Michael van Gerwen has warned Michael Smith that “no one is going to stop me” in his pursuit of a fourth world title.
The Dutchman secured a place in Tuesday’s final against Smith after beating Dimitri van den Bergh 6-0 in his semi-final at Alexandra Palace.
Smith, who beat Gabriel Clemens 6-2 in his last four games, has vowed “revenge” for his loss to Van Gerwen in 2019, but that could be a big request given his opponent’s current form.
Van Gerwen averaged over 100 points per round, peaking at 108.28 against the Belgian, and will be a heavy favorite to add to the titles he won in 2014, 2017 and 2019.
There was drama in his semi-final when Van den Bergh accused his opponent of intruding on the oche while throwing, but the Dutchman showed that only he had a place on the stage with an imperious display.
“He won’t stop me, no one will stop me,” said Van Gerwen of Smith’s vow of revenge. “I feel too good for that, I’m comfortable and I’m playing good darts.
“It’s phenomenal to play the game I played tonight, it’s phenomenal. I gave it my all and at the moment I’m playing skinless. It takes so much energy, but I’m able to do it, that’s the most important thing. I feel phenomenal.”
Of his clash with Van den Bergh, he added on Sky Sports: “I really don’t know what his problem was, you have to concentrate to watch your own game and that’s what I did.
“He probably said I was stamping but he was losing the match so he must have said something.”
It promises to be an exciting final as Smith was also in great shape, beating history-making Clemens, who became the first German to reach the last four of the World Championship.
“Bully Boy” returns to an exhibition match after last year’s heartache against Peter Wright where he lost a significant lead, but it is his first final appearance against Van Gerwen in 2019 that is fresh in his memory.
“I just want to compete and I hope to play with Michael and get revenge for 2019,” Smith said at his press conference before Van Gerwen won.
“The only thing on my mind is to lift this trophy. I know I want revenge, but I see this as another opportunity, I know Michael is fit.
“I just want to make me and be myself and hopefully tomorrow you’ll see what Michael Smith is all about.
“That means everything from my heartache last year when I was 5-4 against Peter and lost 7-5 to where I struggled for 11 months to get back on stage and get another chance.
“It was exceptional. I never gave up, I always fought bravely.
Smith is hoping a few episodes of Catchphrase will help him prepare for his third world title attempt.
His performances in the two previous finals could be described as “good but not right”, but he hopes watching the classic ITV game show on Tuesday morning will help him cross the line.
“I’ll wake up tomorrow and just do what I’ve been doing, go to bed and watch some sayings,” added Smith on Sky Sports. “Was well. It’s on around 9am every morning, that’s the only thing that was on at that time.”