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Dublin: 8°C Tuesday 20 April 2021

Oh Michael van Gerwen! Dutchman clinches third PDC world title with victory over Smith

MVG beats Michael Smith 7-3 in the Alexandra Palace decider.

MVG: three-time world champion.
MVG: three-time world champion.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

MICHAEL VAN GERWEN’S name rang out around the Ally Pally once again as the brilliant Dutchman was crowned PDC world champion for a third time on Tuesday night.

MVG stormed into an early lead against Michael Smith and then held off the resurgent Englishman, taking the £500,000 top prize with a 7-3 win.

The world number one, who only dropped four sets on his way to the final, added another world title to those he won in 2014 and 2017.

Smith had opportunities to keep the match close early on but faltered over some doubles and was ruthlessly punished as van Gerwen quickly opened up a 4-0 lead in the race to seven.

The man dubbed ‘The Bully Boy’ had never advanced past the quarter-finals prior to this year, but with the prospect of an embarrassing whitewash starting to come in to play, he landed a 124 checkout to clinch the fifth set and finally get himself on the board.

The transformation was immediate as Smith landed another two big checkouts in the sixth set — 127 and 124 — to further close the gap at 4-2 and jump-start the final.

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But van Gerwen snuffed out the comeback just as quickly by taking the seventh set for 5-2 and then dealt Smith a knockout blow in a nail-biting eighth.

Smith had the darts for the decisive leg and was inches off target for a 170 finish.

But when van Gerwen missed a dart of his own at double 16 for the set, Smith fluffed his lines again at double five, leaving the door open for his opponent who moved to within one set of another title.

Smith punished some nervy darts to take the next set and cut the deficit to 6-3, but it wasn’t long before MVG finished the job, landing a double 16 with his third match dart to take the world title.

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Niall Kelly

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