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Michael Van Gerwen rallies to record remarkable comeback win in Dublin

Updated: Sunday, 14 Oct 2012 23:29 | Comments

A delighted Michael van Gerwen poses with his trophy at Citywest
A delighted Michael van Gerwen poses with his trophy at Citywest

Michael Van Gerwen staged an incredible comeback from 4-1 down to win the PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix title with a 6-4 defeat of Mervyn King at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin on Sunday night.

The 23-year-old Dutchman looked set to suffer defeat in his quest for the £100,000 first prize when King took the first three sets of the game.

Van Gerwen won the fourth, but missed six darts for the fifth set as King moved 4-1 up and just two sets away from the title.

The Dutch ace, though, won six straight legs to kick-start his challenge in pulling back to 4-3 before winning the eighth set 3-1 to square the game.

He then came from 2-0 down in set nine to lead the game for the first time, before sealing victory in style by taking the next set 3-0, completing the win with a superb 145 checkout.

"It's the best day of my life," said van Gerwen, who moves up to eighth in the PDC Order of Merit.

"Mervyn was fantastic at the beginning of the game and I couldn't concentrate but he gave me some chances and I started finishing better.

"I'm not a person who gives up so this feels very good for me - I'm so happy to have won."

Van Gerwen started brightly by winning the game's opening leg, but a miss at double 14 for a 148 finish in the second allowed King to level before the Norfolk thrower hit double eight and double ten to win the set.

The pair traded the first two legs of the second set, but King edged the third before landing tops to win the set 3-1.

King took out fine finishes of 102 and 93 to lead in the third set, and though van Gerwen replied with a 13-darter he was unable to save the set as King powered in a 152 checkout to lead 3-0 in the game.

Van Gerwen took out tops and double eight to win the first to legs of the fourth set, with King replying with a 120 checkout - as his opponent waited on tops - before missing double 18 to level as the 23-year-old stepped up to hit double eight for the set.

A brace of double top finishes put van Gerwen 2-0 up in the fifth set, and he hit a 177 in the third leg only to miss two darts at double 14 and one at double seven for the set.

King hit double top to save the set and double four to level, before three more misses from van Gerwen, this time at double eight, let him in to hit the same bed to snatch the set and lead 4-1.

The Dutchman, though, found another gear to race through the sixth set and begin his fightback, finishing 75 and 87 before taking out double top to win the set without reply.

He repeated the feat in the next, landing tops and a 92 finish before firing in a 131 finish to take a sixth straight leg and pull back to 4-3.

The pair shared the eighth set's first two legs, but van Gerwen then landed a brace of double 12 checkouts to take the set 3-1 and amazingly level the game.

King hit back to lead in the ninth set, posting double four before landing a brilliant 12-darter, with the pair trading 180s before the Englishman tok out 117.

Van Gerwen, though, landed double 16 to save the set and punished a miss at tops from his opponent to level on double 12.

Van Gerwen was then immediately away with a 152 score in the deciding leg - having switched his opening double from tops to double 16 - and although King replied with a 180, the Dutchman hit tops with his third dart to lead the contest.

He then hit double 16 to win the tenth set's opener, and after King missed three darts to hit back he finished 79 on double 11 to move a leg away from the title.

Van Gerwen, though, saved the best for last as he completed a remarkable comeback with a superb 145 checkout as he followed up his 2006 World Masters victory with the PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix triumph.

"This feels amazing and it's a dream come true for me," added van Gerwen, who knocked out Colin Lloyd, Adrian Lewis, Andy Hamilton and Wes Newton to reach the final.

"When I was 4-1 down it should have been 3-2, but after that I threw two very good sets to put him under pressure.

"The game's only over when the last dart is in the double and although Mervyn is a brilliant player I didn't think he would play so well all through the game. I was starting better on double 16 and double 18 and my scoring and finishing got better.

"When I got back to four-all I thought 'I'm going to win this' and it happened."

Van Gerwen moves up to a career-high eighth in the PDC Order of Merit following the triumph, and overtakes five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld to be the leading Dutchman in the world rankings.

"It's a dream for me," said van Gerwen. "Raymond is a brilliant player and to go above him is amazing.

"I started the year as the number 38 in the world and now I'm number eight, so it's unbelievable for me.

"I need to work on this and get more consistency. I've got a lot of work to do in the next couple of months but now I know what it feels like to win a major tournament like this - it's the best thing in the world."

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