Michael van Gerwen puts Luke Littler in his place again after teen blanked him

Michael van Gerwen again had the better of Luke Littler after the teenager left him hanging ahead of their final leg decider in Newcastle. In an epic Premier League semi-final, Littler fought back from 5-3 down to level matters after ‘MVG’ had missed six darts at a double to seal victory.

As his customary when players are at 5-5 in the competition, Van Gerwen offered his arm out for a fist bump with his opponent. But Littler turned his back and ignored the gesture, opting to quickly open up the 11th leg.

The three-time world champion soon put the young sensation in his place though. In a thrilling finale, Littler left himself 56, with van Gerwen first having a shot at 90.

He looked up against it after he could only manage a single 18 with his opening dart. But the 34-year-old then finished emphatically, nailing back-to-back double 18s to move into a third straight Premier League final.

 

Despite the snub, Littler appeared dignified immediately after his defeat, shaking his head and smiling at Van Gerwen’s ruthless checkout. And the pair embraced on stage, with the Dutchman setting up a final with Nathan Aspinall.

The result continues Van Gerwen’s recent hold over ‘the Nuke’, having now beaten him three times in a row since losing their inaugural meeting in Bahrain. And two of those victories over the 17-year-old have come in the Premier League.

And the defending champion continued his form in the final. He beat Aspinall 6-4 to make it a third straight league success, extending his lead at the top of the table.

 

After beating Littler in the final of the Dutch Masters in January, Van Gerwen had warned his best was yet to come. He also implied the youngster was yet to go through the difficulties that all senior players encounter.

“I am not in form yet. I’m still struggling here and there, and I know I can do a lot better,” he said. “You have to perform at the right moments. I have a lot to gain, but you have to work hard for it.”