Van Gerwen reflects on first world darts title after victory at Alexandra Palace
Alexandra Palace crowned a new world darts champion last night, and the name that went on the Sid Waddell Trophy was Dutchman Michael van Gerwen as he beat Peter Wright 7-4.
Exactly one year before, Van Gerwen had lost on the Ally Pally stage 7-4 to Phil Taylor, but he has bounced back to win his first world title and starts the year ranked No1 by the Professional Darts Corporation [PDC].
Van Gerwen raced into a 4-0 lead but Wright won the fifth set to make it 4-1 with a 130 checkout. That seemed to galvanise the Scotsman as he quickly made it 4-2.
The Dutchman got things back on track to win the seventh set, and taking what turned out to be a decisive 5-2 advantage. Van Gerwen went into a 6-2 lead only needing to win one more set to be crowned champion.
Wright wasn’t ready to throw in the towel and he pulled back two straight sets, making it 6-4. But Van Gerwen was able to cope with the pressure and in the 11th set he fulfilled his destiny to become world champion by hitting double top.
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The 24-year-old won the Premier League crown last year as well as the Players Championship Finals, but this is the prize he will cherish most.
“I’m very glad to have won my first World Championship,” he said. “It was a very difficult night for me but I’m very proud of myself and I did it in the end.
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“When I was 4-0 in front it was looking quite easy but Peter did well to come back into it - but I’m the champion and am now No1 in the world as well.
“It has always been a big dream of mine since the age of 12 years old to win the world title and I’ve now achieved that at 24 years old. That’s a big thing.
“I’ve just brought a new house and this trophy is going to take pride of place.”
When asked if he could dominate the sport in the same way that Phil Taylor has done, Van Gerwen was adamant that it wouldn’t be the case - but has set himself a goal.
“I’ve just won my first title and I want to enjoy that first,” he said. “The standard is different now, the first time when Phil won the World Championship he won it with a 93 average.
“Now the standard is 100 and above, things have changed a lot. The competition is so much higher now, there are so many competitions and so many good players, it isn’t easy to win a tournament.
“A realistic target I have set myself is to win five world titles. I have won the first one now, so I hope I can add a few more to the collection.”