Wright averaged 102.79 in the final against Van Gerwen’s 102.88
Published in BBC on Jan 1st, 2020,
Scotsman Peter Wright captured his first PDC World Championship title with a superb 7-3 win over 2019 champion Michael van Gerwen at Alexandra Palace.
The 49-year-old lost 7-4 to Van Gerwen in the 2014 final and had previously lost 10 of his 11 major finals.
But Wright raced into a 2-0 lead and with the three-time champion missing doubles, built a 6-3 advantage.
Seventh seed Wright, who survived a sudden-death shootout in round two, is the second oldest winner of the event.
Phil Taylor won the last of his 16 world titles aged 53 in 2013.
“Champion of the world sounds amazing. You should never give up, it doesn’t matter how many times you get beaten,” an emotional Wright told Sky Sports.
“I couldn’t believe that first dart [for the match] didn’t go in, or the second one – and I thought ‘don’t do it again’ but I’ve done it.”
Van Gerwen had a slightly higher average than Wright – 102.88 to 102.79 – but landed only 40% of his doubles against 53% from the champion.
In his fifth world final and seeking his third crown in the past four years, 30-year-old Dutchman Van Gerwen was eyeing a 60th win in his 79th encounter with Wright and an eighth successive major final victory over the colourful Scot.
Both players came into the final with a 44% doubles success rate but Wright missed three darts for the opening leg, although his consistency soon sealed the first set after Van Gerwen clipped the wire of the bullseye with his attempt at a 170 finish in the decider.
Averaging 105.02, Wright raced through the next set 3-1, before the champion needed only 37 darts to take the third 3-0.
Van Gerwen levelled the match at 2-2 after Wright missed his favourite double top that would have given him a two-set lead again.
But Van Gerwen, who won all six of his major finals in 2019, was in arrears at the interval as Wright recorded a 10-dart finish and then saw the Dutchman squander six darts for the next leg.
With Van Gerwen continuing to miss the doubles, Wright duly moved two sets clear again, taking the sixth 3-0 and soon led by two for the third time at 5-3.
Both players missed two darts to win the ninth set but Wright eventually claimed it to move within one set of the title.
Van Gerwen missed double 12 for the first nine-dart finish of the tournament and he was soon to miss out on the overall prize as well as the assured Wright sank double 10 at the third time of asking to land the sport’s biggest prize.
Van Gerwen lamented: “Of course I’m very disappointed. Everything I missed he took out, his finishing was phenomenal and I can only blame myself.
“I had six darts to break throw in the fifth set and if you don’t take chances like that against a player like Peter Wright you don’t win, simple as that.”