Table-topper Smith has 'momentum' ahead of Night Two in Berlin

Michael Smith (Kieran Cleeves/PDC)

Michael Smith believes he’s starting to reap the rewards for his hard work after returning to winning ways on Night One of the BetMGM Premier League last week.

Smith made the perfect start to the 2024 Premier League season in Cardiff, denying home favourite Gerwyn Price to claim the spoils in the Welsh capital.

The 2023 World Champion also defeated reigning Premier League champion Michael van Gerwen and teenage sensation Luke Littler to triumph in front of a sell-out crowd at the Utilita Arena.

“Winning is winning, and I love to do it,” admitted Smith, a semi-finalist in last year’s Premier League.

“To beat [Michael] Van Gerwen, Luke Littler and then Gezzy [Price] is good for my confidence. I enjoyed it.

“I’ve got momentum going into Night Two. There’s no pressure on me to chase points, and I can relax more now.”

Smith will renew his rivalry with Price on Night Two in Berlin, as the pair go head-to-head in the evening’s second quarter-final clash at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.

The St Helens star finished second to Price in last year’s league phase, celebrating three successive nightly wins during the latter stages of the campaign.

Despite suffering an early exit to Dimitri Van den Bergh in last weekend’s Masters, Smith will arrive in Berlin with renewed confidence as he bids to extend his lead at the top of the embryonic table.

“It would be nice to go back-to-back in Germany,” admitted Smith, who will play Van Gerwen or Nathan Aspinall if he overcomes Price in the last eight.

“Last year I did three-in-a-row. I hope I can repeat that or do four-in-a-row which no one has ever done. 

“I didn’t play well at the weekend in Milton Keynes. The Premier League is a different matter, but it’s all about confidence. I’ve got a point to prove now.”

Smith endured a tough conclusion to the 2023 season, relinquishing his World Championship crown and world number one status following his fourth round exit at Alexandra Palace.

The 33-year-old insists he’s rediscovered his hunger for the game as he bids to return to those heights in 2024, although he concedes there’s still plenty of improvements to be made.

“My game isn’t where I would love it to be,” revealed Smith, featuring in his seventh Premier League campaign this year.

“There are still plenty of things to work on in practice, but to get five points on the opening night is always nice!

“I think Night 15 in last year’s Premier League was my last win on tour, so after six months of hard work, to finally get that winning feeling back did feel satisfying.

“I sent out a statement saying I know how to win – even if I’m struggling, I can still take out important shots and put everything together at the right time.

“Doing what I know I’ve been doing in the last five or six months, and seeing it come to effect - that was my statement to myself in Cardiff.”

Elsewhere in the German capital, teenage sensation Luke Littler will take on 2018 World Champion Rob Cross in a repeat of the pair’s memorable World Championship semi-final last month.

Reigning champion Van Gerwen meets Aspinall in the evening’s opener, while world number one Luke Humphries bids to open his Premier League account against 2017 runner-up Peter Wright.

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 Two - Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin
Thursday February 8

Nathan Aspinall v Michael van Gerwen
Michael Smith v Gerwyn Price
Luke Littler v Rob Cross
Luke Humphries v Peter Wright

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

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