Darts: Michael van Gerwen beats Michael Smith for third World Championships crown

Michael van Gerwen celebrates his World Championships triumph
Michael van Gerwen celebrates his World Championships triumph
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Michael Van Gerwen completed a hat-trick of World Darts Championships with a 7-3 victory over Michael Smith at the Alexandra Palace.

Top seed Van Gerwen added to the titles he claimed in 2014 and 2017 with an accomplished yet not wholly scintillating display against tenth seed Smith, who was playing in his first World Championship final.

Van Gerwen went into the match as the heavy favourite and wasted little time in stamping his authority on proceedings, racing into a 4-0 lead as the Dutchman threatened to run away with the match.

The 29-year-old from Boxtel was not hitting the heights of his semi-final against Scotland’s Gary Anderson when he won 6-1 and was reliant on switching from treble 20 to 19 to help clock up the legs.

St Helens-born Smith, a year younger than Van Gerwen, finally got himself on the board by taking the fifth set and a comeback started to materialise when rattled through the legs to make it 4-2.

With the crowd firmly behind home player Smith, the seventh set became vital, but Van Gerwen composed himself, breaking in the fourth leg to move 5-2 ahead and wrest away the momentum from the Englishman.

Smith was then broken for the eighth set and the writing appeared to be on the wall for the 28-year-old, but Van Gerwen himself lost his throw at the key moment in the ninth as Smith closed the deficit to 6-3.

An early break of throw in the tenth set gave Van Gerwen the initiative and although one match dart came and went when he missed a double 16 in the third leg, he built on an early 180 in the fourth leg to set up another double 16 finish. This time he made no mistake and the Sid Waddell trophy was his.