NINE-DART VAN GERWEN’S PC3 GLORY

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NINE-DART STAR Michael van Gerwen was at his flamboyant best as he clinched the Players Championship Three title, beating Ian White 8-5 in the final at the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan on Saturday.

In a day in which he hit a stunning nine-darter – his second in as many weekends – the world number one toyed with his opponents like a lion with its prey as he raced to a second ProTour title of 2019.

Van Gerwen’s moment of perfection came in his third round clash with Jamie Hughes, landing a 177 and 174 to set up a 150 finish, which he confidently took out with two treble 19s and double 18 to secure the victory.

In the final, Van Gerwen was ruthless; averaging 105.7, his highest of the day, the Dutchman took out two 160 finishes and a showpiece 170 to clinch the title in style.

He started by taking the opening two legs, but White responded well to level things at 2-2.

Van Gerwen then landed the first of his 160 finishes, before hitting tops to reopen a two-leg advantage.

The next two legs went with throw, before back-to-back 12 darters – the second with a 170 checkout – from the World Champion put him in touching distance of the title.

He wasn’t done there though, as his second 160 checkout put him 7-3 ahead and on the brink of victory.

White made him wait for his crowning moment with a 12-darter and then a break of throw of his own, but ultimately was powerless to resist as Van Gerwen sealed the win.

The Dutch ace started his day with a routine 6-3 victory over Ryan Searle.

His statistically worst performance of the day was to follow as he averaged just 90 in a 6-4 win over Ross Smith.

But he soon took it up a notch as he saw off Hughes 6-3, including that perfect leg, before beating World Youth Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh by the same scoreline.

The quarter-finals again saw him run out a 6-3 winner, this time against new Tour Card holder Gavin Carlin – who was enjoying his best run yet in a PDC event.

And in the semi-finals, he comfortably dispatched Mervyn King 7-3 to set up the final with White.

World number 12 White, who has enjoyed regular success on the floor, was hunting his second ProTour title in eight months, and a first title since his European Tour win back in September 2018.

He started his run to the final with a convincing 6-1 win over Vincent Kamphuis, averaging 103.6 in the process.

With confidence flowing, he then dispatched Mark Webster 6-3 and Ryan Joyce and Darren Webster 6-4 respectively to reach the quarter-finals.

There he saw off John Henderson by the same scoreline to set up a semi-final clash with Newcastle’s Chris Dobey.

In a high quality encounter, White recovered from 3-2 down to string together four straight legs and lead 6-3 in an impressive middle spell.

Dobey responded with a break of throw and hold of his own but White was the one to progress a 7-5 winner, before falling at the final hurdle to Van Gerwen.

The Players Championship double-header continues on Sunday, with a further £75,000 to play for as 128 players compete.

All the action will be broadcast live for all PDCTV-HD Subscribers worldwide through PDCTV-HD (1200 GMT start), with coverage from two boards throughout the event.

Players Championship Three

Saturday February 16, Robin Park Tennis Centre, Wigan

Last 16

Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Dimitri Van den Bergh

Gavin Carlin 6-1 Kim Huybrechts

Steve West 6-1 Ron Meulenkamp

Mervyn King 6-4 Andy Boulton

Ian White 6-4 Darren Webster

John Henderson 6-5 Jose De Sousa

Chris Dobey 6-5 Zoran Lerchbacher

Peter Wright 6-2 Toni Alcinas

Quarter-Finals

Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Gavin Carlin

Mervyn King 6-5 Steve West

Ian White 6-4 John Henderson

Chris Dobey 6-3 Peter Wright

Semi-Finals

Michael van Gerwen 7-3 Mervyn King

Ian White 7-5 Chris Dobey

Final

Michael van Gerwen 8-5 Ian White

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