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World Darts Championship: Michael van Gerwen hails ‘phenomenal’ Michael Smith victory in epic final | Darts News

Michael Smith fired a nine-dart leg on his way to a 7-4 win over Michael van Gerwen in incredible final at the Alexandra Palace; Victory is the Englishman’s maiden world title and moves him to world No 1 for the first time

By Ali Stafford at Alexandra Palace

Last Updated: 03/01/23 11:57pm

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Michael van Gerwen was one dart away from a nine-darter before Michael Smith completed the achievement in the World Championship Final.

Michael van Gerwen was one dart away from a nine-darter before Michael Smith completed the achievement in the World Championship Final.

New world No 1 Michael Smith has set his sights on dominating darts after following his Grand Slam of Darts victory with an elusive maiden World Darts Championship title at Alexandra Palace.

Smith fired a sensational nine-darter in the second set of his 7-4 victory over three-time champion Michael van Gerwen, who almost produced a nine-darter of his own in the same leg, before winning four of the last five sets to secure the biggest victory of his career so far.

The Englishman’s success is revenge for his loss against Van Gerwen in the 2019 final, with Smith – who also finished runner-up in last year’s contest – expecting the pair to clash in many more Alexandra Palace finals in the years ahead.

Michael Smith produced a phenomenal final leg to win the World Championship Final against Michael van Gerwen.

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Michael Smith produced a phenomenal final leg to win the World Championship Final against Michael van Gerwen.

Michael Smith produced a phenomenal final leg to win the World Championship Final against Michael van Gerwen.

“I thought [we would] give the crowd what they deserve and they got a magical night,” Smith told Sky Sports. “I told you when I got the Grand Slam, I will eventually be a world champion and I want to do what this man [Van Gerwen] has done – I want to take over this sport, but he’s still there.

“It is 1-1 now in the Worlds and I took my chances, but he knows and I do that it is not going to be the last one here where we play each other. I have said it for years, he is the best player in darts and we have got to take our chances and I finally took it.”

Michael Smith says the crowd got a magical night after he beat Michael van Gerwen in the World Championship Final.

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Michael Smith says the crowd got a magical night after he beat Michael van Gerwen in the World Championship Final.

Michael Smith says the crowd got a magical night after he beat Michael van Gerwen in the World Championship Final.

Smith immediately ran to his family to celebrate victory with them, with ‘Bully Boy’ admitting it will be tough to better the experiencing of winning the World Championship for the first time.

“The two greatest moments in my life are sat over there, both my kids, but if I didn’t have kids that would be!” Smith added. “From a sporting memory it’s the greatest ever, I don’t think that will ever be topped. Even if I won a second, it will never top how I just felt then.”

Take a look back at the 2023 World Championship as Michael Smith was crowned the winner.

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Take a look back at the 2023 World Championship as Michael Smith was crowned the winner.

Take a look back at the 2023 World Championship as Michael Smith was crowned the winner.

Van Gerwen: Smith ‘deserved’ victory

Smith claimed Van Gerwen “let him off” and gave him a chance he “didn’t deserve” during his victory, although the Dutchman was quick to pay tribute to his playing partner for his impressive win.

“At this moment he is not giving his game any justice!” Van Gerwen told Sky Sports. “This man played absolutely phenomenal – we all know that!

Michael van Gerwen was full of praise for Michael Smith after losing the World Championship Final.

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Michael van Gerwen was full of praise for Michael Smith after losing the World Championship Final.

Michael van Gerwen was full of praise for Michael Smith after losing the World Championship Final.

“Of course, I didn’t take my chances, but he was there at the moments he had to be. He deserved it, he played well there and fair play to him.”

Van Gerwen posted 15 maximums and fired a 99.58 average during a pulsating final, where he led 3-2 before losing four of the next five sets, with the Dutchman frustrated at the opportunities he squandered during the tight contest.

“I had two darts in the second set, when he [Smith] threw the nine-darter,” Van Gerwen added. “There were a few darts in the seventh set and in the ninth set I had three darts to win and when you don’t hit them, he’s going to throw everything at you.

“I wasn’t playing to well in the last few sets, but you can only blame yourself for that. It doesn’t take anything away from Michael, because I think he played brilliantly the whole game.

“I wasn’t what I wanted to be but that’s part of the game unfortunately and you have to take it on the chin.”

Watch Michael Smith and Michael van Gerwen both in action at the 2023 Cazoo Premier League darts, exclusively live on Sky Sports. Live coverage begins on February 2 and runs every Thursday until the play-offs at The O2 in London on May 25.

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