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PDC: It's all or nothing as Smith takes on Wright

Michael Smith and Peter Wright meet in the final of the PDC World Darts Championship on Monday night, toeing the oche at 8.15pm in the sport's showpiece occasion.

Both men have produced magnificent darts to get this far - and the pair needed to be at their best to come through difficult semi-finals.

Smith overcomes Price on route to final

Smith has beaten Ron Meulenkamp, William O'Connor, Jonny Clayton, Gerwyn Price and James Wade on his way to the final. Price was the ante-post favourite, while Clayton was the star of 2021, so the draw has been unkind to Smith.

In the semi-final, the St Helens man was pushed hard by Wade, before completing a 6-3 success. Bully Boy, as Smith is known, averaged 100.98 in his victory over Wade.

Confidence has been coursing through the veins of Smith, who came through matches that went to the final set to see off Clayton and Price, but the buzzing 31-year-old has never won a premier event on the PDC circuit.

He was World Championship runner-up in 2019, beaten 7-3 in the final by Michael van Gerwen, and has also been runner-up in the World Matchplay and the Premier League.

The lack of significant silverware is probably the main reason why Smith is the 11/10 outsider to win tonight's final. Wright has been installed as 4/5 favourite.

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Wright looks to 'defend' title

Wright has already lifted the World Championship trophy - in 2020 - and feels that he is "defending" that title to some degree.

Last year's World Championship was a spectator-free affair, so Wright is of the opinion that the 2021 edition is of less value.

Wright's 'defence' has been impressive, with victories over Ryan Meikle, Damon Heta, Ryan Searle, Callan Rydz and Gary Anderson.

He went 2-0 down against Heta in the third round, but changed his darts and fought back to win 4-2. Wright often tinkers with his equipment in tournaments, but seems to be getting more settled as this event has worn on.

Rydz gave him a really tough examination in the quarter-finals - the inspired Geordie youngster conjured some amazing checkouts - but Snakebite Wright edged through 5-4.

Against compatriot Anderson in the semis, Wright needed to be even better, with Anderson averaging 102.72.

Wright averaged 104.38, setting a new record for the most 180s hit in a match with 24, getting over the line with a 6-4 success.

The 51-year-old complained of a knee injury in his post-match interview, but it has not been serious enough to require physio, so should not prove a major issue in the final.

Smith can be backed at 40/1 to win the final 7-0, while a Wright whitewash is a 33/1 chance. The tournament averages of the pair suggest it will be a lot closer than that, with Smith averaging 100.65 and Wright at 100.66.

As well as the famous Sid Waddell Trophy, the winner will pocket £500,000.

Wright is 23-12 ahead of Smith in head-to-heads. Their only World Championship meeting came in the 2014 event, in round three, with Wright winning 4-3.

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