- PDC World Championship
Brilliant Wright upstages Whitlock for final spot
Peter Wright produced another breathtaking performance on the Alexandra Palace stage to upstage Simon Whitlock 6-2 and deservedly book a career-first spot in the final of the PDC World Championship.
Wright showed no signs of nerves as he quickly wrapped up the first set. Five perfect darts helped him to an immediate break, before two routine holds either side of Whitlock finding double top meant 'Snakebite' drew first blood.
It got worse for Whitlock as Wright edged a tight opening leg in the second before capitalising on four missed doubles from the Australian to finish 64 for another break. However, Whitlock crucially checked out 87 for an immediate response and held on double 18 to send the second into a decider; but Wright effortlessly finished tops with his last dart to double his lead.
Despite Whitlock having reached the world final in 2010, Wright looked much more comfortable with the occasion as he hit double five for another rapid break in a crucial third set. The fifth seed hit back by kicking off with a maximum before landing double 16 to retain the advantage, but after failing to see out 110 his opponent struck back once more. Wright sealed his superb start on double 16 to move into a three-nil lead.
Whitlock needed some inspiration he found it at the start of the fourth set; a 130 finish on the bullseye for a break of throw, followed by a hold of his own. With Wright narrowly missing double eight to send it into a decider, Whitlock finished tops to stop the rot.
However the interval came at the wrong time for Whitlock, who failed to capitalise on the momentum. Wright took out 62 for yet another break before a superb 110-out on double 18 moved him further clear. Whitlock found composure after Wright failed to take out 124 but it was not for long, as the 16th seed continued his brilliant run of two-dart finishes to gain a 4-1 lead.
'The Wizard' conjured a 180 and 140 combination to put himself in a commanding position in the opening leg of the sixth, but poor finishing again squandered any hopes of a much-needed break of throw. It cost Whitlock, who then missed double 16 for a 104-hold and allowed his opponent to break on tops. Double eight was fluently dispatched by Wright as he moved one set away from a first ever world championship final appearance.
Whitlock again missed the chance to hold in the opening leg of the seventh, allowing Wright to complete 84 on his last dart for an immediate advantage. However, the favourite responded with the same out shot and narrowly sealed a deciding leg to keep his hopes alive.
A narrow hold from Wright set up a tense finish before five perfect darts for the second time of the match provided the critical break chance, which he took brilliantly on double four. However, nerves suddenly kicked in and Whitlock hit back to delay the party. One match dart passed Wright by, but he made no mistake on his return, landing double eight to seal a famous victory.
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