Michael van Gerwen beats Adrian Lewis to win Players Championship
Last Updated: 30/11/15 7:24am
Michael van Gerwen stormed to the second Players Championship title of his career after defeating Adrian Lewis 11-6 in an entertaining final at the Butlins Resort in Minehead.
With the draw for the World Championship set to take place on Monday, which you can see live on Sky Sports News HQ from 10.30am and streamed for free on Skysports.com, van Gerwen ensured he will go in as a red hot favourite after a fourth successive TV tournament victory.
Lewis held his throw to take the first leg but an 11-darter followed by a break for Van Gerwen saw the Dutchman edge ahead. Lewis hit back with a 118 checkout to restore parity at 2-2 but Van Gerwen took the fifth leg to go into the break in front.
Back-to-back legs saw Van Gerwen open up a 5-2 lead but Lewis fought back to make it 5-4, bringing the crowd to life. But Van Gerwen ramped up the pressure on Lewis, winning three legs on the bounce to open up a four-leg advantage.
A 102 checkout from Lewis saw him make it 8-5 but two straight legs for Van Gerwen left him throwing for the match at 10-5. The Dutchman appeared to be in control but two missed darts at double 16 allowed Lewis to take out 147, giving the Englishman a glimmer of hope.
But Van Gerwen won a scrappy final leg, finishing with a double six to win his second Players Championship title in the last three years and set himself up perfectly for a tilt at a second world crown at Alexandra Palace.
"I just want to keep performing like this for the rest of the year," van Gerwen said after the win.
"I thought I played really well and if you want to win the World Championships you need to stay focused. I'm going to make sure I have a little bit of rest over the next few weeks so that I am ready for the Worlds. It's going to be a tough tournament and you cannot afford to make any mistakes."
Lewis had earlier qualified for the final in style after thrashing Mensur Suljovic 11-1 in the semi-final while maintaining an average of more than 103.
Lewis broke the Suljovic throw in the first leg and never looked back racing into an 8-0 lead. A checkout of 96 saw the Austrian get on the board to make it 8-1 but Lewis ran away with the next three legs setting up a showdown with the winner of van Gerwen and Daryl Gurney.
Van Gerwen brushed Gurney aside 11-2 in his semi-final but the Northern Irishman had chances against the defending champion early on. Gurney should have broken van Gerwen in the very first leg but the Dutchman held on before taking the second leg against the throw. Gurney managed tio win back-to-back legs to make it 2-2 but van Gerwen turned on the style winning nine legs on the trot to reach the final.
Meanwhile, Max Hopp became the first ever German PDC Unicorn World Youth Champion after a thrilling 6-5 victory over Stockport's Nathan Aspinall.
Hopp, who is now the highest ranked German in the sport at the tender age of 19, claimed the winner's cheque of £10,000 and a place at the World Championships.
Watch the live draw for this year's World Darts Championship on Monday, from 10.30am on Sky Sports News HQ, and the draw will also be streamed for free on Skysports.com.