World Darts Championship: Michael van Gerwen captures third world title

Dutchman Michael van Gerwen captured his third Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) world championship title with a commanding victory over England's Michael Smith at London's Alexandra Palace on Wednesday (NZ time).

The world number one, a previous winner in 2014 and 2017, withstood a mid-match fightback from Smith to claim a 7-3 win for his third world title in six years.

He also pockets £500,000 (NZ$947,509) for winning the Sid Waddell trophy.

The 29-year-old recorded a three-dart average of 102.21 to go with 14 180s and three 100-plus finishes in the match compared to Smith's 95.29 average and 13 maximums.

But what ultimately let Smith down was his 28 missed darts at the double, and crucially at set-point in four of the last six sets.

Van Gerwen raced out to a 4-0 lead before Smith, who was competing in his first final, began his fightback by winning two consecutive sets. 

Michael Smith reacts to missing darts for the set.
Michael Smith reacts to missing darts for the set. Photo credit: AAP

But Van Gerwen responded in style, stemming the tide by winning the seventh set on his own throw, before crucially breaking Smith's throw, who missed two darts to win the set, to regain a four-set advantage at 6-2.

Smith did not buckle as he dragged it back to 6-3, but Van Gerwen finally shook off Smith by hitting double-16 for his third world title.

Van Gerwen joins 16-time world champion Phil Taylor as the only man with more than two PDC titles.

"I was a little bit nervous, but my body was pumping, and I wanted to play better - but Michael is a phenomenal player," Van Gerwen told Sky Sports. "It was a difficult match, but it doesn't matter how you win.

"He always makes it hard for me, he is a good player and one day he will lift this trophy."

Smith, who pockets £200,000 (NZ$379,333) for finishing second, admitted he was annoyed at himself for blowing numerous chances in the final.

"I didn't get going," said Smith. "I had the chances, and I was more annoyed myself for losing those chances.

"I kept looking at the trophy and thinking it belongs to me, so I maybe I tried too much.

"It's my first final, but it won't be my last - I will lift that trophy.

"If Michael was going to win he was going to have to work for it. I was following up his scores then he dropped off, and I did too. I'm sorry I didn't put on a show."