Michael van Gerwen v Gary Anderson: World Darts Championship Semi-Final preview - Fierce rivals face off in people’s final

Jamie Shaw in PDC Darts News 30 Dec 2018
Anderson and MVG shake hands (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

The two most decorated stars of the season collide in a dream World Championship Semi-Final on Sunday as Michael van Gerwen faces rival Gary Anderson at Alexandra Palace.

Seeded number one and four respectively, the two tungsten titans meet at this stage of the sport's show-piece event for the second time, while also having contested the final two years ago.

Despite a plethora of big names tumbling in the bottom half of the draw, MVG and Anderson have shrugged off any threat of an upset to set up the show-down everyone was talking about before a dart was thrown a fortnight ago.

Van Gerwen, World Champion in 2014, and 2017, has dropped just one set in each of his four wins en route to this stage with a tournament average of 103.3.

The Dutch sensation, a winner of 19 PDC titles this year including the Premier League and World Grand Prix, is appearing in his sixth World Championship Semi-Final in the space of seven years and has twice lost at this stage - notably to Anderson in 2015.

Van Gerwen has brushed aside Alan Tabern, Max Hopp, Adrian Lewis and Ryan Joyce along the way and has now recorded an astonishing 17 consecutive ton-plus averages on the Alexandra Palace stage.

Anderson, the number four seed, is also bidding to become the first player outside of Phil Taylor to win three PDC world titles, having gone the distance in 2015 and 2016.

The reigning UK Open and World Matchplay champion, however, has somewhat ridden his luck on the way to the Last Four, surviving one match dart from Jermaine Wattimena in Round Three as he edged through a nail-biting tie break before again being taken the distance by his young protege Chris Dobey in an epic battle.

The Flying Scotsman produced his best performance of the tournament so far in dispatching Dave Chisnall 5-2 with a 103 average in the Quarter-Finals and will look to build on that display against an opponent who unsurprisingly brings out the best in him on a consistent basis.

Anderson has progressed to a fourth PDC World Championship Semi-Final in five years, a fifth in total, and is yet to suffer defeat at this stage of the competition.

This will be the eleventh meeting between the box office duo in 2018, with MVG having won seven of those encounters, including Semi-Finals at The Masters and Players Championship Finals.

It was Anderson, though, who came out on top 16-12 in an epic Grand Slam Semi-Final last month, as well as edging a pulsating 10-9 win in the Champions League of Darts en route to the title in September.

Their latest encounter gets underway from around 9pm GMT and will be contested over the best of 11 sets. All sets are the best of five legs.

A tie-break is in operation where the final set must be won by two clear legs. If the score reaches five-all, the 11th leg will be a sudden-death leg.

Either Premier League finalist Michael Smith or world number 73 Nathan Aspinall will await the winner in the final on New Year's Day.


Player's View:


Van Gerwen: "He knows he has to play well but I know I have to play well too.

"It's going to be a special game for myself but also for Gary, it's good for darts - everyone wants to see that game.

"If you want to win this tournament, you have to beat anyone, of course Gary is my main rival but most of the time I have beaten him so I also need to make sure I'm going to beat him this time. 

Anderson: "I know what Michael is going to give to me and he's going to get it back.

"MVG's still got to do it back-to-back, which he's not done yet so until he does it, I've got that over him.

"Michael pushes the right buttons, I know what I'm going to get with him."



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Michael van Gerwen v Gary Anderson: World Darts Championship Semi-Final preview - Fierce rivals face off in people’s final

The two most decorated stars of the season collide in a dream World Championship Semi-Final on Sunday as Michael van Gerwen faces rival Gary Anderson at Alexandra Palace.

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