Belfast Telegraph

Michael Smith braced for final battle with Michael Van Gerwen

 

By Graham Luney

Michael Smith struggled to hold back the tears as he booked his place in the PDC World Championship final after a battling 6-3 victory over Nathan Aspinall at Alexandra Palace.

The tenth seed is now guaranteed prize money of £170,000 with a winner's cheque of £400,000 on offer if he can overcome Michael van Gerwen in the New Year's Day decider.

Englishman Smith stormed into a 2-0 lead but tournament debutant Aspinall gathered himself to level at 3-3 as both players produced some big scoring.

But Smith then took control of the match and reeled off the next three sets against the world number 73.

"I've never felt like that. I'm so happy to be in the final," said Smith. "I'm one step away from living my dream.

"I don't want to cry live on TV. I'm so happy now, I'm in the final and I don't know what to say, sorry.

"The first two sets I was cruising and he started to come back and I was like 'oh, I've got to start doing something now'.

"Nathan got better and better and better but I took the chances as they came".

Aspinall, who averaged 100.53, said: "I've enjoyed every minute of it. I never expected to get to the semi-final.

"I was so nervous at the start but I made a great game there.

"I just relaxed. It started flowing and I wanted to give Michael a game.

"I wish Mike all the best as he deserves to win this."

World number one Van Gerwen swept aside Gary Anderson 6-1.

The ruthless Dutchman was simply too hot for the two-time champion to handle.

Fermanagh man Brendan Dolan lost 5-1 to Aspinall in saturday's quarter-final.

The 45-year-old won just eight legs in his first last-eight appearance at Alexandra Palace.

Belfast Telegraph

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