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Darts – Cazoo Masters Preview

Gerwyn Price aims to get off his sick bed and prove his mettle on Saturday when he starts his campaign at the Cazoo Masters in Milton Keynes.

The Welsh star has been active online in the build-up, with captions on his social media posts complaining he felt rough, although he is still expected to take to the stage to face either Dirk van Duijvenbode or Krzysztof Ratajski on Saturday night.

Fellow Welshman and 2021 champion Jonny Clayton is also among the eight seeded stars in action who will enter round two.

The action starts on Friday in the £275,000 tournament – boosted from £220,000 last year – and will see players ranked from 9-24 on the PDC Order of Merit feature in the first round, including reigning champion Joe Cullen.

Despite some excellent performances, Price has struggled to get over the line in the high-pressure moments in recent weeks and lost his number one ranking status after missing out to PDC World Championship finalist Gabriel Clemens in the quarter final.

He has since re-found his form to reach two finals in two weeks but lost out in both games. In the Bahrain Darts Master’s final, he lost out to World Champion Michael Smith, before then losing 11-5 against Peter Wright in the Nordic Masters final.

On his loss to Peter Wright, Price said: “I wasn’t in the final. I won five legs but probably should have won one, but Peter [Wright] was playing fantastic and all credit to him. He was great in the final.”

“I was burned out in this one – I just had no fight in me, I sort-of rolled over and had my belly ticked, and Peter won so fair play to him. I’ll come good, I’m playing well and doing alright.”

Clayton will also have his eyes on the prize as he looks to put right his performances in the knockout stages of late. He starts against James Wade or Callam Rydz.

“The Ferrett’ fell to a 5-3 defeat to Dimitri Van den Bergh in the PDC World Championship at the quarter final stage before losing out to his fellow countryman Price at his last two events.

Meanwhile, current World Champion Michael Smith will head to Milton Keys in confident mood.

After a few agonising final defeats, Smith won his first major title in 2022, winning the 2022 Grand Slam of Darts.

His 2023 has also gotten off to a perfect start, seeing him beat Michael van Gerwyn to win his first World Championship on his third attempt.

He meets either Damon Heta or Ross Smith.

Peter Wright will also fancy his chances having come off the back of an excellent win at the Nordic Darts Masters, while van Gerwyn will be looking to avenge his World Cup final loss with a big performance at the Marshall Arena.

With so many big names looking confident as they head into the Masters, the prize is anyone’s for the taking.

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