Darts ace Dennis Smith believes the influence of 10-time world champion Phil Taylor has had a positive effect on his game and made him approach the sport in a more professional manner.
The British thrower, who has been tipped by many in the sport to reach the very top, clinched his place in yet another quarter-final at the Paddy Power World Grand Prix in Dublin last night with a 3-0 win over Scotland’s Jamie Harvey.
He has made the last eight in all the major competitions this year, including the Ladbrokes.com World Championship, but has failed to make the next step up.
However, Smith is seeking the winning formula and is watching how his friend conducts himself around the circuit in a bid to learn more.
“Me and Phil Taylor have been mates for a very long time,” said Smith. “I started listening to him in the last couple of years and it is beginning to pay off.
“In my younger days I was one of the lads who liked to have a drink. I am much more professional now and look at the game more seriously. I had won a few titles but I thought it was about time that I took the game seriously.
“I was looking at myself and around the circuit I was playing brilliant darts, but on television I was not doing it and could not understand why.
“All the commentators started calling me the ‘Quarter-final Kid’, but half of the last-eight matches I have played in I have been beaten by the eventual winner, Phil.
“But in this tournament I have got the opportunity to meet him in the final.”
Smith’s opponent in the last eight tomorrow is Las Vegas Desert Classic winner Peter Manley, who secured a 3-1 win over Paul Williams in the last game of the night.
Meanwhile, Taylor’s second-round opponent tonight is former world champion Dennis Priestley, an impressive 2-1 winner against Peter Evison.