Michael van Gerwen is not concerned about the challenge of Gerwyn Price at the PDC World Darts Championship just yet and advises the Welshman to focus on his own fortunes at Alexandra Palace.
Both Van Gerwen and Price turned in fantastic performances on Friday night as the MVG banged in a 104 average to hammer Stephen Bunting 4-0 and the Iceman produced the same average and same scoreline against John Henderson.
The pair are living up to their pre-tournament billing as the two favourites to lift the trophy on New Year’s Day, but the world champion and world number one is not feeling especially threatened just yet.
‘Yeah, I’m really nervous,’ said Van Gerwen of Price. ‘He only beat me once so I think that might be still in his head.
‘He’s a phenomenal player and in his short career he’s done really good, but he hasn’t won a lot yet.
‘Anyone can give me troubles but he first needs to make sure he gets that far [to the final], the same as myself.
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‘You first need to reach the final before we can play each other, there’s a lot of mistakes that can happen and we have to make sure we don’t make them.
‘You’re not allowed to make mistakes and so far I’m not making any.
‘Anyone can stop me but the chances are like this [very small].
‘If I don’t play my A-game and someone plays above their power then anything is possible, but I don’t see that happening.’
Van Gerwen and Price are in opposite sides of the draw so the dream final is a possibility, but Van Gerwen has two more matches to win before that stage, while Price has three.
The Iceman plays his fourth round contest on Saturday night against Simon Whitlock, with Price never having been past this round at Alexandra Palace, while Whitlock is aiming for a fifth quarter-final.
The Welshman is certainly not looking past the Aussie, but he does have a clash in the final against MVG on his mind.
‘I hope he gets through to the final and I hope I do because I don’t want anyone else to jump above me in the rankings. If I don’t win it I want him to win it,’ said Price.
‘Michael’s a fantastic player, by far the best player in the world. It would be nice to get to the World Championship final against him and win it, that would be the best thing in the world.
‘I think I’m in his head a little bit now.’
Van Gerwen is in quarter-final action on Sunday night against Darius Labanauskas.