MICHAEL SMITH will enjoy home comforts as he begins his quest for the biggest title of his career at the BetVictor World Matchplay.
Fresh from his Shanghai Darts Masters triumph, the St Helens star is looking forward to spending time at home with family during the Blackpool event.
Smith is yet to produce his best game on the famous Winter Gardens stage but is determined to set the record straight this year.
“I can’t wait to get there now and come out fighting,” said Smith, who reached the final of this year’s Premier League Darts.
I’ll come into the tournament feeling happy, well rested and enjoying spending time with family
“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 has enjoyed a strong first half of 2018, picking up two ProTour titles before claiming his maiden World Series crown last weekend.
However, Smith is hungry for even more success and believes he is ready to go all the way at the World Matchplay.
“I’m enjoying the game more now because I’m winning more than I’m losing,” the former World Youth Champion added.
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 World Matchplay debutant Jonny Clayton on Saturday’s opening night and knows he will have to be at his best to beat the Welshman.
“Jonny is one of the toughest draws I could’ve got,” said Smith.
“He’s been playing well all year but if I play my game I’m confident I will win.”
Watch Michael in action at The BetVictor World Matchplay, which will be broadcast on Sky Sports from July 21-29. For tickets, call the Winter Gardens Box Office on 0844 856 1111 or buy online at pdc.seetickets.com.
Thomas Cook Sport Breaks and Hospitality Packages are also available. See www.pdc.tv/tickets for full details and ticket information.
2018 BetVictor World Matchplay
Schedule of Play
Saturday July 21 (7pm)
Adrian Lewis v James Wilson
Dave Chisnall v Keegan Brown
Michael van Gerwen v Jeffrey de Zwaan
Michael Smith v Jonny Clayton
Sunday July 22
Afternoon Session (1pm)
Darren Webster v Steve Lennon
Ian White v Max Hopp
Gerwyn Price v Joe Cullen
Daryl Gurney v Steve West
Evening Session (7.30pm)
Mensur Suljovic v Steve Beaton
Gary Anderson v Stephen Bunting
Rob Cross v Mervyn King
Raymond van Barneveld v Kyle Anderson
Monday July 23 (7pm)
Kim Huybrechts v John Henderson
Simon Whitlock v Richard North
James Wade v Jermaine Wattimena
Peter Wright v Jelle Klaasen
Tuesday July 24 (7pm)
Chisnall/Brown v Smith/Clayton
Gurney/West v Price/Cullen
Van Gerwen/De Zwaan v Lewis/Wilson
G Anderson/Bunting v Van Barneveld/K Anderson
Wednesday July 25 (7pm)
Whitlock/North v Wade/Wattimena
Suljovic/Beaton v White/Hopp
Cross/King v Webster/Lennon
Wright/Klaasen v Huybrechts/Henderson
Thursday July 26 (7pm)
Friday July 27 (7pm)
Saturday July 28 (7pm)
Sunday July 29 (7pm)
First Round - Best of 19 legs
Second Round - Best of 21 legs
Quarter-Finals - Best of 31 legs
Semi-Finals - Best of 33 legs
Final - Best of 35 legs
Winner - £115,000
Runner-Up - £55,000
Semi-Finalists - £30,000
Quarter-Finalists - £17,500
Second Round Losers - £11,000
First Round Losers - £7,000
Total - £500,000