Michael van Gerwen beats Josh Rock in Players Championship 7 final to win first ranking title of 2023 | Darts News
Michael van Gerwen scooped the £12,000 top prize as he claimed a first Players Championship win since April last year; the Dutchman defeated reigning World Youth Champion Josh Rock 8-4 in the final
Last Updated: 19/03/23 9:40pm
Michael van Gerwen picked up his first ranking title of 2023 by defeating Josh Rock 8-4 in Sunday’s Players Championship 7 final in Hildesheim.
World No 3 Van Gerwen began the ProTour double-header in Germany by scooping the £12,000 top prize for a first Players Championship win since April last year.
Other than at the UK Open a fortnight ago, where Van Gerwen finished as runner-up, he had not progressed past the quarter-finals in a ranking event this year.
The 33-year-old – the winner of three Cazoo Premier League nights so far in 2023 – defeated World Youth Champion Rock in the final to claim his first ranking triumph of the year.
“I had to work very hard,” admitted Van Gerwen. “I have six gears but I won it in fourth gear today.
“I wasn’t playing well most of the day, but the games where I had to play well – to beat Dirk [van Duijvenbode 6-4] in the quarter-finals I played really well there, and against Josh in the final – I did it.
“That gives you confidence and gives you pleasure but I wasn’t great today. Of course I want to play better but I did it whenever I had to do.”
Van Gerwen breezed past Jacques Labre, Keegan Brown, Martin Lukeman and Boris Krcmar for the loss of just seven legs to book his spot in the quarter-finals.
There, he produced his highest average of the day at 104.95 in a superb 6-4 win over Dutch rival Van Duijvenbode, before seeing off another former World Youth Champion Bradley Brooks by a two-leg margin in the semi-finals.
In the final, reigning youth champion Rock took the opening leg before Van Gerwen won five of the next six to move 5-2 up.
Rock cut the gap to 5-4, but legs of 11 and 12 darts from the Dutchman pushed him further clear at 7-4 before he closed out the title.
Van Gerwen added: “They’re long days, very long days. At this stage in my life, every tournament I compete in I want to win and it gets harder.
“If you look at the floor tournaments nowadays, there’s no easy games any more, so I have to battle for every game, but overall I’m pleased with my win and that’s really important.
“A lot has changed, everyone can play a 100 average – that’s how good the tour is at the moment – so that’s why you need to get focused.”
It was runner-up Rock’s best run in a ranking event this year too by reaching the final, as the Northern Irishman sought to emulate his Players Championship 28 win of 2022.
The youngster produced three ton-plus averages on the day – against Luke Woodhouse, Brendan Dolan and Mario Vandenbogaerde – and saw off Premier League star Dimitri Van den Bergh and Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski in the quarter-final and semi-final respectively.