Dutchman Michael van Gerwen breezed past Britain’s Michael Smith to win his third PDC World Darts Championship title with a 7-3 victory in London.

van Gerwen, 29, raced into a 4-0 lead before 10th seed Smith whipped the home crowd into a frenzy by winning five successive legs to make it 4-2.

After Van Gerwen silenced the crowd in the seventh, Smith missed two crucial set-winning checkouts in the eighth.

The champion was not at his best but banked a winners’ cheque of £500,000.

Victory takes Van Gerwen, who also won in 2014 and 2017, to second in the list of PDC World Championship title wins, but he is way off the record of 14 victories set by the retired Phil Taylor.

Smith, who was appearing in his first final and whose previous best was the last eight in 2016, paid for a nervous start and failed to make Van Gerwen pay when the Dutchman faltered.

That was no more evident in the eighth set when 28-year-old Smith, who will marry his fiance this Saturday, missed a double five that could have added pressure to his opponent.

Smith did not buckle as he dragged it back to 6-3, but Van Gerwen finally shook off the dogged Englishman from St Helens.

RNZI

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