Michael van Gerwen warned his rivals they should be scared of what is to come as he produced his best display in years to win the World Matchplay at the Winter Gardens.
The Dutchman, who has recently had wrist surgery, has had a dip in form over recent years since winning a third World Championship crown in 2019, but followed up his Premier League title win with his third crown in Blackpool after an 18-14 victory over Gerwyn Price.
He won it with an average of 101, five 100-plus finishes and 15 180s – a performance that will have the rest of the PDC Tour worried.
“It’s the best I’ve played for a while,” he said. “I don’t want to be rude but I’m in quite a dominant period at the moment.
“To win the Premier League and now the Matchplay gives me a great feeling. Of course I wasn’t favourite for this tournament, but to produce something like this means the world to me.
“If you are going to look at performances this year, no one produces better darts than me. I’ve won two majors, the biggest majors this year. What more do you want?
“I have done well, but I know there is more in the tank and that I can do better. I know that.
“I think they are fearful anyway. You know that. If you are going to look at how I played with the flair, I only think there is only room for improvement. I don’t want to say too much but sometimes I like myself.
“After the World Championships and my first Premier League title, this is next. People at home don’t know how much this means to me.
“I have been going through a rough period, I constantly have to fight back, I have to battle against everyone. To win it against a player like Gerwyn is special.”
He had to come from behind as, despite a three-dart average of 101, he struggled finishing legs off, which allowed world number one Price to lead for the majority of the final.
But, helped by 15 180s, Van Gerwen found his range and came back to win the last five legs and claim a third Matchplay title.
The tone for the match was set early on as Price enjoyed a dream start, racing into a 4-0 lead thanks to Van Gerwen’s poor finishing.
The Dutchman missed his first nine double attempts and Price took advantage by cleaning up.
Van Gerwen’s level remained and he had a chance for a stunning nine-dart finish only to miss the double 12, though he did convert the double six on his next visit to get on the board.
A 160-checkout helped him break Price’s throw in the next leg and he soon had the chance to level at 4-4 but missed six more doubles as Price capitalised.
That continued to be the trend as more missed attempts at the outer ring saw Price take a four-leg lead at 9-5, only for a 140-checkout from Van Gerwen to again peg him back.
Van Gerwen forced Price to have some of his own medicine by pinching a break back with an 81 checkout and he soon levelled the match at 12-12.
It was not until the 29th leg that the three-time world champion finally went ahead for the first time in the match, breaking Price’s throw with a 130 finish.
There was no looking back from there as another 114 finish on Price’s throw tightened his grip on the match, which was sealed in a fitting manner, with a 121 checkout.
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