The direct comparison spoke in his favor with 8:2, he had won the last two duels in November at the Grand Slam of Darts, he had never lost against his opponent on a TV stage, and the form also seemed to suit him to speak, but in the end Raymond van Barneveld was caught up in his own words during his duel against Gerwyn Price: “It’s a new match. It also reduces Gerwyn against me, no matter what was before or that he’s number one,” he had previously said. Not without beating down the stats, of course.
In the end, the third round game of the darts world championship, which was played in “best-of-seven” mode, was reduced to just four sets. The world number one remained impressively stable and didn’t offer any weaknesses. With a 4-0 win for the “Iceman” against the reinvigorated five-time world champion, very few had expected, including himself. In the end, Price was only one point higher on average (94:93), but in the duel he scored 20 more throws on doubles than his experienced opponent and never gave up his throw.
The 55-year-old had not missed an opportunity to refer to his new strength. He is ready to do something big again. And at the latest since his advance to the semi-finals at the Grand Slam, he had to be trusted. However, the Dutchman had no chance against Price. Only in the decider of the third movement did hope flare up again for a short time. After Price missed four set darts, crowd favorite “Barney” got the chance to make it 1:2, but missed double eight.
The 18-year-old Welshman, on the other hand, presented a confident performance, although the starting position had been quite tricky. He knew it wasn’t just the five-time world champion that he would be dealing with that night. “I will play against a ‘maybe Dutchman’ or an Englishman. That doesn’t make it any easier,” Price said after his success at the start about Luke Woodhouse, looking at the audience. In the case of van Barneveld, who prevailed against the Englishman Ryan Meikle, nationality does not play a role, he is frenetically celebrated by his “Barney Army” all over the world – especially in Alexandra Palace, where he has not been in the past three years made it to the third round.
And for Price, the stakes are high in London. Due to his title win in 2021, he will initially lose 500,000 pounds in the world rankings calculated on the results of the past two years. It is necessary to reduce the delta round by round. “It’s an ultimate pressure that I’ve never felt before,” says the Welshman, who could fall to fifth place in the world rankings. In order to defend his top position, he would have to win the title again and hope for an exit from defending champion Peter Wright before the semi-finals. A burden that, unlike his moderate start against Luke Woodhouse, was no longer noticeable against van Barneveld.
In any case, with the mental strength demonstrated on Tuesday evening, a lot seems possible again. “I beat Raymond on the TV stage. Now he doesn’t have to talk about it anymore,” Price called into the microphone after his win, indicating how much his opponent’s chatter had bothered him.
In the round of 16 he now meets Ryan Searle, an Englishman, or the Portuguese Jose de Sousa. Another win could lead to a duel with Gabriel Clemens in the quarter-finals if the Saarlander is the first German in World Cup history to reach the round of the last eight. At the beginning of the evening, the “German Giant” beat Jim Williams 4:3 in an extraordinary thriller.
In the afternoon, alongside Dimitri van den Bergh and Jonny Clayton, youngster Josh Rock also reached the round of 16. The 21-year-old Northern Irishman defeated Nathan Aspinall 4:3 in a high quality and exciting match. Wednesday afternoon is dedicated to Gary Anderson, who, like in the past twelve years, wants to reach the round of 16, and tournament favorite Michael van Gerwen in the evening. In the last match, Strausberger Martin Schindler wants to create a surprise against Michael Smith and reach the round of 16 as the second German.
Dimitri van den Bergh (BEL/15) – Krzysztof Ratajski (POL/18) 4:1 (3:2; 3:0; 0:3; 3:1; 3:1)
Nathan Aspinall (ENG/10) – Josh Rock (NIR) 3:4 (2:3; 3:1, 3:1; 1:3; 2:3; 3:0; 1:3)
Jonny Clayton (WAL/7) – Brendan Dolan (NIR/26) 4:1 (3:2; 3:2; 3:2; 2:3; 3:2)
Jim Williams (WAL) – Gabriel Clemens (D/25) 3:4 (1:3; 3:0; 1:3; 3:2; 3:1; 2:3; 1:3)
Gerwyn Price (WAL/1) – Raymond van Barneveld (NED/32) 4:0 (3:1; 3:1; 3:2; 3:1)
Peter Wright (SCO/2) – Kim Huybrechts (BEL/31)
3rd round (from 1.45 p.m.):
Ryan Searle (ENG/16) – Jose de Sousa (ENG/17)
Danny Noppert (NED/9) – Alan Soutar (SCO)
Gary Anderson (SCO/11) – Chris Dobey (ENG/22)
from 8.15 p.m.:
Joe Cullen (ENG/13) – Damon Heta (AUS/20)
Michael van Gerwen (NED/3) – Mensur Suljovic (AUT/30)
Michael Smith (ENG/4) – Martin Schindler (D/29)