Mighty Mike the man to beat at Ally Pally
Moments after an epic 5-4 victory over reigning Ladbrokes World Darts Championship holder Adrian Lewis, Michael van Gerwen was made joint favourite for the title alongside Phil Taylor.
The World Grand Prix champion posted a three-dart average of 102 in winning a final-set decider against Lewis on Saturday that saw him reach the last four for the first time in his career.
Given Van Gerwen’s form coming into the tournament, his odds of 13/8 to win aren’t that surprising.
Next up for Van Gerwen on Sunday is James Wade, who has yet to average over 93 in any of his games, although there are signs of improvement from the number three seed. To win the match, Van Gerwen is the overwhelming favourite at 1/5.
At 7/2, Wade is the rank outsider in the semi-final, but he did win their last televised encounter at the World Matchplay back in July, where he won in the quarter-finals 16-13.
Despite the fact that neither player has been given much time to rest before they take to the Ally Pally stage on Sunday evening, Van Gerwen is feeling confident.
In an exclusive interview with Ladbrokes, Van Gerwen said after defeating the defending champion: “I had a great game with Adrian and we both needed to play well, and we did. I look forward to the next game and want to do some damage.”
About Wade, he added: “It’s going to be a different game. He’s a slow player and is totally different to Adrian Lewis.
“I know I can play well and have another good run. I hope I can show everyone how I can play again.”
Van Gerwen insists he can handle the pressure of being tipped for the title.
The Dutch ace said: “I just heard that I’m joint-favourite with Taylor but it doesn’t say anything. I was favourite to win the Lakeside in 2007, but went out in the first round there.
“We will see what happens when I play James Wade.”
Van Gerwen’s 4-1 third-round win over Colin Lloyd came after the 23-year-old sustained injuries to both his feet – a fractured toe on one foot and an infected Achilles on the other.
Nevertheless, Van Gerwen made light of his problems to produce an incredible display on Saturday night that left Lewis crestfallen after a run of 15 successive wins at Ally Pally.
Brimming with confidence after arguably the best performance of his career, is Van Gerwen now set to succeed Lewis as the title winner at the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship?
Please Note: All Odds and Markets are correct at the time of publishing