96 players began the 2022/23 PDC World Darts Championship dreaming of being the World Champion. Now, just two remain.
After all the thrills, spills and darting drama of the last 16 days, two players called Michael are left.
It’s a rematch of the 2019 Final, but Michael Smith is a completely different player to the one that lost 7-3 to Michael van Gerwen that evening.
It’s time to preview and look ahead to this year’s PDC World Darts Championship Final, which will also see the crowning of a new world number one.
Smith looks to round off great year with biggest title
365 days ago, Michael Smith lost his second World Darts Championship Final to Peter Wright as Snakebite found an extra gear to come back from 5-4 down and win 7-5. Now, he’s got the chance to finally get the star on his shirt once again.
The Bully Boy has had an excellent year. He’s won multiple Pro Tours and a Euro Tour but that was not enough. As well as the Worlds final, he’s reached the final of the UK Open and European Championship, which he lost to Danny Noppert and Ross Smith respectively.
That made it eight big TV titles in which the man from St Helens could not get over the line. That all changed though at the Grand Slam of Darts, when he beat Nathan Aspinall to finally clinch the TV title he’d been so desperately craving.
He started this tournament with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Nathan Rafferty, before having to fight back from 3-1 down to beat Martin Schindler 4-3 in round three. A dominant 4-1 win over Joe Cullen, followed by a scrappy but ultimately successful 5-3 victory over Stephen Bunting in the quarters, saw him play Gabriel Clemens and win 6-2 to book his spot in the final.
His scoring has been largely excellent, hitting 44 180s in this tournament, and he’s also hit 40% of his doubles. Can he make it third time lucky and take home the Sid Waddell Trophy for the first time?
Van Gerwen aims to make it four World Darts Championship titles
Standing in his way is the man who’s led the way in TV titles this year, bidding to round off another fantastic 12 months by reclaiming the biggest prize in the game.
The Premier League. The Betfred World Matchplay. The World Grand Prix. The Players Championship Finals. All four titles have been won this year by Michael van Gerwen. It echoes previous years where The Green Machine dominated the world of darts, and now, after four years of waiting, he wants the Sid Waddell Trophy back in his possession.
It’s been a tournament to remember so far for MvG. He’s averaged over 100 in every single game he’s played. He started off with a 3-0 victory over Lewy Williams, followed by his most competitive game of the tournament in a 4-2 victory over Mensur Suljovic.
4-1, 5-0 and 6-0 victories, against Dirk van Duijvenbode, Chris Dobey and Dimitri Van den Bergh respectively, got Mighty Mike to the final. In fact, he’s not lost the last 13 sets he’s played at this event
His tournament average is a staggering 104.63, and he’s hit nearly 45% of his doubles. In fact, on TV, he’s averaged over 100 12 times in the last 16 games.
It seems that van Gerwen cannot be stopped, but since 2020, only leads Smith 7-6 in their head to head. In fact, Smith leads 80 legs won to 79 legs won for van Gerwen in those 13 meetings.
They’ve both had great years, but which one of them will cap it off and win the World Darts Championship ? The match gets underway from 20.00 GMT.