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Michael van Gerwen wins maiden World Matchplay title

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Michael van Gerwen won his first World Matchplay title at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool after a 18-12 victory over James Wade.

The Dutchman, who was left in tears after losing out to Phil Taylor at the same stage last year, recorded an average of 99.91 and hit nine maximums on his way to victory.

The first ten legs had been traded; "Mighty Mike" having broken the throw in the first leg was soon behind 4-2 but Wade's missed darts for 80 and 161 checkouts allowed Van Gerwen to pull it back to 5-5.

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And when 6-5 down, Van Gerwen replied in style. He reeled off five successive legs including spectacular finishes of 127 and 144 to lead the tie 10-6.

From there it was pretty much plain sailing for the world number one, an important break of throw in the 23rd leg opened up a five-leg lead at 14-9 which he followed up with a 14-darter to hold his own and move just three legs from the title.

"The Machine" did pull back a couple of legs, but Van Gerwen charged towards the finish line. A ninth 180 and a double tops finish saw him hit a 14-darter to win the match and secure a maiden World Matchplay title.

A wish come true

After being crowned champion, Van Gerwen spoke to the PDC website: "This is fantastic, amazing for me and it's a wish come true. It means a lot to me because after the World Championship this is the biggest ranking event.

"It's totally different to last year. Everybody could see how emotional I was after that game and it means a lot to me to win this trophy.

"I knew what I had to do but we both struggled a bit and couldn't get going for some reason, maybe the pressure of holding this title. James' scoring power wasn't there and he was hanging in there in the game with his finishing.

"He's a difficult player to play against but my scoring was loads better than James' and I wanted to take advantage of that. It doesn't matter how you win a final, to win a final feels great."

Wade: I let myself down

And after a fifth World Matchplay final loss, Wade was understandably disappointed with his performance but took the time to praise his opponent.

"It doesn't matter how you win a final"

"It's an honour to be in the final but I let myself down a little bit. From start to finish I struggled, and I wasn't good enough.

"I'm devastated, because I know I was good enough to win that final but I laid down and got steamrollered.

"I'm happy to be in the final and to mix it with the best players in the world again, but I'm not happy with how I played. It's almost as if someone cut my arm off, and the most simple shots became hard work.

"I expected Michael to come out all guns blazing and he didn't do it, but he did it when it mattered. He's a true champion and he did a job against me and won quite comfortably.

"I'm really happy with how it's gone this week and I can take positives from the other games this week, but hats off to Michael."

Van Gerwen will be looking to defend another title in the next major tournament for the PDC, the World Grand Prix in Dublin which begins on October 4.

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