Michael Smith eases past James Wade to reach second World Championship final

Michael Smith held off a James Wade fightback to reach the final of the World Darts Championship for a second time.

The 2019 runner-up prevailed 6-3 after fourth seed Wade had rallied from 5-1 down to threaten a tense finish in the first semi-final at Alexandra Palace.

Smith fired 16 180s and averaged 101 as he saw off his fellow Englishman.

“It was a tough game,” Smith told Sky Sports. “I knew he was going to push me.

“There was one set where he hit 180 after 180. It was about keeping my cool then.

“He knows how to win, he knows how to grind matches out. He knows how to switch off in legs and turn it back on in the next leg. Luckily enough I did it in the end.

“You’re not gifted things in life. I’ve not deserved it – I have worked hard for it.”

James Wade's fightback fell short
James Wade’s fightback fell short (Aaron Chown/PA)

Smith opened strongly by taking the first leg in 13 darts and soon led by two sets.

Wade responded by taking the third set in the deciding leg with a 121 check out and then took the first two legs of the fourth.

Yet Smith hit back to win the set and the next two to open up a 5-1 lead. Wade claimed the next two to reduce the deficit but could not maintain the momentum and slipped to semi-final defeat for a fourth time in his career.