Peter Wright wins his third UK Open qualifier

Peter Wright beat Michael van Gerwen en route to his second UK Open qualifying event of the weekend as the world number one missed out on success for the third tournament in a row.

And on a dramatic third day at Wigan's Robin Part Tennis Centre, where players have been bidding to win spots in next month's Coral UK Open finals in Minehead, there was also nine-dart finish from youngster Ted Evetts.

Snakebite triumphed in Friday's opening qualifier with a victory over Adrian Lewis in the final and he followed up this success two days later with another fine run which saw him beat Stuart Dutton, Lee Bryant, Paul Harvey and Stephen Bunting for the loss of just seven legs as he set up a quarter-final with MVG.

The Dutchman, who was shocked by Ritchie Edhouse on Friday and then knocked out by Steven Beaton during Saturday's second qualifier, was strangely playing in only his first last eight clash of the weekend but Wright ran out a 6-4 winner as he ended a 16-match losing streak against the Dutchman dating back to June 2015 in Japan.

A routine 6-2 triumph over Mick Todd followed before he defeated Michael Smith 6-5 in the final to claim the winners' cheque of £10,000.

Wright made a superb start to his final by landing a 180 as he broke in the opening leg, with the former World Youth Champion levelling and then punishing four misses from the Scot in leg four to move 2-1 up.

The Scotsman landed another 180 before taking out 68 in the fourth, while Smith landed three 180s in taking two of the next three before breaking for a 5-3 cushion.

Wright, though, posted two maximums in an 11-darter to break back in leg nine and another pair of 180s as an 81 bull finish forced a decider, and when Smith missed two darts at tops for victory it was the world number three who pounced on double eight.

Smith's run to the final was his best display on the circuit since last June, when he was the runner-up in the Austrian Darts Open, as the St Helens ace scooped £5,000 in prize money.

Smith followed up his opening win over Paul Nicholson with defeats of Jamie Bain, Adrian Lewis and James Wade before then defeating Spain's Cristo Reyes in the quarter-finals.

He edged out Stoke's Ian White 6-5 in the semi-finals, but went on to lose by the same scoreline in the decider as a seventh senior PDC title eluded the 26-year-old.

White's run to the last four followed up Saturday's quarter-final appearance, as he defeated Michael Rasztovits, Martin Schindler, Ted Evetts, Steve Beaton and Mervyn King.

Mick Todd was the day's other semi-finalist as he enjoyed his best-ever run on the PDC ProTour, following up Saturday's run to the last 32 with wins over Callum Loose, Mark Dudbridge, Darren Johnson, Joe Davis, Stuart Kellett and Alan Norris to secure his fifth UK Open appearance.

Van Gerwen's quarter-final appearance was his best finish of the weekend, and he was joined in the last eight by Reyes, King and Norris, while Beaton followed up two quarter-finals with a last 16 finish on Sunday.

Qualifier Three also featured the first nine-dart finish of 2017 as Southam's Ted Evetts, the youngest PDC Tour Card Holder at 19, achieved a perfect leg in his memorable third round win over Simon Whitlock.

The final three Coral UK Open Qualifiers, each worth £60,000 in prize money, will be held next weekend at the Robin Park Tennis Centre, featuring PDC Tour Card Holders and PDPA Associate Members.

Following the completion of the six UK Open Qualifiers, the top 96 players from the UK Open Order of Merit progress to compete alongside 32 Rileys Amateur Qualifiers in the Coral UK Open TV Finals from March 3-5 at the Butlins Minehead Resort, live on ITV4.

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