Resilient Smith relishing chance to right wrongs of 2019

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Resilient Smith relishing chance to right wrongs of 2019

Michael Smith is relishing the opportunity to avenge his 2019 William Hill World Darts Championship final defeat as he takes on Peter Wright in Monday's Alexandra Palace showdown.

Smith underperformed in his 7-3 to Michael van Gerwen in the 2018/19 final, but his convincing semi-final victory over James Wade on Sunday has given him a shot at redemption.

Three years on from his last final appearance, Smith believes he is better equipped to go one better this time around.

"I want to put things right," said Smith. "I've got a chance to live my dream and rectify what I did wrong in 2019.

"I lost my head in that game. I missed doubles at crucial times and beat myself up about it.

"I'd ever been in a World final before, I just kept looking at the trophy and telling myself I was taking it home.

"I was thinking too much about that rather than playing my natural game. I panicked and flapped around the key moments.

"But I know what I did wrong, I've just got to keep my head now and not get angry with myself."

The 31-year-old has just a Shanghai Masters title to show for his previous eight TV finals, but Smith need look no further than Wright for an example of resilience paying off.

Prior to lifting the Sid Waddell Trophy in 2020, Wright had won only four of his 17 TV finals before winning the sport's biggest title.

"Peter lost his first World final and came back and won the second," said Smith, who missed three match darts to beat Wright in the 2020 Masters final.

"I've lost seven TV finals but I've never once given up. Each time I've lost I've been straight back on the practice board to get myself in the next final.

"If I win the World Championship then those seven final defeats mean nothing.

"But if I did lose I would pick myself back up and go again, like I always do."

Smith's wife and two children will travel down to Ally Pally from their Cheshire home to cheer him on.

"Just looking at their faces will be amazing, but I know their faces will be even brighter and bigger if I lift that trophy," said Smith.

"My kids can go to school and say 'my Dad is a World Champion' and that's all I'm thinking of."

The final of the William Hill World Darts Championship will be contested between Smith and Wright at 2000 GMT on Monday January 3.

The tournament is being broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK, through the PDC's worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7, and on PDCTV (excluding UK and Netherlands based subscribers).

2021/22 William Hill World Darts Championship
Monday January 3 (2000 GMT)
Final

Michael Smith v Peter Wright
Best of 13 sets