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Article: Wright blasts "I am the man to beat"

Wright blasts "I am the man to beat"

PETER WRIGHT admits he’s the “man to beat” after stretching his unbeaten run to 19 games in the Betfred World Matchplay.

The World No.5 comfortably shrugged off Vincent van der Voort to continue his remarkable winning streak after winning three events prior to the Winter Gardens.

Now he faces Simon Whitlock on Wednesday night and believes he can go all the way and finally pick up that famous cup in Blackpool.

Wright said: “I am the man to beat here. No one is playing any good, sorry it’s the truth. Plus I can up it as well.

“The form has been there but only in patches. I’ll play fantastic in one or two legs or one or two games and then play with no consistency at all. 

“Whoever I play in this tournament will have to play well, otherwise they're going home.

“I wasn’t ready win it two years ago. My target was to just get to the final and hopefully play Phil Taylor.

“I wanted to be remembered as the guy who cried his eyes out. No, the guy who played Phil in his last Matchplay final. I achieved that.

“But the last two years since then I’ve approached this tournament with gallstones, toothache, jet lag or family problems. Just feeling really bad.

“However this year there’s nothing at all, fingers crossed all OK for this week!

“A lot of people have been struggling on stage, a lot of the non-seeds on form. For the up-and-coming players coming up onto this stage is a completely different animal.

“It wasn’t a problem being the last match of the round. I wanted to see all the other averages and I wanted to smash it.

“All the Wayne Mardles and pundits come here every year and say Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson, that’s all they say.

“But these years I’ve always said I’ll be in the final or semis, I’ll prove my point. It’s up to the other players to show the world that they are up to that standard as well. 

“It doesn’t bother me though. I can’t get overlooked when I look like this!

“But I don’t deserve the respect, both of them are fantastic players. I’ve only won one major but they’ve won many.

“That’s why they should be looked at and when they turn up, they’re always awesome.”

Wright now takes on Wizard of Oz Whitlock who has revealed he’s been suffering with tendinitis around his elbow.

He added: “If Simon’s injury was that bad he would have lost. I think I can go one better this year, most definitely.

“My form has been helped by the Pro Tours, they are so important. You are up against the best players in the world and anyone can beat you and anyone can hit a nine-darter. That’s been proved by this year the amount of perfect legs that have been hit.

“It’s brilliant practice. No other player gives a monkeys who you are, they are out there to win and that’s why it’s so difficult.”

Whitlock KO’d Scot John Henderson and believes he is now free from injury. He added: “I'm good now. It's really affected me in the last few weeks and I've been a bit restricted.

“Hendo is the nicest guy on tour but, jeez, can that guy play darts! I felt so good in practice and I've been pretty good in Blackpool. I feel comfortable on this stage.”

By Phil Lanning (@lannomedia)

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