PDC World Darts Championship: Michael Smith and Peter Wright in final

By Siân PriceBBC Sport at Alexandra Palace
Smith and Wright
Smith and Wright will face off aiming to win the Sid Waddell trophy and £500,000

Peter Wright and Michael Smith will meet in the final of the PDC World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace in London.

In the first semi-final match of the evening, England's Smith beat compatriot James Wade 6-3 to reach his second world championship final.

Scotland's Wright prevailed 6-4 over compatriot Gary Anderson superbly to make his third final appearance.

The final takes place at London's Alexandra Palace on Monday.

A spectacular semi

Wright set a new record of 24 180s thrown in any world championship match, the former champion beating Gary Anderson's record of 22 back in 2017.

In what was the second semi-final of the night, the world number two Wright, 51, won the first three sets of the match, despite a wonderful 116 checkout from Anderson to break Wright's throw in the opening leg of the second set.

The match was closer than the score suggested, with both players playing high-quality darts, averaging just over 100 each for the match.

Two-time champion Anderson came back from 3-0 down to break Wright's throw in the first leg of the fourth set and held his throw with a double, double finish of 92 to win the set and close the gap to Wright to 3-1.

The sixth seed Anderson won the fifth set 3-1, taking out a brilliant 105 checkout, finding bullseye on his first dart and hitting double tops to win the set.

The current World Matchplay champion Wright just missed double 12 for a nine-darter in the second leg of the sixth set, eventually winning the leg with 12 darts, and he broke Anderson's throw to win the set and lead 4-2.

Anderson opened the seventh set with an 11-dart leg and broke Wright's throw to win the set and go within one set of Wright at 4-3.

Both players broke each other's throw in the eighth set and Wright broke again with only 11 darts to win the set and go 5-3.

In the ninth set last year's runner-up Anderson broke Wright's throw to win, but it was the 2020 world champion who held his nerve and threw a 116 checkout to win the match and book his place in the final.

Wright said: "Obviously we had to try and live up to Michael Smith's match yesterday with Gerwyn Price. I wanted to be better than that match and hopefully it was great for the crowds and all the viewers."

"I had Gary coming back at me like a train and I had to try and de-rail him and put a stop on him and luckily enough I did," he added.

"Hopefully I become a double-world champion and stop Michael, it will be a great match with loads more 180s, I think."

Smith takes advantage of mistakes

In the first semi-final of the evening, Smith, 31, won the opening two sets of the match with a huge 105 match average but Wade took the third set in the fifth leg with a 12 dart break of throw, ending on a cool 121 checkout.

The fourth seed Wade, 38, had the momentum in the fourth set, breaking Smith's throw in the second leg and just missing the bull for a 170 checkout in the third leg to win the set before his opponent broke back.

Smith, the 2019 world championship runner-up, held his throw to level the set and broke back hitting the double 10 under pressure with Wade waiting on 20 to take the set and lead 3-1.

Wade broke former world champion runner-up Smith's throw with another 121 checkout in the first leg of the fifth set but Smith broke straight back and it was Hampshire's Wade who missed a handful of darts to hold his throw with Smith taking advantage to win the set and extend his lead to 4-1.

Smith, from St Helens, hit a great 130 bullseye checkout to win the opening leg of the sixth set and went on to win the set, but Wade fought back to win the seventh set 3-1 to make it 5-2.

It was level on two legs apiece in the eighth set and the current UK Open champion Wade got back into the match as he held his throw to win the set and reduce Smith's lead to 5-3.

In the ninth and final set a controlled Smith broke Wade's throw in the fourth leg to win the set and match.

Smith is yet to win a major darts title and Monday's final will be in his sixth major final.

"It feels good. The first set was dodgy but the next five felt great and I was trying to convince myself it was one more set to make the final made it a lot more difficult," said Smith.

"I'm proud of myself the way I held my head together and come out with my darts. I hit the right scores at the right time and my doubles went in again."

Smith's 2019 World Championship 7-3 final loss to Michael van Gerwen is top of his mind going into the final.

"Peter [Wright] and Gary [Anderson] both lost their first final and came back on their second attempt to both win their finals and now I'm thinking that's an omen. I have a chance now to rectify what I did wrong in 2019," he added.

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