Dimitri Van den Burgh admitted he was left surprised by Peter Wright's frosty reaction following their epic World Matchplay quarter-final.
In a repeat of last year’s final, which Wright win in convincing fashion, the Belgian edged through 16-14 at the Winter Gardens and will face Michael van Gerwen in the semi-finals on Saturday night. Van den Bergh and Wright are firm friends, with the Belgian describing himself as Wright’s “adopted son” after living with the world champion and his wife Joanne for a spell at the start of the first pandemic lockdown.
Their friendship was put to one side during their classic encounter on Thursday night. After the match, Wright offered a cool handshake before quickly turning his back on Van den Burgh. It is unclear whether Wright was unhappy with the 28-year-old, who received some criticism on social media for his exuberant celebrations during the match.
READ MORE: Dimitri Van den Bergh almost breaks microphone screaming after dumping out Peter Wright
Asked if he was surprised by Wright’s response to his defeat, Van den Burgh said: “I don’t know what’s going on in his mind, yeah it surprised me. I know one thing for sure, before we started, before we got here, I was like ‘me and Peter, it’s going to be business’. I've got to do my job. It didn’t matter what sort of player was in front of me.
“I really hope before this tournament has ended I get a message from him. I love that guy to bits. I've learned a lot [from him].”
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Wright was something of a mentor to Van den Bergh earlier in his career and he was left jubilant after knocking out the reigning World and Matchplay champion.
“I managed to beat Mr Miyagi, I managed to beat Peter Wright, I’ve done it, get in,” he said in his post-match press conference.
He added: “I still feel that I haven’t shown my A-game, I still feel that I can do better in the long run. More consistent and more focused, but one of the hardest games I had to win, I've done it, so it's a very proud feeling.”
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