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Dublin: 9°C Tuesday 13 April 2021

Phenomenal Van Gerwen smashes record average to book World Championship final spot

The world number one will face Gary Anderson after seeing off Raymond van Barneveld at Ally Pally tonight.

Van Gerwen.
Van Gerwen.
Image: John Walton

TOP SEED MICHAEL van Gerwen recorded comfortably the best average in the history of the PDC World Darts Championship to overcome a sensational Raymond van Barneveld performance and set up a mouthwatering final with reigning champion Gary Anderson.

Van Gerwen was darts’ dominant force throughout 2016 — following Anderson’s second success at Alexandra Palace — and came into his semi-final on Sunday having won 38 consecutive televised PDC ranking matches since his defeat to fellow Dutchman Van Barneveld in last year’s World Championship.

Fresh from victories over Adrian Lewis and Phil Taylor, Van Barneveld began their rematch in blistering form and looked capable of upsetting his compatriot once again.

However, although Van Barneveld finished with a stunning average of 109.34, the 49-year-old still suffered a 6-2 defeat as Van Gerwen averaged a scarcely believable 114.05 to better the previous record of 111.21 set by Taylor in 2002.

The only thing missing from Van Gerwen’s staggering display was a perfect nine-dart leg, which he almost achieved in the final set only to miss double 12.

“I think it’s a phenomenal performance, but Raymond made me play this well,” the world number one told Sky Sports.

It’s what I want to do all the time. It was amazing.”

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The contest delivered 29 180s — Van Gerwen hitting 15 to his rival’s 14 — and quite simply the highest standard of darts witnessed in a World Championship contest, with Van Barneveld setting a new record for the highest losing average.

Sunday’s first semi-final saw Anderson extend his winning run at Alexandra Palace to 17 matches with a 6-3 win over Peter Wright. Third seed Wright struggled badly on the doubles early on, but battled back from 2-0 and 3-1 down to level the match at 3-3 before Anderson regained control.

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