He went into the final as back-to-back defending PDC world darts champion, but Scotland’s Gary Anderson was unable to make it three in a row tonight when he was beaten 7-3 by world No 1 Michael van Gerwen at Alexandra Palace in London.
In front of a packed and noisy crowd, the Flying Scotsman from Musselburgh took an early lead but was unable to keep up with the Dutchman, who was in a league of his own.
“If anyone was going to win, it was Michael,” said Anderson. “But I’ve had a good three years.”
Anderson went into the final on a 17-match winning streak in the competition, but Dutchman Van Gerwen has been a level above everyone else over the past 12 months.
He won 25 tournaments in 2016 and went into the final odds-on favourite to reclaim the crown he won previously in 2014.
The match, as expected, started at a frantic pace, with the two scoring heavily before Van Gerwen took out 122 in the first leg.
After taking the first set, Van Gerwen let his standards slip in the second and third, missing a succession of doubles, but a run of five successive legs took him into a 3-2 lead.
Van Gerwen’s consistently heavy scoring proved too much for Anderson as he raced further ahead and closed out the match with an 85 checkout, sealing the title with a bullseye.
Anderson maintained a high standard throughout, notching 22 maximums to set a new record for the number of 180s in a single match, but he could not get near the imperious Van Gerwen.