England’s Michael Smith won his first PDC World Championship title by beating Netherlands’ Michael van Gerwen 7-4 in a thrilling final Alexandra Palace on Tuesday that included what has been hailed as the “best leg of darts ever.”
The highlight of the match came in the second set when the pair combined for 17 consecutive perfect darts, with Van Gerwen missing his ninth dart to finish before Smith converted, sparking wild scenes among the crowd.
Smith became just the second player to hit a nine-dart finish in a World Championship final, after Adrian Lewis in 2011.
“My two best achievements are sat over there, my two kids,” Smith told Sky Sports after the win.
“As a sporting memory it’s the greatest ever, and I don’t think that will ever be topped. Even if I win a second, it will never top the way I’ve just felt then.”
THE BEST LEG OF ALL TIME! 🤯🔥
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN MISSES D12 FOR A NINE-DARTER, AND THEN SMITH PINS A PERFECT LEG HIMSELF!
ONE OF THE GREATEST THINGS YOU’LL EVER SEE IN SPORT. pic.twitter.com/WyKWFcxq5V
— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) January 3, 2023
The outcome was almost a complete reversal of the 2019 final when van Gerwen breezed past Smith to win his last World Championship crown with a 7-3 victory.
“I was hitting 180, 180 in practice and missing so I thought I would give the crowd what they deserve. I got a magical nine and it was good,” Smith said.
The match remained close until Smith pulled ahead in the seventh set, having lost the first two legs in it, to go up 4-3.
After that, momentum was on his side as he took the eighth and ninth sets to lead Van Gerwen 6-3.
Despite a late flurry from Van Gerwen, Smith held on claiming his first title and becoming the new world No. 1.
“He played really well. Of course I had my chances, I was playing not too well in the last few sets, but you can only blame yourself for that,” Van Gerwen said.
“I wasn’t what I wanted to be, but that’s part of the game unfortunately and you have to take it on the chin.”
Smith is the fifth Englishman to win the title since the first Championship was held in 1994.
Information from Reuters contributed to this report.