Gary Anderson 6 Michael van Gerwen 3 (best of 11 sets)
The ‘Flying Scotsman’, Gary Anderson upset the form book last night at the Alexandra Palace to put reigning PDC Darts World Champion and number one seed, Michael van Gerwen out of this year’s event. Anderson went into the four man semi-final line-up as the only man to have not won the World title still in the event, but fully justified his place in such esteemed company with a sparkling 6-3 victory over the Dutch favourite for the title this year. In a fabulous advert for the game of darts, both players contributed to the spectacle with three-dart match averages of 102.20 for Anderson and 101.35 for van Gerwen, an indication of the high class darts displayed throughout their time on the oche.
Anderson started the brighter as he took the first set by three legs to one, with ‘Mighty Mike’ struggling to assert his usual dominance on the match. It looked to be settling into a similar pattern in the second set as the Scot established a two leg lead, but van Gerwen found his form to take out a 100+ checkout and went through the gears to take the next two legs and level the match at one set apiece.
Set three was an oddity with the standard of scoring incredibly high, but van Gerwen’s finishing letting him down as Anderson took it 3-1. The Dutchman’s three-dart average for that set was a mammoth 113, yet he found the consistent finishing of his opponent good enough to keep him at bay. It became three sets to one in Anderson’s favour as he took set four, as the weight of scoring fell for both players and shrewd shot choice paid off for him in the decisive fifth leg leaving his favourite double top finish.
As the top seed began to expose a few chinks in Anderson’s armour, it soon became level pegging at three sets all, with sets five and six going to the Dutchman. The fourth seed looked to be finally succumbing to the persistence of his shaven headed adversary as he missed doubles at vital times.
The seventh set proved to be pivotal in the outcome of the match as Anderson dug deep and twice came from a leg down to take it 3-2, to establish a 4-3 set lead. Leg four was a particularly painful one for van Gerwen as he missed double 18 three times to miss out on the chance to clinch the set.
It proved to be the turning point of the semi-final as Anderson’s growing confidence ensured he closed the match out by winning the next two sets (including a ten-darter in set eight) and hence taking the match 6-3 overall. Van Gerwen had briefly suggested a fightback when he checked out on 149 in set nine, but in truth he looked to be a somewhat dispirited figure by the end as his usual form seemed to desert him at the crucial moments. #CelebritiesHe should not have been too downhearted though, as he played well and will be back next year in an attempt to regain his title, but for once it was Anderson’s night as the Scot won through to play in his second World final. Both players could hold their heads up high afterwards for contributing to such rich entertainment, including twenty maximum 180s between them for the match (11-9 to van Gerwen).