No, he’s still not done with and at this World Cup. Gabriel Clemens has actually added the next chapter to his historic run at the Darts World Championship and is surprisingly in the semi-finals of the title fights in London. The Saarlander defeated Gerwyn Price 5-1 with the best performance of his career. Who would have thought that possible?
Clemens gave the number one in the world no chance at all and also achieved their first victory in the fifth duel between the two. Clemens continues to write darts history. In 2021, after defeating defending champion Peter Wright, he was the first and, to date, the only German to reach the round of 16. After his win at the end of the year against Scotsman Alan Soutar, he was the first to reach the quarter-finals. So now the next step, which ensures another novelty: for the first time after the World Cup, a German is among the top 20 in the world.
In the last five sets, Clemens gave up just three legs. “Iceman” Price was only able to dominate the stage in the first round of the evening. Price checked 140 to win the first leg and also hit the first 180 of the game in the second leg. This was followed by a 110 high finish to make it 2-0 and 74 points to make it 3-0. The number one didn’t even allow the German to attempt a double field in the first set and started with an average of 107.36.
Clemens, however, reported back passably from the first break and put himself on the scoreboard in 13 darts. In the second leg then the first 180 from “Gaga”, who took the momentum to the break and made it 2-0. For the first time, the German fans in the Alexandra Palace, which was sold out as usual with 3,200 spectators, made themselves loudly heard: “Oh, how beautiful that is” – the song of this World Cup. With a double 18, the set equalization was completed. Clemens had an average of 103.25 and a fantastic double rate of 75 percent. If there were any questions about the form in the new year, they have now been answered.
“It could be important to put pressure on him right from the start and hit my doubles well,” he said before the match. So his own expectations were already fulfilled for the second interruption.
It might also be a good omen that Dimitri van den Bergh beat Jonny Clayton from Wales 5-3 in the afternoon. Clemens prepared for his match on New Year’s Day with the Belgian, who was the first player from his country in World Cup history to qualify for the semi-finals. Because Clemens actually shifted up another gear.
Although it was Price in the third round who started spectacularly with six perfect darts, Clemens was not deterred by the performance of the Ally Pally wasp. When he made the break in the third round to make it 2-1, he had an average of 107 points. For comparison: His best average in a World Championship match before was 98.65.
Clemens confirmed the break and won set three 3-1. The concentration and consistency of the German were impressive. He prepared the win of the fourth round with a 136 high finish to make it 2-1 and then broke the Welshman to make it 3-1 after legs and sets. Just three recordings of the Saarlander had done without a triple up to that point.
A special course that Price countered with a measure never seen before. The “Iceman” came back on stage with opulent hearing protection. There are players who put wax or rubber plugs in their ears, like Mervyn King or Raymond van Barneveld. But a big “Mickey Mouse”? That had never happened before.
Price even messed with the audience, provoking and offering to keep booing the fans. He flirted with gestures that he couldn’t hear her anyway. Clemens was not impressed at all by the measure and confidently won the fourth set in a row. The last round even went to Germany with zero. Insanity! As does his average of 99.94 points. “I am very happy. But it’s more difficult to throw a dart into doubles in the quarterfinals than in the first round,” admitted Clemens, “but I also knew that it would be difficult. Then I just played a good game.”
In the afternoon, alongside Dimitri van den Bergh, Michael Smith also made it into the semi-finals. The Englishman, one of the big favorites for the title, surprisingly had to tremble against Stephen Bunting. In the eighth set, the match threatened to tip over, although the “Bully Boy” had already comfortably led 4:1. “The Bullet” couldn’t use his equalizing chances to make it 4:4, so that Smith finally won 5:3 and now meets Clemens on January 2nd.
Jonny Clayton (WAL/7) – Dimitri van den Bergh (BEL/15) 3:5 (3:0; 0:3; :3)
Michael Smith (ENG/4) – Stephen Bunting (ENG/21) 5:3 (3:2; 0:3; 3:1; 3:1; 3:0; 0:3; 1:3; 3:1)
Gerwyn Price (WAL/1) – Gabriel Clemens (D/25) 1:5 (3:0; 1:3; 1:3; 1:3; 1:3; 0:3)
Michael van Gerwen (ENG/3) – Chris Dobey (ENG/22)
Gabriel Clemens (D/25) – Michael Smith (ENG/4)
Michael van Gerwen (NED/3)/Chris Dobey (ENG/22) – Dimitri van den Bergh (BEL/15)