Michael Van Gerwen cruises to third PDC World Darts Championship title

Michael Van Gerwen celebrates winning the William Hill World Darts Championships at Alexandra Palace. Picture: Steven Paston/PA
Michael Van Gerwen celebrates winning the William Hill World Darts Championships at Alexandra Palace. Picture: Steven Paston/PA
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Michael Van Gerwen put in a dominant performance to cast aside Michael Smith and claim his third PDC World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace.

The world No 1, a previous winner in 2014 and 2017, bullied Smith and posted a 7-3 victory to move clear of Adrian Lewis, John Part and Gary Anderson in the list of PDC world champions.

Smith threatened to make a game of it when he clawed an early deficit back to 4-2, but a string of missed doubles cost him in his first ever final.

The Dutchman, although not at his imperious best, was a worthy winner as he averaged 102.21.

The title consolidates his position at the top of the men’s game and while he might struggle to match the phenomenal numbers of 16-time world champion Phil Taylor, Van Gerwen looks set to reign supreme for a good while yet.

He set the tone in the opening leg, just moments after being booed by a partisan crowd, by posting a 129 checkout and went on to claim the first three sets with ease.

It looked like a whitewash was on the cards as he raced into a 4-0 lead, courtesy of some wayward finishing from a nervous Smith, who somehow missed four darts at double 12 in the final leg of the fourth set.

With the match on the verge of slipping away - Van Gerwen on a finish for 5-0 - Smith picked himself up off his haunches and mustered a brilliant 124 checkout to steal the set off the Dutchman.

And within minutes it was 4-2 thanks to back-to-back bullseye finishes from Smith, who suddenly had all of the momentum.

But Van Gerwen responded in style, stemming the tide by winning the seventh set on his own throw at a canter before crucially breaking Smith’s throw before claiming victory.