Gutsy Michael van Gerwen won his sixth double-start title at the BoyleSports World Grand Prix with a superb 5-3 triumph over battling Nathan Aspinall in Leicester on Sunday.
The Dutchman followed up his Premier League and World Matchplay triumphs earlier this year by regaining the World Grand Prix title on another memorable night.
Van Gerwen had claimed his first PDC televised title at the World Grand Prix a decade ago, and celebrated that anniversary by scooping the £120,000 top prize and lifting the specially-commissioned new trophy.
The success was also his first in the double-start format since 2019, as he denied Aspinall a second televised ranking title.
The Stockport thrower had found himself four sets down as Van Gerwen stormed towards the title, but hit back with three straight sets in a gutsy display before the world number three finally sealed glory.
"For me to have this trophy back feels amazing," said Van Gerwen. "It's great to have this tournament back in my hands but I had to battle for it really hard.
"When a guy like Nathan puts his relaxed mode on he can play some phenomenal darts but I'm glad I won this one. It was a tough one.
"I wasn't panicking at all - I think I did all the damage early doors. I think this was great for darts - I was 4-0 up and Nathan never gave up, he kept battling."
Having whitewashed Peter Wright 4-0 in Saturday's semi-finals, Van Gerwen also raced through the opening four sets of the final to move to the brink of glory.
He won the opening leg with a 116 finish and then took out 83 to break and double ten to seal the first set.
The second and third sets both went the full five-leg distance, but Van Gerwen was too strong in the deciding leg on each occasion as he created a three-set cushion.
Aspinall led in set four, only for five missed doubles across the next two legs to prove costly as Van Gerwen pounced and then added double ten to claim the set and a 4-0 lead.
Aspinall came from a leg down in set five to begin his fightback with three successive legs as he started a gutsy response, cheered on by a supportive Morningside Arena crowd.
Van Gerwen missed six starting doubles in the opening leg of set six, and Aspinall also claimed back-to-back legs as he claimed a second set by a 3-1 scoreline.
The comeback continued in set seven despite a brilliant 12-darter from Van Gerwen, who missed seven starting doubles in leg four as Aspinall followed two earlier 14-darters with double five to claim a third straight set.
Missed darts at double top from Aspinall in each of the opening two legs in set eight allowed Van Gerwen to post a brace of double tens as he moved a leg away from glory.
Aspinall landed tops to keep his hopes alive in leg three and hit the same bed to level the set, but in a tense deciding leg he missed two doubles as Van Gerwen stepped in to fittingly seal a sixth World Grand Prix title on double six.
Van Gerwen was also full of praise for Aspinall's return from a serious wrist injury which kept him sidelined for six weeks at the start of 2022.
"Nathan has been struggling with such a bad injury on his arm, he's been a credit to sport in the last year," added the Dutchman.
"He battled back and I think that is the difference between a winner and a loser, and I think he was a winner tonight."
Aspinall paid tribute to Van Gerwen's triumph, saying: "This week, Michael has been amazing - he's back to his best and he's been the deserved winner of this tournament.
"When I was 4-0 down I just wanted to win a set and give him a bit of a game, and I did that. I wanted to make him win it, and he did.
"He's been phenomenal all week but I never gave in. It's another final and I'm very happy."
2022 BoyleSports World Grand Prix
Sunday October 9
Michael van Gerwen 5-3 Nathan Aspinall (3-0, 3-2, 3-2, 3-1, 1-3, 1-3, 1-3, 3-2)
Set One (0-3): Van Gerwen takes out 116 to win the opening leg, punishes two missed doubles from Aspinall by breaking with an 83 checkout before wrapping up the set on double ten.
Set Two (2-3): The pair trade 13-darters, Aspinall then punishes a missed tops from Van Gerwen to lead 2-1 before the Dutchman levels with a 14-darter and takes out tops to claim the set and double his lead.
Set Three (2-3): Aspinall opens with a 160, but misses double 14 to break as Van Gerwen takes out 112 to lead. Aspinall levels on tops, Van Gerwen then fires in a 13-darter before the Stockport ace lands double eight to take the set to a decider - but the five-time champion is first to a double as tops opens up a three-set cushion.
Set Four (1-3): Aspinall lands tops to win the opening leg but misses five darts at doubles in the next two legs as Van Gerwen pounces to break and move 2-1 up. A 174 score moves the Dutchman clear in leg four, and double ten seals a fourth successive set.
Set Five (3-1): Aspinall leaves tops after 12 darts, only to see Van Gerwen take out 66 for a 14-darter to open the set. Aspinall levels on double ten before breaking with a superb 13-darter, and tops sees him claim his first set of the final.
Set Six (3-1): Tops wins Aspinall the opening leg as he punishes six missed starting doubles from Van Gerwen, who levels in 15 darts. Aspinall takes out 89 to win leg three, and posts double eight to claim the set as his comeback continues.
Set Seven (3-1): Two misses at double 16 from Van Gerwen allow Aspinall to break with a 14-darter, but the Dutchman produces his best leg of the match with scores of 160, 140 and 140 in a 12-darter to level. Four missed doubles from Van Gerwen allow Aspinall in for another 14-dart break. Seven missed starting doubles from Van Gerwen give Aspinall breathing space in leg four, and he returns on double four to claim a third set and move within touching distance of his rival.
Set Eight (2-3): Aspinall misses a dart at tops in each of the opening two legs as Van Gerwen lands double ten in successive legs to move to the brink of victory. Tops in leg three saw Aspinall respond to keep his hopes alive and he hit the same bed to take the set to a decider. The tension mounted as Van Gerwen fired in a 180, with Aspinall unable to land darts at double top and ten for the set as the Dutchman fittingly landed double six to secure his sixth World Grand Prix triumph.
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