Michael van Gerwen reflects on 'phenomenal' Premier League Darts victory after beating Michael Smith
"Until the break I played phenomenal. After that, I saw my average, I thought, 'Now I can aim for my own record' - then it went wrong."
By Sky Sports Darts
Last Updated: 18/05/18 11:30am
Michael van Gerwen says he is feeling "phenomenal" after claiming a third successive Premier League Darts title, but conceded his quality dropped as he sought to break his world-record 123.4 average.
Van Gerwen had overcome his World Championship conqueror Rob Cross to reach the showdown with Smith, who himself stunned two-time Premier League champion Gary Anderson in the semis.
A dominant final display saw Van Gerwen take home his fourth Premier League trophy in six years, and the world No 1 admitted he was flying - until he noticed he was nearing his world-record average.
"I did it again. I'm a pleased man. To do something like this, it feels phenomenal. What more do you want?" Van Gerwen told Sky Sports.
"I played a young guy like Michael here, he's had a phenomenal year so far, he's grown up and one of the big boys now. You have to play well if you want to beat him.
"Until the break I played phenomenal. After that, I saw my average, I thought, 'Now I can aim for my own record' - then it went wrong.
"Maybe it's wrong to say, I knew I had a big chance of winning that game, but then you went to do something extra, like maybe break your own record.
"It was maybe too much. I played phenomenal there, he put me under pressure a few times, but I think there was only one winner. I'm really glad I produced this, because I had to."
Van Gerwen went on to average 112.37 against Smith, falling just short of the 112.49 record to win a major title - set when he beat Raymond van Barneveld at the 2015 Masters.
MvG added: "I knew my average was great at that moment, but for some reason, I couldn't hold it. It's maybe also the pressure of everything, of the tournament. I've got so much pressure to win this one, because after the World Championships this is the biggest one.
"Of course, everybody knows I didn't win that one, but I still retained this one, and it means a lot to me. I had to work hard the last 16 weeks, so for me to retain that, it feels phenomenal."
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