Van Gerwen returns to winning ways at Players Championship Finals after denying King in pulsating final
Michael van Gerwen won his first televised title since the UK Open in March by narrowly beating Mervyn King 11-10 to win the Players Championship Finals for a sixth time.
The world number one had put in several excellent displays on the way to the semi-finals, where he beat Gerwyn Price to set up a final with King, who saw off Peter Wright to reach a first TV final for six years.
The Norfolk thrower held his own in the final, averaging just under 100 and finishing superbly throughout, including a huge 126 late on in the match.
Van Gerwen was just slightly too good, though, as the three-time world champion averaged 105 and completed the win in a tense last-leg decider.
The final session of action from the Ricoh Arena in Coventry began with a lacklustre showing from Wright as he found himself 6-0 down to ‘The King’.
‘Snakebite’ stemmed the tide a little, but missing three darts to go into the second break at 7-3 behind proved to be crucial as King ran out an 11-4 winner.
The second semi-final was both of a higher standard and a closer contest as Price flew out of the blocks with back-to-back 12-darters to lead ‘Mighty Mike’ 3-0.
Van Gerwen hadn’t done much wrong until that point, and his luck turned to leave the stage at five apiece at the halfway point.
‘The Iceman’ missed three darts for a 7-5 advantage, but it didn’t seem affect him as he won the following two legs to go within three of a second consecutive final in the tournament.
However, his form dipped in the final stages and Van Gerwen reeled off five straight legs to win 11-8 and further his incredible recent record of reaching the final at the Players Championship Finals.
The final began with a flurry of three-figure checkouts as 115 and 107 from King followed by 146 from MVG saw the duo share the opening six legs.
A huge 160 checkout gave Van Gerwen a narrow advantage at the second break, which led to the latest in a series of celebrations that seemed to annoy King.
King’s finishing was keeping him in the contest as he went into the final break 8-7 down, but a 135 finish from Van Gerwen seemed to be the final straw.
A pulsating finale kept on giving as King took out 126 in the next leg to put the match back on throw, before taking it all the way to a decider.
King only had one ton-plus score in his first four visits, which allowed ‘Mighty Mike’ to go out in 17 darts with King sitting on 45 to win the title.
It’s a second narrow defeat in the final of the Players Championship Finals for 54-year-old King, and now six defeats from six in televised PDC finals.
However, Van Gerwen returns to the winners’ circle ahead of next month’s anticipated World Darts Championship and closes the gap to Peter Wright to just £1,250 in the race to be world number one at the end of the season.
2020 PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS
Ricoh Arena, Coventry
Sunday November 29
Mervyn King 11-4 Peter Wright
Michael van Gerwen 11-8 Gerwyn Price
Michael van Gerwen 11-10 Mervyn King
by Jamie Cameron
(Featured Image: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)