As the second most successful player in the history of the PDC, you would expect James Wade to be a major contender for the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship.
The 29-year-old from Aldershot hasn’t had the best of years, with 2012 being the first year since 2006 that he hasn’t won a major title. Personal problems haven’t helped, but Wade has revealed he has practiced like never before coming into this event.
To date, Wade hasn’t averaged anywhere near 100 in any of his previous four games, but his ability to win without playing at his best has served him well so far, with a nail-biting 5-4 win in the quarter-finals against Wes Newton on Saturday proving that.
Speaking to the media after his victory, Wade remained critical of his performances thus far at the Ally Pally.
“It was a case of getting the job done again,” admitted Wade. “It’s been my own fault that I haven’t performed well in this tournament in years gone by, but I’ve just to get on and win darts matches.”
Before a dart was thrown, Wade’s odds to win the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship were as long as 16/1, whereas to win most tournaments he’s been around the 10/1 mark. However, his pedigree isn’t in doubt, as his trophy haul shows.
Wade faces an in-form Michael van Gerwen on Sunday in the semi-finals, and is the outsider at 7/2 to win. The head-to-head record suggests that Wade should win, being unbeaten in their last five meetings.
Despite that, Wade is going to have to raise his game to win and alluded to mistakes he made in his match with Newton.
“I got too emotionally involved. I got too involved emotionally in my mind and I tired myself out rather than just playing darts”, said Wade, who won despite being two sets down early on.
“I certainly haven’t played my best in this tournament yet but I’m into another semi-final. If I take my opportunities then I could go all the way.
“My darts are going straighter in every game and I’m growing in confidence in every game, so we’ll see what happens.”
He added: “I honestly believe that I am the best finisher in the world and that’s why I’m still here.
“I can finish even when I’m not playing well. And I haven’t played that well yet.
“I’ve got the opportunity to get in to the final and that’s exactly what I want to do.”
Please Note: All Odds and Markets are correct at the time of publishing