Michael Smith is in dreamland right now.
‘The Bully Boy’ knocked out reigning champion and top seed Gerwyn Price with a stunning 5-4 victory on Saturday night, in which he averaged 101.94, his checkout race was 51.2%, and he threw 16 180s!
“It’s up there as one of the best wins of my career,” he told Sky Sports following the victory. “I thought I played really well and then on his sets I wasn’t doing much.
“That 126 [finish] – when I hit that to go 2-0 up I started shaking like mad. I was trying to compose myself, but luckily in the end I got there.
“I just kept saying to myself going for that D12 – look what you’ve been working on for the last 12 months, just focus and flow and luckily enough it went in.”
And he was thrilled to put recent struggles against the Iceman aside to progress to the semi-final.
“I’ve overcome a ten-game losing streak against Gez! [Price] Gez started off the first set playing really well, and then I felt I was in control, I just kept giving him legs and not scoring,” he noted.
“The 180s and 140s were flying in and I just knew going into that last set, if I could produce it, I would be okay then.”
Opportunity now knocks for the ninth seed, who has never picked up a major PDC title.
“I’m in the semi-finals. I’m one more step from making another final and living out my dream and that is all I’m thinking about now,” he said.
“This is my chance. I know I’ve got to take a game at a time, but I know at the back of my mind, you cannot blank it out.”
He faces James Wade on Sunday night, for the right to play Peter Wright or Gary Anderson in Monday’s decider.
Live World Darts Championship
January 2, 2022, 7:30pm
Price misses out in a game for the ages
The Welshman played his part, even hitting a nine-dart finish. But if anything, that streak of perfection seemed to spur Smith on.
“I wanted him to hit it because I thought it might mess with his mind, because once you hit a nine it’s hard to follow it,” Smith said. “I’m just happy.”
And there was further controversy when Price paused the match to request that a heckler in the crowd be removed from the venue.
“Someone in the back kept shouting my name and it was putting me off as well. Because it was getting to a tighter game Gezzy started giving it more and more and more,” Smith noted.
“Gezzy has proved now for the last three or four years – this is what he loves. He loves being the pantomime villain, and he just gave me that one tonight. I got away with it. “
Watch the semi-finals of the PDC World Championship live on Sky Sports Darts from 7:30pm Sunday.