Humphries edges epic comeback on blockbuster quarter-final night World Grand Prix.
Luke Humphries came from behind to defeat Peter Wright and advance to the BoyleSports World Grand Prix semi-finals in Leicester on Friday.
Former finalist Wright started brilliantly to take a dominating two-set lead, but he was left stunned as determined Humphries scraped himself off the canvas to make a stunning comeback.
Wright averaged 99 to secure a high-quality first set, and the colourful Scot quickly doubled his tally, following up a clinical 100 kill with a 16-dart hold to leave Humphries staring down the barrel.
After surviving three match darts in a dramatic climax to set four, the 28-year-old cut the lead in half before converting 133 and 92 finishes to restore parity at two apiece.
Humphries’ drive continued with a 109 checkout to move a leg closer to gold, and despite Wright’s best attempts, the sixth seed held his composure to win in a thrilling last-leg shoot-out.
“That could be one of the greatest wins of my career,” declared Humphries, who will now feature in a second successive TV ranking semi-final.
“I can’t really put that into words. That was prime Peter – that was Peter Wright at his best. I put everything into that game, and I’m so proud of myself. That is a massive win for me.
“I never make it easy for myself, but you don’t expect it to be easy. We have so many great players here, and I’m probably going to have to play as well as that in the semi-finals.”
Gerwyn Price and Michael Smith both won straight-sets in Friday’s quarter-final action, setting up a mouth-watering semi-final duel on Saturday.
Price, the field’s lone former winner, advanced to the final four with a crushing win against Martin Schindler, who had a night to forget at the Morningside Arena.
Schindler blew five darts to win the first leg and never recovered, losing eight straight legs as a merciless Price charged towards the finish line.
Schindler finally broke through with a 12-dart break midway through set three, only for Price to punish more missed opportunities from the German to round up a dominant performance.
“Martin was way off the pace, so I just had to concentrate on my own game,” said Price, who is yet to drop a set in this year’s tournament.
“I’m nowhere near the heights I can reach, but I’m still here and I think the extended format is a little more favourable for me, so hopefully I can lift this title for a second time.”
The 2020 champion will now face world number one Smith, who defeated UK Open champion Andrew Gilding in his first double-start semi-final.
Gilding hit a maximum on his way to an early throw, but Smith took control with a run of six straight legs, boosted by a 104 checkout, to move into the last four.
The St Helens star then withstood Gilding’s back-to-back 14-darters to clinch a straight-sets victory, producing a 13-darter in a third-set decider to keep his cool.
“My scoring was non-existent, but I think my finishing to end legs was superb tonight,” reflected Smith, who has relinquished just six legs in his run to the semi-finals.
“Me and Gezzy always have great games. It will be played in a good spirit, and it will be nice to have a really fast-paced game and put on a great show for this crowd.
In the evening’s finale, Joe Cullen used a magnificent 121 checkout to defeat Chris Dobey in a difficult five-set battle, coming back from 2-1 down to reach a sixth televised semi-final.
Cullen stormed out of the gate, winning the first four legs to take the lead, only for Dobey to answer with three consecutive legs of his own, ending in a 12-darter, to draw the game.
Dobey, who knocked out incumbent champion Michael van Gerwen in the last 16, fought back to win a tough third set, but Cullen came back with a vengeance to win the fourth.
The former Premier League runner-up broke Dobey’s double problems with legs of 13 and 10 darts to force a fifth set.
“If I’m completely honest, if that 121 finish didn’t go in, I would have probably lost the game,” conceded Cullen, who has now broken into the world’s top ten for the first time.
“I felt so focused, and I want to give myself the best possible chance. I think this [fightback] will stand me in good stead, and I will take that confidence into tomorrow.
“Luke is a great lad. He dug in tonight and showed his fighting qualities, so I will have to perform tomorrow, but this double-start [format] is a massive leveller.”
2023 BoyleSports World Grand Prix
Friday October 6
Gerwyn Price 3-0 Martin Schindler (3-0, 3-0, 3-1)
Michael Smith 3-0 Andrew Gilding (3-1, 3-0, 3-2)
Luke Humphries 3-2 Peter Wright (1-3, 2-3, 3-1, 3-2, 3-2)
Joe Cullen 3-2 Chris Dobey (3-0, 1-3, 1-3, 3-1, 3-1)
Saturday October 7 (2000 BST)
Michael Smith v Gerwyn Price
Joe Cullen v Luke Humphries
Best of 7 Sets