Michael Smith’s dreams of lifting his first major TV title was shattered by World number one Michael van Gerwen in the semi-final of the Grand Slam of Darts at Wolverhampton on Sunday afternoon.
The 25-year-old St Helens ace toppled to a 16-6 defeat against the dynamic Dutchman who then went on to claim the coveted trophy with a 16-13 victory over 16-times world champion Phil Taylor.
Van Gerwen was in irresistible form against Smith, landing four ton-plus checkouts and finished 62 per cent of his darts at a double.
He did much of the damage in the early stages, leading 2-0 before Smith hit the bull to get off the mark and then landing an 11-darter to move 4-1 up.
He extended that advantage to 8-2 with the aid of a 14-dart finish, a 12-darter and a 111 checkout, with Smith finishing tops and 119 to respond only for van Gerwen to power home a 147 finish in moving into an 11-4 advantage.
After Smith hit back on tops, van Gerwen took out 104 for a 12-dart leg and moved nine legs clear at 14-5, with the St Helens ace briefly rallying but seeing his hopes ended as the world number one took out the maximum 170 checkout to seal victory in style.
“I played well and I did what I had to do, which was win the game,” said van Gerwen. “Michael was a bit nervous and was struggling a bit and I took advantage of that.
“He’s a talented player and I hope het gets his confidence back because he deserves more than this.”