Bunting Bullied Out By Smith

Red Dragon Darts

Grand Slam of Darts champion Smith moved to within a win of his third World Championship final in five years with a hard-fought 5-3 defeat of Bunting.

Smith, who came through a seventh-set decider against Martin Schindler in the last 16, looked to be cruising into the final four as he raced into a 4-1 lead against his profligate St Helens rival.

However, 2021 semi-finalist Bunting came roaring back, winning six of the next seven legs to reduce the arrears to 4-3 and threaten an extraordinary fightback.

Nevertheless, the eighth set saw Bunting spurn a string of darts at doubles and Smith capitalised, holding his nerve on double ten to advance to the last four for the second straight year.

“I wasn’t at my best up there today,” admitted Smith, who will become the new world number one if he scoops the £500,000 top prize on January 3.

“I managed to dig deep when I needed it and when I was under pressure I managed to hit doubles.

“For most of the tournament I’ve been winning ugly, but I’m into the semi-finals.

“I put myself under too much pressure. Today felt weird on stage, but I when I needed to produce something I found it.”

The semi-finals will take place on a blockbuster Monday night, with German trailblazer Clemens up against fourth seed Smith for a place in Tuesday’s showpiece.

Van Gerwen will then continue his bid for a fourth World Championship crown against Van den Bergh, who is aiming to become the first Belgian player to lift the coveted Sid Waddell Trophy.

Click here for match stats & results

2022/23 Cazoo World Darts Championship
Sunday January 1
Afternoon Session
2x Quarter-Finals
Dimitri Van den Bergh 5-3 Jonny Clayton (0-3, 3-0, 1-3, 3-0, 2-3, 3-2, 3-1, 3-2)
Michael Smith 5-3 Stephen Bunting (3-2, 0-3, 3-1, 3-1, 3-0, 0-3, 1-3, 3-1)

Evening Session
2x Quarter-Finals
Gabriel Clemens 5-1 Gerwyn Price (0-3, 3-1, 3-1, 3-1, 3-1, 3-0)
Michael van Gerwen 5-0 Chris Dobey (3-1, 3-1, 3-0, 3-0, 3-1)

Monday January 2 (1930 GMT)
2x Semi-Finals
Gabriel Clemens v Michael Smith
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Michael van Gerwen
Best of 11 sets

Tuesday January 3 (2000 GMT)
Clemens/Smith v Van den Bergh/Van Gerwen
Best of 13 sets


Images: Taylor Lanning / PDC

Images: PDC

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