Reigning world champion Gary Anderson will meet world No 1 Michael van Gerwen in dream final
Anderson beats Peter Wright while MVG overcomes Raymond van Barneveld with record-breaking average
By Raz Mirza
Last Updated: 03/01/17 3:56pm
Back-to-back reigning and defending PDC world champion Gary Anderson will take on No 1 and odds-on-favourite Michael van Gerwen to claim the £350,000 winners' cheque after both men sealed their spot in Monday night's final with highly entertaining wins.
'The Flying Scotsman' remained on course for an unprecedented hat-trick of titles at Alexandra Palace after defeating former finalist Peter Wright 6-3 in a tartan tear-up.
Tungsten winning machine Van Gerwen put an end to Dutch compatriot Raymond van Barneveld's dream of a sixth title thanks to a comprehensive 6-2 success in which he averaged a record-breaking 114.05 three-dart average, while his opponent recorded the highest losing average ever with 109.
In the battle of Scotland Anderson came into his latest clash against an in-form Wright in buoyant mood and his record of never having lost a semi-final match remained untouched on the north London stage as he extended his winning run to a record 17 matches with methodical precision.
Fourth seed Wright, like Van Gerwen, had averaged more than 100 in all his matches en route to the semis, but made the worst possible start by missing seven darts at doubles to gift his opponent the opening set with a clean sweep.
Despite Wright averaging a remarkable 116, he lost the next to the two-time Premier League winner Anderson in the deciding leg, but the colourful Scotsman hit back in the third set after a stunning 10-dart leg.
Anderson restored his two-set cushion after a blistering set of arrows which included six 180s between the players and three ton-plus finishes. But after missing three darts at double for a 4-1 lead, Wright took out a two-dart 90 finish to get back to within one and he soon made it a level playing field.
Anderson hit back to take a 4-3 lead and then produced a show-stopping 157 checkout of the highest order to leave Wright's jaw on the Ally Pally floor.
That knocked the stuffing out of Wright as Anderson went on to claim victory and a spot in his fourth final in seven years.
"I'm just glad to get over the winning line," said Anderson, who had a 103.45 three-dart average, four ton-plus checkouts and 15 maximums. "It would be an astonishing achievement. I'm still going and I don't want to give the title up."
Then the two Dutch darting legends took to the oche and it was the 2014 champion, Van Gerwen, who extended his winning streak to 27 consecutive victories and 39 consecutive matches in PDC televised ranking tournaments as he exacted sweet revenge over Van Barneveld for his last 16 defeat last year in typically ruthless fashion.
Van Barneveld was hoping to make it a hat-trick of big-name scalps, having seen off Adrian Lewis and old adversary Phil Taylor in successive rounds to reach the last four, but was unable to do the double over his fellow Dutchman.
He began in supreme fashion though, with 107, 131 and 96 checkouts to whitewash his opponent with a blistering set of arrows.
MVG levelled after another awe-inspiring set of darts. There were eight maximums and five three-figure outshots during the first two sets in total.
The 27-year-old ran away with the third before the man from Den Haag struck back in the next thanks in large to an 11-dart leg and a 127 checkout.
But then Van Gerwen steamrollered a beleaguered Van Barneveld with some powerful scoring and phenomenal finishing to win the next four sets in a row. He came within one dart of completing a nine-darter in the opening leg of the eighth set, but narrowly missed double 12. He completed victory with an exhibition 90 shot, which included two double 18s.
"I had to perform my A-game if I had to win this game," said Van Gerwen, who also nailed 15 180s during his win in which he broke Phil Taylor's average of 111, which stood for 15 years. "My scoring power, everything was there. What can I do more? This is what I want to do all the time. This game was amazing. I think I did better than well today."
His losing opponent was left distraught from the loss and questioned his future in the sport after an emotional, but successful tournament for the 12th seed.
"I hope for Holland that Van Gerwen wins," said Van Barneveld, who also managed 68 per cent on his checkouts. "There is no other trophies - this is the one. I'm gutted. My family is missing me and I'm missing them. I'm not good enough and maybe in a couple of years I might pack it in."
You can see all the action from the dream final at Alexandra Palace on Sky Sports 1 & Sky Sports Darts HD from 7pm. Don't forget, you can send us your comments by tweeting us @SkySportsDarts ... #LoveTheDarts
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