PDC World Darts Championship: Wayne Mardle praises Michael van Gerwen’s ‘controlled’ performance

“He quite rightly said, he’s won nothing yet,” Wayne Mardle agreed with world No 1 Michael van Gerwen’s assessment after winning his first-round match at the World Darts Championship.

Van Gerwen laid down a marker with an eye-catching victory over Ryan Murray as the Dutchman began his quest for a fourth World Championship title at London’s Alexandra Palace.

The world No 1 produced the performance of the tournament so far, averaging 108.98 in a 3-1 defeat of Scotland’s Murray to reach the third round where Ricky Evans or Mickey Mansell awaits.

Despite the high average, Van Gerwen didn’t have it all his own way as an impressive Murray missed a dart to take the contest to a deciding set having kept pace with the Dutch ace in spells.

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“I know Michael quite well and he hasn’t been oozing that confidence with his body language, even away from the game because darts is his life and he’s the world No 1 and the three-time world champion,” Mardle told Sky Sports’ Laura Woods.

“He kind of carries that with him everywhere and if he’s not confident, he should be. But we all go through confidence crises no matter what you do. You don’t have to be a sportsperson to know that.

“He seems over it. He’s confident of course but the way he played was controlled and it could have got really sticky but it didn’t and he got the job done.

“He quite rightly said, he’s won nothing yet.”

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Van Gerwen stormed through the opening set without losing a leg, but a solid set of darts from Murray saw him level the contest with a last dart in hand double 18.

A 113.31 average in set three from Van Gerwen saw him restore his lead, but once again Murray found a way to stay in touch in set four.

However, after he missed a dart at D10 to force a deciding set, Van Gerwen clinically took out 76 in two darts to book his place in the next round.

“I played a phenomenal game when I had to, I’m happy with how I played tonight,” Van Gerwen told the PDC after his win.

“Ryan played a great performance for his first time in the tournament. I couldn’t give him a chance because the way he was playing he would’ve taken it.

“I had to pull out a great performance and I’m really glad I did. It took some doing but my scoring power was there constantly.

“I missed a few doubles but I can’t really complain, it was a good performance.

“I’m feeling good about myself at the moment, the confidence is back and I feel ready to take on this tournament.

You won’t miss a dart this Christmas thanks to the dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel all the way until January 4 with every session from the World Darts Championship, including the final on Sunday, January 3. Check out daily Darts news on skysports.com/darts, our app for mobile devices and our Twitter account @skysportsdarts

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