Michael van Gerwen averages a remarkable 118.52 in 6-1 demolition of Ross Smith at Players Championship Finals; we’re back for the World Darts Championship from December 15, 2023 to January 3, 2024 – live on Sky Sports
Last Updated: 26/11/23 8:17am
Michael van Gerwen produced the highest average in Players Championship Finals history en route to a showdown with Stephen Bunting in the quarter-finals.
The reigning champion struck a staggering 118.52 average thanks to legs of 10, 18, 12, 11, 12 and 12 darts in his 6-1 second-round demolition of former European Champion Ross Smith.
Van Gerwen was less spectacular in his third-round victory against Mario Vandenbogaerde, despite winning six of the last eight legs to run out a 10-6 winner against the Belgian.
“When things go well, I know how well I can play,” declared Van Gerwen, who is eyeing his first premier televised ranking title of 2023.
“It is nice to produce a game like this, because you know you’ve got that game in you. You want to show this [type of performance] time after time, but you also need a good opponent!
“It was a battle against Mario, but the most important thing is that I won, and going through to the quarter-finals gives me an extra boost, and I feel good about it.”
Van Gerwen’s last eight opponent will be Stephen Bunting, after the Grand Slam semi-finalist followed up his demolition of Gian van Veen with a 10-8 victory over 2012 runner-up Kim Huybrechts.
Bunting averaged almost 106 and landed a trio of ton-plus finishes to dispatch Dutch star Van Veen, before rallying from 8-7 down to deny the Belgian – aided by five maximums.
However, Van Gerwen remains on a potential collision course with Luke Humphries, who saw off Radek Szaganski and Ryan Searle to maintain his bid for a third televised triumph in seven weeks.
Humphries whitewashed a shell-shocked Szaganski in just nine minutes, averaging 107 and converting all six of his attempts at double.
The newly crowned World Grand Prix and Grand Slam champion then delivered another ton-topping average against Searle, fending off a late rally from the Somerset star to triumph 10-7.
“Ryan is so underrated. He’s one of the toughest players to beat,” claimed Humphries, having raced into a 6-1 lead before sealing his progress with a 103 average.
“Ryan came back well, but I don’t panic any more. I’ve had a great couple of months, I’m relaxed and I believe in my own ability.
“These are tough days. They require a lot of energy and focus, but I’ve been able to draw on my experience from the European Tour, and I’m hoping I can go all the way again.”
Humphries will renew his rivalry with James Wade in the last eight, after the ten-time TV title winner overcame Steve Lennon and Dimitri Van den Bergh on Saturday.
Earlier in the day, top seed Gerwyn Price suffered a chastening 6-1 defeat to Huybrechts in round two, while 2014 champion Gary Anderson was edged out by Van den Bergh at the same stage of the event.
The tournament will conclude on Sunday, with the afternoon’s quarter-finals followed by the semi-finals and final later in the evening.
The evening session will also see the PDC World Youth Championship final take place, as emerging Dutchman Gian van Veen takes on teenage sensation Luke Littler for the coveted title.
2023 Players Championship Finals
Saturday November 25
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-5 Gary Anderson
Damon Heta 6-4 Kevin Doets
Kim Huybrechts 6-1 Gerwyn Price
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Ross Smith
Dave Chisnall 6-4 Chris Dobey
Luke Humphries 6-0 Radek Szaganski
Jermaine Wattimena 6-5 Richard Veenstra
Stephen Bunting 6-1 Gian van Veen
Ryan Searle 6-3 Ricardo Pietreczko
Mario Vandenbogaerde 6-2 Matt Campbell
Brendan Dolan 6-5 Maik Kuivenhoven
Luke Woodhouse 6-3 Rob Cross
Gabriel Clemens 6-3 Josh Rock
Ryan Joyce 6-4 Joe Cullen
Niels Zonneveld 6-2 Jonny Clayton
James Wade 6-2 Steve Lennon
Stephen Bunting 10-8 Kim Huybrechts
Michael van Gerwen 10-6 Mario Vandenbogaerde
Luke Humphries 10-7 Ryan Searle
James Wade 10-6 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Damon Heta 10-8 Brendan Dolan
Luke Woodhouse 10-8 Dave Chisnall
Gabriel Clemens 10-1 Niels Zonneveld
Ryan Joyce 10-7 Jermaine Wattimena
Sunday November 26
Afternoon Session (1245-1700 GMT)
Stephen Bunting vs Michael van Gerwen
Luke Woodhouse vs Gabriel Clemens
James Wade vs Luke Humphries
Damon Heta vs Ryan Joyce
Best of 19 legs
Evening Session (1900-2300 GMT)
Bunting/Van Gerwen vs Woodhouse/Clemens
Wade/Humphries vs Heta/Joyce
Best of 21 legs
PDC World Youth Championship Final
Gian van Veen v Luke Littler
Best of 11 legs
Bunting/Van Gerwen/Woodhouse/Clemens vs Wade/Humphries/Heta/Joyce
When is the World Darts Championship?
The sport’s biggest event will be held from December 15, 2023 to January 3, 2024 as 96 players compete for the Sid Waddell Trophy and £2.5m in prize money at Alexandra Palace.
You can watch all the action live on our dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel.
Watch the World Darts Championship from December 15, 2023 to January 3, 2024 – live on Sky Sports.
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