Peter Wright and Michael Smith compete for darts’ most prestigious prize as they face off in the final of the…
Peter Wright and Michael Smith compete for darts’ most prestigious prize as they face off in the final of the 2021/22 World Championship at Alexandra Palace on Monday.
Both players are no strangers to the sport’s show-piece occasion, with Wright bidding to join an elite group of five multiple PDC World Champions, while Smith aims to go one better than 2019 by lifting the trophy for the first time.
Wright is in pursuit of a second world title in the space of three years as he bids to defend the £500,000 prize money against his world ranking position and move within touching distance of the world number one spot for the first time.
Wright, who claimed the World Matchplay and Players Championship Finals titles in 2021, is through to his third World Championship final since 2014 and his 18th major final in total, having won six so far.
The tungsten tinker man opened up with a routine straight sets win over Ryan Meikle before averaging 102 in a 4-3 victory over Damon Heta after an inspired change of darts at two sets down.
Wright then swept aside an out of sorts Ryan Searle 4-1 before holding his nerve in a pulsating tie break to edge out emerging star Callan Rydz 5-4 in the Quarter-Finals with another 99 average.
Snakebite then set a new record for the most 180s hit in a William Hill World Championship match as he landed 24 in a stunning 6-4 victory over two-time World Champion Gary Anderson in the Semi-Finals.
Smith has stormed into his second World Championship final in the space of four years and is looking to avenge the heartbreak of his defeat to Michael van Gerwen in 2019.
The number nine seed, who could climb to a career-high world number three by winning the title, has been arguably the stand-out performer of the tournament and is now on the cusp of securing an elusive maiden major trophy.
Four times a beaten major finalist, Smith had suffered successive Last 64 exits at Ally Pally but has brought his ‘A’ game to the stage this time around, and his 106.3 average against Ron Meulenkamp in Round Two remains the highest of the event so far.
Smith, a semi-finalist in the Grand Slam and winner of two Players Championship titles in 2021, has landed 59 maximums so far and is just 13 short of setting a new World Championship record.
Bully Boy has gone on to defeat Willie O’Connor and Jonny Clayton in thrilling encounters with averages of 97 and 99 respectively, before sensationally dethroning reigning champion Gerwyn Price with a 5-4 triumph on New Year’s Day, defying a nine-darter and two missed match darts from the Welshman to win an epic with a 102 average.
He then swept aside ten-time major winner James Wade 6-3 in the Semi-Finals with a 101 average, taking his tournament average to 100.65, almost identical to that of Wright (100.66).
This will be the 38th meeting between the two players, with Wright having won 23 of their previous encounters, including the 2020 Masters final and their only previous fixture on this stage back in 2013.
Their latest show-down gets under way from 8.15pm GMT and will be contested over the best of 13 sets, best of five legs per set.
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