Michael Smith vows to “come out fighting” at the BetVictor World Matchplay

St Helens ace Smith reacts (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Michael Smith has vowed to “come out fighting” for BetVictor World Matchplay glory on his home patch in Blackpool.

Smith, protege of Gary Anderson, has enjoyed a breakthrough season which has seen him reach the final of the Premier League and win last weekend’s Shanghai Masters World Series event.

Now he faces another in-form star - Jonny Clayton - in the First Round at the Winter Gardens on Saturday night.

Smith believes he is finally hitting the big time after many years of being on the fringe of major title glory.

He revealed: "I can't wait to get there now and come out fighting. 

"Blackpool is one of the few events I get to stay at home for so I'll come into the tournament feeling happy, well rested and enjoying spending time with family.

"In previous years I haven’t been there long enough, I've been going home early but this year I am well up for it and hopefully I can have a good run."

The world number nine and former World Youth Champion has established greater consistency this year, picking up two ProTour titles in addition to a superb run to the Premier League final at The O2.

However, Smith is hungry for even more success and believes he is ready to go all the way at the BetVictor World Matchplay.

He added: "I'm enjoying the game more now because I'm winning more than I'm losing. I don't like coming close, I want to be the winner and take titles home with me.

"I'm playing better on the stage recently, I’ve been more consistent and feel good about my game.

"Hopefully I can take my form into the World Matchplay and have a decent run there for once!"

Smith will take on Matchplay debutant Clayton on Saturday’s opening night and knows he will have to be at his best to beat the Welshman.

He added: "Jonny is one of the toughest draws I could’ve got. He’s been playing well all year but if I play my game I'm confident I will win."

Smith is best priced at 33/1 with title sponsors BetVictor to win the 2018 World Matchplay and is 4/11 to beat Clayton.


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Michael Smith vows to “come out fighting” at the BetVictor World Matchplay

Michael Smith has vowed to “come out fighting” for BetVictor World Matchplay glory on his home patch in Blackpool.

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