WRIGHT SET FOR VAN GERWEN SHOWDOWN ON RETURN TO HOME SOIL

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2024PLBerlin

Peter Wright will make his return to home soil with a blockbuster quarter-final clash against reigning champion Michael van Gerwen on Night Three of the 2024 BetMGM Premier League.

The sport’s biggest roadshow will visit Glasgow’s OVO Hydro on Thursday, with Scottish number one Wright set to headline a bumper night of action.

Wright is still searching for his first points of the 2024 season, following quarter-final defeats against Rob Cross and Luke Humphries in Cardiff and Berlin respectively.

Nevertheless, Wright produced an improved showing in a narrow 6-4 reverse to Humphries last week, before reaching the semi-finals in Tuesday’s second Players Championship event of the year.

“I felt a lot better in Berlin. I didn’t wear my glasses and I felt more comfortable,” admitted Wright, who is determined to take the positives from his defeat against Humphries.

“Luke Humphries played brilliantly in the last two legs. He set up a 10-darter and went out in 11 darts, so I couldn’t do much about that!

“Now I’ve got to run into Michael [van Gerwen], who won last week, and in Den Bosch. It will be tough, but hopefully the crowd will get behind me and help me get over the line.”

The two-time World Champion will again be flying the flag for Scottish darts in Glasgow, and he hopes a partisan home crowd can inspire a return to winning ways.

“It’s one of my favourite venues,” continued Wright, featuring in his 11th consecutive Premier League campaign.

“One of my first games in Glasgow was against Adrian Lewis, and what an atmosphere. It still gives me goosebumps now!

“It’s an amazing feeling playing in front of your home crowd. We all miss Gary [Anderson] playing in the Premier League, so all the pressure is on me to win for Scotland, but I believe I can do it.

“I think when I’m in the moment, the atmosphere will make me play better and hopefully I can find something special!”

2024PLBerlin

Van Gerwen, however, is eyeing back-to-back nightly wins after producing a trio of ton-plus averages to celebrate Night Two success at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.

The reigning seven-time Premier League champion also lifted the Dutch Darts Masters in Den Bosch last month, although he’s refusing to get carried away, despite his strong start to 2024.

“I think it was a fantastic night for darts [last week], and I was really pleased with my own performance,” reflected the Dutch superstar.

“I played well, especially in the important moments, and I was able to keep the pressure on my opponents.

“In this format, you have to be good week after week. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

“I believe in my own progress and the way forward, but it’s still a long journey.”

Van Gerwen survived two match darts to edge out Luke Littler in a thrilling Night Two decider, and the teenage sensation is now aiming to go one step better in Glasgow.

Littler – who occupies third spot in the embryonic Premier League table – boasts the highest tournament average heading into Night Three, where he will take on 2023 runner-up Gerwyn Price in the quarter-finals.

“I know my game is there, I know I can beat anyone,” insisted the World Youth Champion, who claimed his first senior ranking title on his Players Championship debut on Monday.

“It was an unbelievable night in Berlin. The crowd were amazing. I was disappointed to lose, but I still enjoyed the experience.

“I’ve just got to play my game, but I’m taking it in my stride. I’m just a 17-year-old boy doing what I love!”

Elsewhere, world number one Luke Humphries will play World Matchplay champion Nathan Aspinall in the last eight, with Price or Littler awaiting the winner.

Humphries posted a brace of 103 averages in Berlin before succumbing to Littler, while Aspinall is yet to open his Premier League account in 2024, after surrendering a 4-1 lead to Van Gerwen on Night Two.

Meanwhile, in the evening’s opener, 2019 runner-up Cross will take on league leader Michael Smith, who claimed the Night One spoils in Cardiff.

Smith’s bid for back-to-back victories was curtailed by Van Gerwen in a high-quality semi-final in the German capital, although he still boasts a two-point lead at the summit heading into Night Three.

The 2024 BetMGM Premier League will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK & Ireland, through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and Viaplay, and on PDCTV for Rest of the World Subscribers.

2024 BetMGM Premier League

Night Three – OVO Hydro, Glasgow

Thursday February 15

Quarter-Finals

Rob Cross v Michael Smith

Michael van Gerwen v Peter Wright

Nathan Aspinall v Luke Humphries

Gerwyn Price v Luke Littler

Semi-Finals

Cross/Smith v Van Gerwen/Wright

Aspinall/Humphries v Price/Littler

Final

Cross/Smith/Van Gerwen/Wright v Aspinall/Humphries/Price/Littler

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