Rob Smyth at Alexandra Palace

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Jan 02

Michael van Gerwen blitzes Raymond van Barneveld to set up dream PDC final

• World No1 produces record-breaking display to beat fellow Dutchman
• Van Gerwen meets reigning champion Gary Anderson in Monday’s final

There are dream finals, there are probable epics, and there is Gary Anderson versus Michael van Gerwen in the final of the PDC World Championship. The two best players on earth will meet tonight after emphatic victories in the semi-finals. The reigning champion, Anderson, won his 17th consecutive match at the worlds, beating Peter Wright 6-3. The world No1 Van Gerwen’s response was to shatter the record for the highest average in this tournament during his 6-2 win over Raymond van Barneveld.

On the oche the two are very similar, rapid-fire geniuses who have taken darts to another level. Their contrasting backstories will add even greater spice. Anderson, champion in the past two years, says he does not need to win; Van Gerwen says a year in which he won 25 tournaments will be a disaster if he does not become world champion. “This means nothing,” he said after the semi-finals. “My hands are still empty. The final is all that counts. I made my goal very clear, and anyone in my path needs to get out of my way.”

Related: Gary Anderson sees off Peter Wright to stay on track for PDC World Darts treble

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jan/02/michael-van-gerwen-raymond-van-barneveld-pdc-world-darts-semi-final

Jan 01

Gary Anderson sees off Peter Wright to stay on track for PDC World Darts treble

• Anderson reaches final again after 6-3 win over fellow Scotsman
• I don’t want to give title up, says 2014 and 2015 champion

Gary Anderson is one game from true greatness. Only Phil Taylor and Eric Bristow have won three consecutive world championships, but Anderson has the chance to join that club after an ultimately comfortable 6-3 win over Peter Wright in the semi-final. It was his 17th victory in a row at Alexandra Palace, and he has the aura to match.

For so long Anderson was the underachieving genius of darts. He won his first world title two years ago at the age of 44, beating Phil Taylor 7-6 in a classic final, and followed up by retaining his title with formidable authority a year ago. Once he struggled under extreme pressure; now he is a big-game specialist, who saves his best darts for the biggest tournament of all.

Related: Fans in fancy dress at the World Darts Championship – in pictures

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jan/01/gary-anderson-peter-wright-pdc-world-darts-championship