Our event of the day is the World Darts Championship Final, which this year is being contested between Michael Smith and Michael van Gerwen at Alexandra Palace in London. Both players comfortably progressed through to the final stage on Sunday night after two world-class performances in their respective Semi-finals. Smith overcame the young talent of Nathan Aspinall, hitting a Semi-final record 17 180s in the process of his 6-3 victory. Meanwhile, Michael van Gerwen got the better of two-time world champion Gary Anderson, mauling the Scotsman by 6 sets to 1. These two results set up a repeat of the 2018 Premier League final, on which occasion MVG produced one of his greatest ever performances, beating Smith by 11 legs to 4, recording an average of 112.37.
Despite proving himself as one of the best young players on the tour, a World Championship final is unchartered territory for the home-crowd favourite Michael Smith, whose best previous result at the competition was a Quarter-final appearance in 2016. Reaching his first ever World Championship final rounds off what has been an extraordinary 2018 for the 28-year-old. Smith notched his first ever win at a major, after winning the Shanghai Masters in July. Should ‘Bully Boy’ manage to take home his second major on New Year’s Day, he will pocket a cool £500,000, but one Michael van Gerwen also has his eyes on the money. The 29-year-old Dutchman has undoubtably proved himself to be the greatest darts player on the planet, having already won 29 titles, including two World Championships. MVG has dropped just four sets all tournament and will be the odds-on favourite to secure his third World Championship title on New Year’s Day. However, by his own lofty standards, van Gerwen has had a mediocre 2018. Despite adding three more titles to his honours list, he lost in the first round at the World Matchplay and reached three Semi-finals, which would not satisfy his unwavering quest for perfection. He also lost in the final of the Player’s Championships Finals against Daryl Gurney, a tournament which is considered a warm-up for the World Championships. However, MVG will be looking to put that disappointing result behind him on Tuesday night as he goes in search of his third world title.
Honourable mentions around the globe go to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, where Washington will do battle with Ohio State for the coveted college title. The Ohio State Buckeyes will be competing in their 15th Rose Bowl, but their first since 2010, as they search for their eighth win at the prestigious game. Meanwhile, Washington will also be making their 15th appearance in the Rose Bowl, however this will be their first since 2001, on which occasion they lost out to Purdue. Elsewhere, two of the greatest ever tennis players to grace the court will go head-to-head, as Roger Federer and Serena Williams will represent their countries at the Hopman Cup in Perth. The pair have amassed a combined 43 Grand Slam titles between them and they will pair up with their compatriots Belinda Bencic and Frances Tiafoe, respectively. There is also action in the Premier League on New Year’s Day, with Everton and Leicester getting the honour of kicking the first ball of 2019 as they face-off in the day’s early game.
Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by PDC
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