John Henderson has been dubbed the second best player in the world by Michael van Gerwen - now he wants to prove it.
The Huntly hurler roared past Marko Kantele to end his first round curse at the Ally Pally and now faces World No 4 Daryl Gurney tonight (Saturday).
But Hendo, 44, remains the last player to beat MVG in the Grand Prix two months ago and loves the tag given to him by the world champion.
He said: “Michael has said in a few interviews that I’m the second best player in the world because I beat him!
“I’ll settle for that. There’s worse things to be called, trust me. But it’s nice of him to be like that, it’s typical of the man.
“We’re in the same Modus Sports management team and we’ve spoken a few times. It’s very friendly between us, but obviously I’m making the most of the chance to have some banter about beating him.
“I don’t think I’ll get that opportunity very often. To be fair to him he takes it very well. He was very gracious and said I was the best man on the day.
“It’s remarkable to think I was the last player to beat him back at the start of October. He will take some stopping in this World Championships, he’s been unstoppable since we played.
“I did get a lot of confidence from beating Michael. If you can’t get confidence from that you never will. I’m still the last person to beat him, it’s a nice record to have.
“But now it’s up to me to prove I’m the second best player in the world. I want to be more consistent and produce better performances for an entire tournament.”
Now Hendo faces Daryl Gurney who ended his best major run for years at the Grand Prix in Dublin in their semi-final clash.
But hugely-popular Highlander admits he feels re-born after getting over his first round curse against the Finn Kantele.
He added: “It was a big of an ugly win, but I’d rather win ugly than lose after playing well. I didn’t care how I got over the line, I just had to win.
“I was desperate to get last year’s defeat to Andrew Gilding out of my system. That had such an effect on me, I nearly quit over it.
“I went 2-0 up against Marko and I looked across at my wife Veronica and said ‘not again’. I then managed to go up a gear to stop any repeat.
“I looked up at the Gods after I won to thank my lucky stars and I feel completely refreshed now to get that monkey off my back.
“The Ally Pally hasn’t been kind to me over the years, that was only my second win on this stage and now I need to stay focused.
“I don’t look at any match as revenge on any player when I play Daryl Gurney in the next round, I’m a nice guy.
“But I’d love to get one over Daryl. He’s a good guy and he’s playing well so I’m looking forward to Saturday.
“It’ll be a great game like it was in the Grand Prix, the best man will win.
“But hopefully I can find my A game for Saturday because I’ll need to improve against Daryl because he’s playing very well.”
By Phil Lanning (@lannomedia)