Mervyn King v Michael van Gerwen
One man will lift his first ever PDC title this evening, a title that will catapult the champion up to number 8 in the PDC Order of Merit thanks to the £100k cheque that comes with the World Grand Prix trophy. A top-eight status guarantees entry into all of the PDC majors and, perhaps more importantly, could also open the door to a Premier League spot for one of these two men. This is a huge match for both players, one whose consequences reach far further than the immediate title and accompanying prize money.
Neither player’s route to the final this week has been entirely straightforward, but few could argue that Mervyn King and Michael van Gerwen have not been the best two players at they Citywest Hotel this week. Both men came back from losing the opening sets of their first round matches and Van Gerwen edged a nip-and-tuck quarter final against Andy Hamilton, yet both came through their respective semi-final matches with relative ease; the Dutchman a 5-1 winner against Wes Newton and King taking out local favourite Brendan Dolan 5-2.
The head-to-head record between the pair is fairly even. King has the 9-7 advantage of the 16 matches, but Van Gerwen has won all three of the televised meetings, including a win at the UK Open earlier this year. That slight psychological advantage in front of the cameras, coupled with his consistent form over the past few months mean that Mighty Mike is deserving of his status as the slight 1.70 favourite. But he is not my selection for the title.
If King can get on top of his opponent in the early stages, and suppress that rhythm and fluency that the Dutchman thrives upon, then the title is the Englishman’s for the taking.
It is no coincidence that Van Gerwen has played his best darts this week when up against the naturally fast-paced Adrian Lewis and Wes Newton. The Dutchman’s worst statistics of the week – in terms of three-dart averages – came against the deliberate and considered Andy Hamilton, where he required a final-leg decider to progress.
King is a wily old campaigner and will be well aware of what he needs to do here: slow the Dutchman down when he gets into a groove. At odds of 2.10 for a first ever PDC Major title, it is King that will be carrying my money this evening. The King is dead, long live The King.
Back King to win @ 2.10