Suffolk darts ace Peter Wright staying calm ahead of tonight’s Ladbrokes World Darts Championship final
- Credit: PA
Peter Wright insists he won't be treating tonight's Ladbrokes World Darts Championship final against Michael van Gerwen any different to his first round match.
The 43-year-old, from Mendham, Suffolk, cruised into the final on Monday evening when beating Simon Whitlock 6-2 to set up this evening's final against favourite Van Gerwen.
Wright, nicknamed 'Snakebite', has shown composure throughout his run at Alexandra Palace but that will be put to the test against the Dutchman, who was imperious in seeing off Adrian Lewis 6-0 in the semi-final.
'I'll be treating the final the same, as if it's a first round game,' said Wright, who is guaranteed a bumper pay day of at least £100,000 thanks to his success over the last couple of weeks. 'I'll try and block out the occasion and take each leg at a time.'
Wright never looked in any real danger of missing out on the final against Whitlock, who was a finalist in 2010. After landing back-to-back 13-darters in the sixth set Wright moved 5-1 in front and, despite Whitlock pinching a further set, the Scot closed out the match with minimal fuss.
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'I'm over the moon but it's not sunk in properly yet,' said Wright, who ended the game with a 100.24 average. 'I went up there and played a game of darts; I pretended it was a new tournament and the first round.
'I held myself together well throughout. My finishing was excellent – particularly on double 16 – and I didn't give Simon a sniff.
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'I needed to keep Simon under pressure because I know what he can do. He can come back like a train, but I'm getting used to it on the stage and I played my own game.'
Whitlock's run to the last four will see him move up to third in the PDC Order of Merit but that was little consolation after losing out to Wright.
'I tried my hardest and I just wasn't good enough,' said Whitlock. 'Peter was the better player on the day; he took out finishes, his scoring was pretty good and he was the best player.
'Peter hit the big shots at the right time better than I did tonight. It's gut-wrenching because I wanted to be in the final again.
'Peter's been one of the form players this year and I've got a lot of respect for the man. The guy's class and fair play to him.'
Van Gerwen, who lost out to Phil Taylor in the final last year, is the 2/9 favourite to win this evening but he admitted he won't be taking Wright lightly.
'Peter's a great player who has improved himself in the last year, and also in this tournament with some great averages, but I'm playing better game by game,' he said. 'My game's good, my confidence is there and I've got everything in me to be World Champion. This is another dream to be in the final - but this time I hope I can win!'
- Coverage of tonight's final starts from 8pm on Sky Sports One.