Nathan Aspinall will face Michael van Gerwen in Sunday’s World Grand Prix final after upsetting world number one Gerwyn Price 4-2 in Leicester.
The world number 16 has bounced back from a serious wrist injury sustained last year and has been in fine form this tournament, beating Michael Smith, Danny Noppert and Martin Lukeman en route to his maiden World Grand Prix final.
Stockport-born Aspinall was thrilled to reach the showpiece while preventing his Welsh opponent from booking a third straight final appearance.
He told Boyle Sports: “Every game [was a roller-coaster]. I think I should have won the game 4-1. It wasn’t to be.
“Nerves took its toll in the end, you know there’s only so many times you can shake into a triple 20, but fair play to [Price], he started poor by his standards but when he needed to he took some amazing shots.
“But irrelevant of how the game went, to be in a final, I’m absolutely on cloud nine.”
Aspinall took an early lead with a 14-darter and a 113 finish to win the first set.
Price responded, nailing 121 on the bullseye to claim the second set but was in trouble by the fourth, missing two at double 16 and opening up a 3-1 lead for his opponent.
The Welshman bounced back from a 2-1 deficit to claim the fifth set after Aspinall missed a match dart at double 16, and led the sixth after three legs before Aspinall levelled then secured his ticket to the final with a 13-darter.
Van Gerwen, meanwhile, dominated his semi-final match-up with world champion Peter Wright, losing just one leg in the 4-0 victory.
The Dutchman nailed the bullseye for a 167 checkout in the opening leg and was in full control of the contest from then on.
Wright finally put a stop to Van Gerwen’s eight-leg winning streak in the third set of an evening that saw the Scot pin just one maximum to his opponent’s four.
His evening came to a close with more frustrating misses, Van Gerwen capitalising and pinning tops to seal his trip to the final, though his victory was briefly marred after an unexpected stumble into the crowd.
“I think I didn’t make too many mistakes, probably the only mistake was when I doubled away at the end of the game to the lady, when I tripped over the stage” he joked.
“The most important thing is I won this one, and from here on you get confidence.
“Another big final for me, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”