Peter Wright claimed a second World Series of Darts title after beating Michael Smith 11-8 in the final of the Melbourne Darts Masters at the Hisense Arena.
Wright became the fifth winner from five World Series events in 2018 and secured his second title on the PDC’s world tour after victory in the German Darts Masters in 2017.
The Scot, who was beaten in the final by Phil Taylor in Melbourne a year earlier, first defeated Michael van Gerwen in the last four before going on to claim victory over Shanghai Darts Masters Champion Smith in a hard fought final.
The decider began with the pair trading holds of throw, with neither player able to make too much of a mark when their opponent threw first.
A 120 checkout to level in the sixth leg from Smith with Wright sat on tops to break, was the highlight of the opening exchanges.
The 2017 UK Open Champion squandered three darts at a double in the eighth leg to break the throw and take a 5-3 lead, allowing Smith to step in and level once more.
The holds of throw continued until late in the contest when in the 14th leg with Smith waiting on 60, Wright took out 130 on double five to break and lead 8-6.
Smith came straight back at Wright though, hitting a 180 before pinning tops to break straight back.
The crucial moment in the match came in leg 16 when another magical finish from Wright, this time a 131, broke the throw and handed control of the contest to the Scot.
The 48-year-old eventually sealed an 11-8 win and spoke of his delight to be back on the winners podium.
“It wasn’t the best final ever in terms of averages and scores but it was a battle and I’m so happy to prove winning on the World Series in Germany last year wasn’t a fluke,” said Wright after the final.
“I lost a bit of my confidence over the last few months and felt like I was getting smashed up by a lot of players and was really struggling with my game.
“Winning here feels great, I got to the final last year but couldn’t beat Phil so to go one better this year is a sign that I can start to turn things around,” concluded the Premier League ace.
It was Smith’s second final on the World Series in 2018 but unlike in Shanghai the former World Youth Champion was unable to claim the title with a final victory.
“Fair play to Peter he deserved that tonight, It was a tough match and he got the job done,” said Smith.
“It’s another final for me though and more proof that I’m getting to where I want to be, things are starting to improve and I’m happy.”
The pair of Smith and Wright faced daunting challenges in their respective semi-finals with match-ups against Gary Anderson and Michael van Gerwen.
Like in the semi-final of the 2018 Premier League, Smith got one over on his mentor and friend Anderson, running out an 11-5 winner.
The 27-year-old averaged 100 and hit eight maximums on his way to victory in a match he controlled throughout.
Peter Wrght’s passage to the final was a sealed with a 11-7 win over world number one Michael van Gerwen.
The Scot punished Van Gerwen for missing 14 darts at doubles and averaged 103.47 as he secured his place in the decider.
The final saw ‘Snakebite’ average 97, two points less than his opponent but the statistic that mattered read 11-8 in Wright’s favour as he claimed the title in Melbourne.
Sunday August 12 (7pm)
Schedule of Play
Michael Smith 11-5 Gary Anderson
Michael van Gerwen 7-11 Peter Wright
Michael Smith 8-11 Peter Wright
All best of 21