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World Darts Championship: Peter Wright backs Michael Smith for major success after his runner-up finish

Michael Smith, who also lost the 2019 final, was leading 5-4 and had the darts to go within a set of victory, before Peter Wright claimed a 7-5 victory at the Alexandra Palace to become a two-time world champion

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Peter Wright paid an emotional tribute to Michael Smith after beating 'Bully Boy' in the final

New PDC Darts World Champion Peter 'Snakebite' Wright has backed Michael Smith to become a dominant force in the sport once he secures that elusive major title.

Smith fell narrowly short in his bid for a maiden world championship victory, fighting back from 2-0 and 3-2 down to lead 5-4 before Wright rattled off three consecutive sets to claim a thrilling 7-5 victory at the Alexandra Palace.

The Englishman's loss is his sixth runner-up finish in a major final, although Wright - now a two-time World Champion - has predicted Smith to lift the Sid Waddell Trophy in the future.

"It's not about me, it's about the future of darts and this man let me in today," Wright told Sky Sports after his victory. "I shouldn't have had the first set - go and practice your doubles man! I feel so bad because as soon as he gets a major, he'll just trounce everybody."

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Wright lifts the Sid Waddell Trophy for a second time

Wright added: "Obviously I'm over the moon [to win]. Me and Mike [Michael Smith] didn't perform how we can. I can't explain what went wrong for 90 per cent of the match. I just kept swapping darts to try and find something.

"It's just the atmosphere in here. It was really strange tonight and my darts were going in everywhere, but luckily I won.

"The atmosphere in here affected my darts so badly and affected Michael's as well, but it will be Michael's turn [to win] soon."

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Wright and Smith exchanged five ton-plus finishes in their World Championship final encounter at Ally Pally.

Smith's defeat is his second in a world final, three years on from losing 7-3 to Michael van Gerwen, with the ninth seed remaining determined to challenge for his long-awaited TV title in 2022.

"I got five sets instead of three, so I'm getting closer!" Smith told Sky Sports. "I must have done something terrible in a past life because it's doing my head in now. I'll have a bad night tonight but I'll definitely be back on that board and getting ready for the next one.

"I was 2-0 down and wasn't playing the best I could but I kept fighting back and fighting back. In the end, that bullseye wouldn't go in! I had a couple of shots at 104 and stuff, but that's darts I guess."

Part: Wright is a sympathetic and genuine champion

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Wright became the World Darts champion again after beating Smith in the final on Monday

Sky Sports expert John Part praised an 'impeccable' performance from Wright on Monday night as he battled back from 5-4 down to win 7-5 - and also praised his "sympathetic and genuine" words for his opponent.

"It was astounding. It was an impeccable performance," reflected three-time world champion Part.

"It seemed like his tank was empty, it seemed like he was gone for a while, but Michael just lost a touch of energy, enough where Peter could step in and just ride that wave home.

"He is such a great character as well. He has always been one of the more emotional players and it's really beautiful to see, especially his reaction.

"He was on stage almost in tears, he was disappointed for Michael. He is that sympathetic and it is genuine.

"He is a deserving champion and I really hope he gets the year he deserves this year, where he gets to do the full tour, with the full crowds and we can honour him as a champion."

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A look back at the best of the action from the World Darts Championship 2022

2022 Premier League Schedule

Premier League Darts is scheduled to return from Thursday February 3 with all 17 events live on Sky Sports. The line-up is expected to be announced later this month.

Night 1 - Thursday February 3 - Cardiff
Night 2 - Thursday February 10 - Liverpool
Night 3 - Thursday February 17 - Belfast
Night 4 - Thursday February 24 - Berlin
Night 5 - Thursday March 3 - Exeter
Night 6 - Thursday March 10 - Brighton
Night 7 - Thursday March 17 - Nottingham
Night 8 - Thursday March 24 - Rotterdam
Night 9 - Thursday March 31 - Birmingham
Night 10 - Thursday April 7 - Leeds
Night 11 - Thursday April 14 - Manchester
Night 12 - Thursday April 21 - Aberdeen
Night 13 - Thursday April 28 - Dublin
Night 14 - Thursday May 5 - Glasgow
Night 15 - Thursday May 12 - Sheffield
Night 16 - Thursday May 19 - London
Play-Offs - Thursday May 26 - Newcastle

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