Peter Wright admits he is fired-up to face the ‘Machine Gun’ Jermaine Wattimena in a BoyleSports World Grand Prix battle.
The Livingston-born star lined-up a clash with the quick Dutchman with a comfortable win over Max Hopp on Monday night.
Snakebite was rocked by Hopp taking the opening leg with a 14-darter but hit back to win the first set in a deciding leg before taking the second by a 3-1 scoreline.
Wright admitted: “It's a good win for me because it's always tough in the first round, so I'm happy. The performance could have been better, but I'm through and that's all that matters.
“I’m feeling knackered. Obviously happy with the win but Max can play a lot better than that and so can I.
“I’m now through to take on Jermaine Wattimena but I would have preferred Adrian Lewis to be honest. I played Jermaine in the same round here last year so hopefully the same result.
“It’s tough playing the last game on the last night. What’s that all about? Why put me on last of last of last?!
“It’s nice to be in the tournament that long when everyone else is going out I’m still in. I felt sorry for Gary Anderson on Sunday night playing at half past 11.
“I got new darts tonight and they feel really nice. I decided to use them. The plan is to win as many legs possible and win it!”
Wright also knows he needs to try and repeat his run to the final in Dublin like 12 months ago or faces falling down the rankings.
He added: “This tournament doesn’t set you up for the rest of the year because it’s a different format. It can move you up the rankings, that’s about it.
“I’m not a ranking watcher but my father-in-law is and so is my wife Jo and he reminded me in Gibraltar. He came down to breakfast and it wasn’t ‘good morning’ it was ‘by the way you’re world No.8 now, you’ve dropped’!
“I get reminded every single day that I keep dropping down the rankings. That’s only happened because I’m defending so much and the players behind me are doing so well.
“If you don’t play well, you’re going to get overtaken.”
Danny Noppert defeated third seed Daryl Gurney in straight sets for one of his finest victories since joining the PDC.
Northern Irish ace Gurney took an early 2-1 lead, but paid the price for missing five set darts across the next two legs as Noppert capitalised, before the Dutchman took the second without reply.
Noppy said: “It feels good. Daryl missed a lot of doubles and I took my chances, and to win against a top 10 player is brilliant for me.
“I'm over the moon with this win and it means a lot to me. I'm in the tournament now and looking forward to Wednesday evening."
Noppert now meets UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall, who dropped just one leg as he swept past Vincent van der Voort to enjoy a winning World Grand Prix debut.
Stephen Bunting sealed a place in the last 16 with a straight sets victory over Jonny Clayton, punishing the Welsh ace for 24 missed doubles across the contest. Gerwyn Price also crashed out at the hands of Dave Chisnall.
By Phil Lanning (@lannomedia)
Photography courtesy of Lawrence Lustig