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Michael Smith produced one of the greatest performances in darting history as he toppled hot favourite Michael van Gerwen to win the World Championship for the first time.
Smith lost the first set but bounced back back spectacularly in the second, hitting an incredible nine-darter – the first of the 2023 tournament – in the third leg. Van Gerwen almost beat him to it in the same leg after hitting eight perfect darts, only to just miss double 12.
Bully Boy went 2-1 ahead before Van Gerwen responded by winning the next two sets to go 3-2 ahead. However, Smith then produced an amazing burst of four sets in the row, with Van Gerwen looking completely stunned.
READ MORE: Wayne Mardle 'can't speak' in 'amazing commentary' of Michael Smith nine-darter
The Dutchman was so rattled, he almost left the stage mid-set when he mistakenly thought Smith had won it when in fact he had claimed just two legs.
There was then a tense 10th set as Smith looked to close out the match, only for the St Helens thrower to produce his worst set of the match.
Van Gerwen recovered some composure to win it and make the scoreline 6-4 amid growing tension. MVG then went 2-0 up in the 11th but Smith fought back to make it 2-2 and was throwing for the title.
Is Michael Smith a worthy world champion? Have your say in the comments section
When he needed it most, Bully Boy produced a superb 11-dart leg to claim the title in stunning fashion. Smith soon raced off the stage to celebrate with his wife and two sons before picking up the trophy.
As well as landing the coveted Sid Waddell Trophy for the first time, Smith is now the new world number one, replacing Gerwyn Price.
"It sounds amazing doesn't it but I don't want to start getting into the crying and emotions," said Smith, who won his first major title at the Grand Slam in November.
"Michael let me off there and I finally took a chance I didn't deserve, but I still got that chance. I want to apologise to Michael because I have been in that position before.
"I don't even know what to say. I thought, give the crowd what they deserve and they got a magical night.
"I told you when I got the Grand Slam, I will be a World Champion and I want to do what this man [Van Gerwen] has done, I want to take over the sport, but he is still here.
"It is one-all now in the Worlds [Van Gerwen won their meeting in the 2019 final] and I took my chances, but he knows and I do, it is not going to be the last one here where we play each other.
"I have said it for years, he is the best player in darts and we have got to take our chances and I finally took it."
- Read the latest darts news from the Daily Star here
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- PDC darts ref is a massive West Ham fan who once argued with Michael van Gerwen on stage
- Michael van Gerwen
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