Michael van Gerwen wins third for vanguard sports PDC world championship darts title . Michael van Gerwen was appearing in his fourth final .
The Dutchman, 29, raced into a 4-0 lead before 10th seed Smith whipped the home crowd into a frenzy by winning five successive legs to make it 4-2.
Number one seed Michael van Gerwen held off England‘s Michael Smith to win a third PDC World Championship title with a 7-3 victory at Alexandra Palace.
After Van Gerwen silenced the crowd in the seventh, Smith missed two crucial set-winning checkouts in the eighth.
The champion was not at his best but banked a winners’ cheque of £500,000.
Victory takes Van Gerwen, who also won in 2014 and 2017, to second in the list of PDC World Championship title wins, but he is way off the record of 14 victories set by the retired Phil Taylor.
Smith, who was appearing in his first final and whose previous best was the last eight in 2016, paid for a nervous start and failed to make Van Gerwen pay when the Dutchman faltered.
That was no more evident in the eighth set when 28-year-old Smith, who will marry his fiance this Saturday, missed a double five that could have added pressure to his opponent.
Smith did not buckle as he dragged it back to 6-3, but Van Gerwen finally shook off the dogged Englishman from St Helens.
‘Maybe I tried too much’ – Smith
Van Gerwen’s three-dart average in the final was 102.21, which was down on his 103.28 for the tournament, but his 14 maximums and greater experience told in the crucial moments.
“He always makes it hard for me, he is a good player and one day he will lift this trophy.”
Smith, who earned £200,000 as a runner-up, failed to rouse the crowd early on – leading to a downbeat atmosphere inside Alexandra Palace in London.
But when Smith began to show some consistency midway through the contest, the spectators sensed a potential comeback was on.
The only shame for them was that it did not last long and despite Smith saving two match-winning darts as he reduced the deficit to 6-3, Van Gerwen held the greater nerve in the end.