Thursday 23 January 2020

Wright on top of World after 'Snakebite' fights back

Peter Wright celebrates. Photo: Tess Derry/PA Wire.
Peter Wright celebrates. Photo: Tess Derry/PA Wire.

James Hall

Peter Wright believes his first PDC World Championship title is reward for never giving up after he defied the odds to beat Michael van Gerwen 7-3 at Alexandra Palace.

It was a triumph of patience and perseverance for the 49-year-old, who lost to Van Gerwen in the 2014 final, as he denied his world No 1 opponent a fourth title.

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'Snakebite' Wright won three successive sets to leave his illustrious opponent floundering, delivering the goods after suffering 59 career defeats, including a number of major televised finals, against Van Gerwen and claiming a £500,000 (€590,000) top prize.

"The chances I used to give Michael, he gave me them," Wright told Sky Sports. "'Champion of the world' sounds amazing. You should never give up, it doesn't matter how many times you get beaten. I've done it."

Rue

Van Gerwen was left to rue missed opportunities. He added: "Of course I'm very disappointed. Everything I missed, he took out. His finishing was phenomenal and I can only blame myself."

The opening two legs went against the throw and Van Gerwen was agonisingly close to a 170 checkout in a first-set decider, narrowly missing the bullseye, before Wright closed out a double-top finish. It was exactly the start Wright needed and he continued a high-class opening in set two - taking it 3-1 and opening up a clear early advantage.

Van Gerwen, though, hit back immediately, needing just 37 darts to whitewash Wright in set three, when he averaged 122, before a tight, tense fourth set also went the Dutchman's way 3-2.

Van Gerwen inexplicably missed six darts at a double in leg three, but Wright retained his accuracy, taking the set 3-1 and regaining overall control. Van Gerwen pegged his opponent back by making it 4-3 before Wright would win the next set and wasn't denied another. He closed out the match with a double 10 to see him crowned champion.

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