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Rod Harrington tips Michael van Gerwen and Adrian Lewis to dominate darts

Rod Harrington Posted 30th December 2012 view comments

Michael van Gerwen's win over Adrian Lewis was probably the best advertisement we could have for the sport of darts.

It was two young men going hammer and tongs at each other and the speed of each player made it so exciting to watch. It was two great ambassadors for the sport playing at the top of their game and entertaining the crowd.

Van Gerwen: celebrates famous win over Lewis

Van Gerwen: celebrates famous win over Lewis

Even an old guy like me who has been in the game for 30 years was on the edge of my seat throughout! I have nothing but admiration for both of them.

Lewis said afterwards that it was better than the classic Barney-Taylor final of 2007, but it's very hard to judge one game against another. That game was many years ago, was a final and went to a tie-break.

But I was full of anticipation for what could happen on Saturday night and I told Dave Clark when we left the studio that I wanted it to go to 5-4 - and once it went to 4-4 I didn't mind who won because both of them are great for the game.

In fact, I think these two guys could be the next two players to dominate the sport. Phil Taylor is still playing brilliant darts, even though he's not at the top of his game, but at his age is obviously looking to ease down a little bit and Barney has got some form back too.

But Lewis and Van Gerwen have got 20 years in front of them and it's great to see that all the hard work that the PDC has put in to make things right is paying off.

That match on Saturday night was almost like payback for everything we've done!

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Van Gerwen deserves a lot of credit because he missed a lot of doubles in the game and yet he never let it affect him.

And the 120 he took out to break Adrian when he was on the verge of winning the seventh set is probably one of the best shots he'll ever take out.

He was missing four or five doubles and being punished by class shots from Lewis and a lot of players would falter in that situation. You thought there was a chance of Lewis taking the initiative and running away with it, but Van Gerwen kept on coming back.

That's the sign of a class player. For years, Taylor has made sure that what happened in the previous set or leg was treated like history and he just gets on with the next leg. Both players did that last night and it was a joy to watch.

It was great to see Adrian Lewis play, in my opinion, the best darts he's played in a long, long time. He punished those missed doubles in the early sets and, like a World Champions does, he then got control of the game and was unfortunate to miss two match darts at double tops, otherwise he'd have been in the semis himself. That's how close it was.

Adie has not had a great year, but like Van Gerwen, there is no limit to his talent and no limit to what he can win. I hope that match teaches him a few things about his throw too.

The speed of his throw was absolutely perfect on Saturday night. Myself and Eric Bristow hate it when he throws away the last dart - which costs him matches - but every single dart was the same pace against Van Gerwen. His rhythm was perfect.

If I could ever give Adie advice it would be the rhythm of his throw. He mustn't be too quick because sometimes you don't pick the dart up right and it goes too low or too high, so he needs to keep it steady like he did in that match.

If he can replicate that then it should kick-start his career again in 2013 after a bad year. I know he'll be hurting because he's a double world champion and he's lost his crown, but I hope the way he played in that match will spur him on to play brilliantly next year. It's time for him to put tournament darts above everything else (apart from his family, obviously).

In my opinion they'll both be in the Premier League and I'm looking forward to their performances if they can keep this standard up.I can't wait for 2013 now. This has been the best World Championship ever, it was incredible from the first round, and the last eight was exceptional.

The PDC has been breeding stronger players to go on TV and entertain the Sky Sports viewers - and the package couldn't be much better than it is at the moment!

Rod's semi-final predictions (7pm, Sun, Sky Sports 1 HD & Sky 3D)

James Wade v Michael van Gerwen: I've backed James Wade to win every match he's played so far, but he's going to have to up his game to reach the final. If you go by stats and stats alone then Van Gerwen wins this game, but Wade is very good at doing the right thing at the right time.

Phil Taylor v Raymond van Barneveld: I've never seen Barney in such a boisterous mood and Phil doesn't like it (as I wouldn't), so he's out to put him in his place. I fear that if Barney gets thrashed it would set him back six months, but I think this could go all the way. I like both of them and it's hard to call, but I would have to go with my old mucker Phil. My heart says he'll just nick it - but a Barney win wouldn't surprise me.

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