Anglian darts rivals Peter Wright and Mervyn King to clash at World Grand Prix
East Anglian darts rivals Peter Wright and Mervyn King will battle it out for a place in the quarter-finals of the World Grand Prix in Dublin tonight, writes Alex Moss.
Mendham-based Wright, ranked third in the world, became only the fourth player in PDC history to win 10 tournaments in a season when he won the International Darts Open in Germany last month.
The Scot defeated King on the way to winning one of his 10 titles this year, beating the former World Masters champion 6-2 in the final of the European Darts Open in July.
Wright holds a superior 11-5 record in competition over his former pairs partner, however Ipswich-born King boasts a superior record in the World Grand Prix, having reached the final in 2012, as well as a semi-final back in 2008.
Meanwhile, Wright, who is now the tournament favourite this week following the departures of world numbers one and two Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson, has never got past the last 16 in five previous appearances.
The third seed survived two match darts as he came from a set behind to beat former world champion Stephen Bunting in a sudden-death leg in the first round on Monday night.
Trailing 2-1 in the final set, having earlier lost the opener 3-1 and then levelled with three straight legs in the second, Wright saw his opponent miss two match darts at double 16 to send him out of the tournament.
Wright then won the final two legs of the match to edge through to a second-round meeting with King, and admitted he was ‘relieved’ to still be in the running for the £100,000 first prize in Ireland.
“It was close and I’m relieved to get through that,” Wright said.
“I’ve had many great battles with Stephen and it’s often a close game and this was another of those.
“I’m just glad to be through and still be in the tournament because it’s always nervy playing over the short distance with the double-start format.”
The winner will play Mensur Suljovic or Steve West in the quarter-finals on Thursday.