Van Gerwen and Smith set up World Championship final clash

Jamie Shaw in PDC Darts News 30 Dec 2018
Van Gerwen celebrates victory over his great rival (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Michael van Gerwen and Michael Smith will face off in the final of the 2018/19 World Championship after defeating Gary Anderson and Nathan Aspinall respectively in Sunday's Semi-Finals.

Van Gerwen, the 2014 and 2017 champion, stormed into his fourth world final courtesy of a 6-1 rout of his great rival Anderson, averaging 104.5 and landing eleven 180s.

The world number one punished 22 missed darts at doubles from the Scot as he claimed a crushing win to remain on course to recapture the Sid Waddell Trophy on New Year's Day at Alexandra Palace.

"This one was really important for me," said Van Gerwen. "I just put a little dot on the end so people know how it stands.

"I think I played really well, Gary couldn't find his form and I took advantage of that.
 
"The pressure I put on Gary meant he wasn't at his best, I didn't give him any time to breathe with my finishing.
 
"It's going to be a phenomenal final against Michael and myself, I've got a great record against him and I'm looking forward to it.
 
"I'm working hard week after week, so I'm glad that I was able to produce my best game on this occasion."

Anderson opened up with checkouts of 127 and 104, but it was Van Gerwen who edged what turned out to be a crucial first set as he landed tops with his last dart in the deciding leg.

The Dutchman went on to clinch the next two sets without reply before making it 12 legs from 15 to stretch his foothold to 4-0.

A helpless Anderson could only look on as MVG helped himself to a fifth consecutive set, before the Scot averted the whitewash by securing set six in a deciding leg.

He then took out 80 to lead in set seven but was punished for a string of missed doubles from there on in as Van Gerwen reeled off three straight legs to surge into the final.
 
Smith reached his first World Championship final with a 6-3 triumph over surprise package Aspinall, breaking the record for the most 180s hit in a World Championship Semi-Final in the process with 17 maximums.
 
A stunning display from Smith, who ended the match with a 105.22 average, began with him taking the opening seven legs of the contest, before debutant Aspinall produced a gutsy fightback to level at 2-2 and 3-3.
 
World number ten Smith checked out 90 on the bullseye to regain the lead and he doubled his advantage thanks to back-to-back 12-dart legs in the eighth set.
 
The Shanghai Masters champion did not drop another leg and sealed a memorable win with a 121 checkout, his fifth ton-plus finish of a high-quality showing.
 
"I've never felt like that during or after a match, I couldn't be happier right now," said Smith, whose previous best World Championship performance saw him reach the Quarter-Finals.
 
"The first two sets I was cruising, but fair play to Nathan, he got better and better but I took my chances when they came which gave me the edge.
 
"I think the seventh set was the crucial moment because I felt I was going to win after I went 4-3 up. I was so nervous and I nearly made a mess of it, but I'm so glad that I held it together and got the job done.

"I was starting to question myself: is it worth it? But this year has made it all worth it.
 
"I'm now just one step away from living my dream."


World Darts Championship 2018/19 Results


Sunday December 30 

Semi-Finals
Michael Smith 6-3 Nathan Aspinall
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Gary Anderson
 
Tuesday January 1 

Final

8pm
Michael van Gerwen v Michael Smith



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Van Gerwen and Smith set up World Championship final clash

Michael van Gerwen and Michael Smith will face off in the final of the 2018/19 World Championship after defeating Gary Anderson and Nathan Aspinall respectively in Sunday's Semi-Finals.

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