MICHAEL VAN GERWEN landed a nine-dart finish as he won his second Players Championship of 2017 by defeating Robert Thornton 6-2 in Saturday's final in Wigan.
The World Champion followed up his victory in Milton Keynes four weeks ago by taking the £10,000 top prize in Players Championship Nine, continuing the form which has seen him remain top of the Betway Premier League.
Van Gerwen dropped just one leg in his opening two games as he defeated Chris Quantock and Paul Nicholson, before seeing off Wayne Jones 6-4 to reach the last 16.
He then overcame Gary Anderson by the same scoreline as he came from 4-3 down with a stunning run of three legs, before seeing off another former World Champion, Adrian Lewis, in a deciding leg in a superb quarter-final.
The world number one then whitewashed Jan Dekker in the semi-finals, and produced another moment of magic during a brilliant victory in the final.
Two 11-darters from Van Gerwen had shared the opening four legs, with Thornton finishing double 18 and 84 to remain level before double eight moved the Dutchman 3-2 up.
Van Gerwen then scored 180 and 177 to open leg six, before taking out 144 with two further treble 20s and double 12 to complete a perfect leg - his third on the PDC ProTour this year.
Van Gerwen also opened the seventh leg with a maximum before double eight moved him 5-2 up, and a 13-darter ended on tops completed a comprehensive victory, his 50th win on the PDC ProTour.
"I played phenomenal and I'm a very happy man," said Van Gerwen. "The nine-darter was great and I had an incredible day.
"I did it game after game, not only in a one-off game, and I want to do it again tomorrow. I played really well today and I hope I can continue this good performance because I want to win more titles.
"I'm doing well and things like this keep me motivated. It's difficult to win constantly but I love what I do that makes it a little bit easier."
Van Gerwen added: "Robert did really well today to reach the final. People don't understand how hard it is and you need to concentrate game after game.
"Robert did really well and I'm really pleased for him, but I'm really glad I won this tournament because I think I deserved it today."
Thornton's run to the final was a welcome return to form for the Scottish star, who enjoyed his best finish for 18 months since he had defeated Van Gerwen in the World Grand Prix final.
He overcame Steve Lennon, Ryan Searle, John Bowles, Andrew Gilding, Mike De Decker and Robbie Green in his run to the final, before being overpowered by Van Gerwen.
Dekker - a four-time winner on the PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour - enjoyed his best-ever run on the PDC ProTour as he reached the semi-finals with wins over Andy Jenkins, Joe Cullen, Peter Hudson, Joe Murnan and Dave Chisnall.
Green won through to his first semi-final for 12 months with defeats of Darren Johnson, Mensur Suljovic, Justin Pipe, Richie Corner and Jonathan Worsley.
Chepstow's Worsley and Belgian youngster Mike De Decker enjoyed their best finishes on the PDC ProTour by winning through to the quarter-finals alongside Premier League stars Lewis and Chisnall.
World number two Anderson was joined in the last 16 by youngster Evetts, former ProTour winners Murnan and Ian White, Andrew Gilding, Ritchie Edhouse, Jonny Clayton and Corner.
Sunday sees the PDC ProTour weekend in Wigan conclude with Players Championship Ten, with a further £75,000 in prize money on offer for 128 players.
Watch Michael van Gerwen's Nine-Darter
Robert Thornton Reaction
Very pleased with the way I played today and over the moon to reach the final, it has been too long ?.... well done to. @MvG180...— Robert Thornton (@TheThorn180) April 29, 2017
Sunday's Players Championship Ten will be streamed live online for all PDCTV-HD Subscribers through www.livepdc.tv and through the series of bookmakers' websites listed below.
WHERE TO WATCH
Live coverage from two streamed boards will be available online for all PDCTV-HD Subscribers worldwide via www.livepdc.tv .
Live coverage is also available through the following bookmakers' websites:
188 Bet (China, Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand)
Fonbet (Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Cyprus)
Sportsbet Australia (Australia)
TAB NZ (New Zealand)
Tipsport (Czech Republic, Slovakia)
TouTou (China, Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand)
Unibet (UK, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, Romania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Hungary, Australia)
Unibet France (France)
Wwin (Bosnia & Herzegovia)
Players Championship Nine
Saturday April 29, Robin Park Tennis Centre, Wigan
Michael van Gerwen (1) 6-0 Chris Quantock
Paul Nicholson 6-2 Richie Burnett
Mark Walsh 6-2 Josh Payne (32)
Wayne Jones 6-3 Ross Smith
Gary Anderson (16) 6-3 John Henderson
William O'Connor 6-3 Jeffrey de Graaf
Cristo Reyes (17) 6-1 Ricky Williams
Robert Owen 6-3 Jermaine Wattimena
Rob Cross 6-5 Kim Huybrechts (8)
Jamie Lewis 6-2 Zoran Lerchbacher
Kevin Painter 6-4 Christian Kist (25)
Jonny Clayton 6-0 Jamie Caven
Gerwyn Price (9) 6-1 Sven Groen
Stephen Burton 6-3 Prakash Jiwa
Adrian Lewis (24) 6-1 Dennis Smith
Simon Preston 6-1 Bryan De Hoog
Dave Chisnall (5) 6-4 Jim Walker
Warrick Scheffer 6-4 Mickey Mansell
Darren Webster (28) 6-0 Lee Bryant
Ron Meulenkamp 6-4 Matthew Dennant
Ian White (12) 6-4 Vincent Kamphuis
Scott Darbyshire 6-3 Shaun Griffiths
Kyle Anderson (21) 6-1 Ricky Evans
Terry Temple 6-2 Jimmy Hendriks
Matt Clark 6-4 Simon Whitlock (4)
Ronnie Baxter 6-2 Steve Hine
Berry van Peer 6-4 Ronny Huybrechts (29)
Joe Murnan 6-5 Mark Webster
Joe Cullen (13) 6-5 Jim Brown
Jan Dekker 6-4 Andy Jenkins
Steve West (20) 6-3 Max Hopp
Peter Hudson 6-3 Devon Petersen
Peter Wright (2) 6-3 Keegan Brown
Paul Rowley 6-4 Brendan Dolan
Ritchie Edhouse 6-3 Vincent van der Voort (31)
Simon Stevenson 6-1 Wes Newton
Daryl Gurney (15) 6-3 John Michael
Ryan Palmer 6-3 Mick McGowan
Alan Tabern 6-1 Stephen Bunting (18)
Mike De Decker 6-0 Brian Woods
James Wade (7) 6-2 Rob Hewson
John Bowles 6-4 Craig Gilchrist
Robert Thornton (26) 6-2 Steve Lennon
Ryan Searle 6-2 Martin Schindler
Jelle Klaasen (12) 6-4 Madars Razma
Andrew Gilding 6-5 Mick Todd
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-5 James Wilson (23)
Mark Barilli 6-0 Yordi Meeuwisse
Richard North 6-4 Benito van de Pas (6)
Jonathan Worsley 6-3 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Peter Jacques 6-5 Chris Dobey (27)
Andy Hamilton 6-5 Andy Boulton
Ted Evetts 6-3 Alan Norris (11)
Paul Harvey 6-2 Ray Campbell
James Richardson 6-4 Steve Beaton (22)
Aden Kirk 6-4 Tony Newell
Mensur Suljovic (3) 6-5 Adam Hunt
Robbie Green 6-1 Darren Johnson
Justin Pipe (30) 6-3 Jamie Bain
Scott Taylor 6-5 Kirk Shepherd
Michael Smith (14) 6-2 Ryan Meikle
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-5 David Pallett
Mervyn King (19) 6-2 Harry Robinson
Richie Corner 6-1 Ross Twell
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Paul Nicholson
Wayne Jones 6-2 Mark Walsh
Gary Anderson 6-0 William O'Connor
Cristo Reyes 6-2 Robert Owen
Rob Cross 6-5 Jamie Lewis
Jonny Clayton 6-3 Kevin Painter
Gerwyn Price 6-2 Stephen Burton
Adrian Lewis 6-1 Simon Preston
Dave Chisnall 6-2 Warrick Scheffer
Darren Webster 6-0 Ron Meulenkamp
Ian White 6-1 Scott Darbyshire
Kyle Anderson 6-1 Terry Temple
Matt Clark 6-4 Ronnie Baxter
Joe Murnan 6-3 Berry van Peer
Jan Dekker 6-2 Joe Cullen
Peter Hudson 6-4 Steve West
Paul Rowley 6-4 Peter Wright
Ritchie Edhouse 6-4 Simon Stevenson
Daryl Gurney 6-1 Ryan Palmer
Mike De Decker 6-0 Alan Tabern
John Bowles 6-1 James Wade
Robert Thornton 6-4 Ryan Searle
Andrew Gilding 6-3 Jelle Klaasen
Mark Barilli 6-2 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Jonathan Worsley 6-5 Richard North
Peter Jacques 6-5 Andy Hamilton
Ted Evetts 6-2 Paul Harvey
James Richardson 6-2 Aden Kirk
Robbie Green 6-4 Mensur Suljovic
Justin Pipe 6-3 Scott Taylor
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-5 Michael Smith
Richie Corner 6-3 Mervyn King
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Wayne Jones
Gary Anderson 6-3 Cristo Reyes
Jonny Clayton 6-5 Rob Cross
Adrian Lewis 6-4 Gerwyn Price
Dave Chisnall 6-4 Darren Webster
Ian White 6-3 Kyle Anderson
Joe Murnan 6-3 Matt Clark
Jan Dekker 6-3 Peter Hudson
Ritchie Edhouse 6-2 Paul Rowley
Mike De Decker 6-4 Daryl Gurney
Robert Thornton 6-4 John Bowles
Andrew Gilding 6-4 Mark Barilli
Jonathan Worsley 6-4 Peter Jacques
Ted Evetts 6-4 James Richardson
Robbie Green 6-1 Justin Pipe
Richie Corner 6-4 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Gary Anderson
Adrian Lewis 6-3 Jonny Clayton
Dave Chisnall 6-5 Ian White
Jan Dekker 6-1 Joe Murnan
Mike De Decker 6-2 Ritchie Edhouse
Robert Thornton 6-2 Andrew Gilding
Jonathan Worsley 6-1 Ted Evetts
Robbie Green 6-4 Richie Corner
Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Adrian Lewis
Jan Dekker 6-5 Dave Chisnall
Robert Thornton 6-4 Mike De Decker
Robbie Green 6-1 Jonathan Worsley
Michael van Gerwen 6-0 Jan Dekker
Robert Thornton 6-3 Robbie Green
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Robert Thornton
Last 16 £1,500
Last 32 £1,000
Last 64 £500