks more than fair.

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