Michael van Gerwen has promised a dramatic finale in the Ladbroke World Darts Championship as he bids to win his maiden title against 15-time world champion Phil Taylor at Alexandra Palace.
The Dutchman, 23, threw a nine-dart finish on the way to beating James Wade 6-4 in his semi-final to book a place against Taylor in tonight’s eagerly-anticipated showdown.
Van Gerwen has won his last two meetings with Taylor, who secured his passage to the final with a victory over Raymond van Barneveld in a highly charged match, which culminated in ’The Power’ refusing to accept any post-match congratulations from the Dutchman in a heated exchange.
However, Van Gerwen – nicknamed ’Mighty Mike’ – refuses to take Taylor’s challenge lightly.
“I like playing him and he likes playing me so it should be a hard game,” Van Gerwen told Sky Sports News.
“It’s one for everyone to watch – it’s going to be a cracking match. He’ll be ready to play me – he wants his title back, I want my first title.
“We are both going to work very hard and it’s going to be a cracking game. For me it’s a dream come true.”
The final will be the Dutchman’s first at the north London venue, and he also nearly booked his place in the history books in his semi-final clash with Wade when he was the width of the wire away from claiming back-to-back nine dart finishes.
Taylor believes it will take a “massive effort” to beat Van Gerwen tonight.
He said: “The lad is phenomenal. He doesn’t show any fear and has probably played the best darts I’ve ever seen in my career, apart from perhaps Dennis Priestley and ’Barney’ (Van Barneveld).
“His form at the minute is unbelievable. It’s going to take a massive, massive effort to just stay with him I think.
“I saw a little bit of vulnerability in his game last night against James, who I thought was coming back at him. But then he spurted on again.
“He’s putting the effort in and he’s getting his just rewards. I think he can improve even more, he’s that good a player.”