Ladbrokes World Darts Championship: van Gerwen set for Taylor Title Showdown

Michael van Gerwen is set to face 15-time World Champion Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor in the final of the £1 million Ladbrokes World Championship on Tuesday evening.

The 23-year-old Dutch sensation, who enjoyed the most successful year of his career in 2012, will kick off the New Year with the biggest moment of his life.

van Gerwen has stormed through to the final of the prestigious tournament at London’s Alexandra Palace with victories over Paul Lim, Peter Wright, Colin Lloyd, Adrian Lewis and James Wade.

He is now hoping to complete his dream of becoming World Champion by reproducing his scintillating form on the biggest stage of all, against the sport’s greatest ever player.

“I can’t wait to play Phil in the final,” said van Gerwen, who defeated Taylor with a special performance at the Grand Slam of Darts in November.

“It is a dream for me. This has been a fantastic tournament and I have beaten some brilliant players but the job is not done yet.

“I want to win the final so much. It is going to be very hard but it is very exciting for me.

“Phil is the 15-time World Champion and I am looking for that title for the first time.

“He is still the best player in the World but I know I can beat him and I’m playing well.”

There is no questioning the ability or form of the explosive Dutchman, nicknamed ‘Mighty Mike’.

He has won an incredible eight ranking titles in the last twelve months, including his first PDC major at the World Grand Prix.

And, at the Ally Pally, van Gerwen has delighted his ‘green army’ with a string of almost implausible performances, including a dramatic tie-break triumph to knock out two-time and defending champion Lewis, before producing a succession of 17 perfect darts, which almost saw him follow a sensational nine-darter with another one, in his semi-final success over Wade.

van Gerwen added: “I never expected to hit a nine-darter against James, or to be on for a second one. That was a beautiful moment for me.

“I have to keep playing like this to be able to beat Phil. I have won against him the last two times we’ve played but this is different.

“He is a special opponent. To win this and beat him in the final would be the perfect way to become World Champion.”

By Chris Murphy

Images courtesy of Lawrenc Lustig/PDC

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