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More heartbreak for ‘The Nuke’

todayJanuary 28, 2024 3

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More heartbreak for ‘The Nuke’

Michael van Gerwen has denied young sensation Luke Littler a second successive World Series title after defeating him in the Dutch Darts Masters final.

The Dutchman beat the teenager 8-6 in the city of Den Bosch, avenging a loss to the 17-year-old last week in Bahrain where Littler lifted the trophy.

Wishing to recover from the loss in the World Darts Championship final, Littler faced Luke Humphries once more – this time in the quarter-finals – and beat him in a final leg thriller.

Luke “The Nuke” then despatched world number five Gerwyn Price, before falling at the final hurdle to world number two van Gerwen.

Van Gerwen had survived scares against Raymond van Barneveld and Gian van Veen to reach the final but stepped it up when it mattered.

Michael VAN GERWEN (NED) jubilation, cheering, cheering, joy, cheers, celebrate, bust, German Darts Masters, on 25.05.2018 in the Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen / Germany. | usage worldwide Photo by: Elmar Kremser/SVEN SIMON/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

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Michael van Gerwen wins the competition. Pic: AP

Despite Littler outscoring his opponent with a 106.71 average and throwing more 180s than van Gerwen, the Dutchman punished the Warrington teen by taking out an 85 finish and securing victory with a 12-darter.

Littler said after the match that he put pressure on van Gerwen but “he just wouldn’t miss” and “finally got me at the end”.

“Hopefully I haven’t burnt myself out for the Premier League next week! I can’t wait to go to Cardiff,” he said on ITV.

Meanwhile, van Gerwen congratulated Littler saying he would have a “bright future ahead of him” and praised his “scoring power”.

Handout photo dated 19/01/2024 provided by BIC of Luke Littler after defeating Michael van Gerwen (not pictured) in the final of the Bahrain Darts Masters 2024 at Bahrain International Circuit. Issue date: Friday January 19, 2024.

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Littler after defeating van Gerwen in the final of the Bahrain Darts Masters last week. Pic: PA

Referring to his own triumph, van Gerwen said: “I needed my best performance. We all know I had some really tough games in the last year and I underperformed a lot of times. You have to make sure you keep your fighting spirit.”

Littler and Humphries will clash once more on Thursday with the pair closing out the quarter-final fixtures at the opening night of the BetMGM Premier League in Cardiff.

Reigning champion van Gerwen begins his bid for a record-extending eighth Premier League crown against last year’s world champion Michael Smith.

Written by: Newsroom

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