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Van Gerwen pledges to get Littler back after teenager wins first senior PDC title

Michael van Gerwen promised to get Luke Littler back after the teenager continued his meteoric rise by beating the three-time world champion to win his first senior PDC title at the Bahrain Masters.

Littler enjoyed a breakout run to the World Championship final over the festive period, earning a £200,000 payday before suffering a heartbreaking defeat to Luke Humphries in the showpiece match earlier this month.

The 16-year-old – who will make his Premier League debut next month – returned to action at the Bahrain Masters this week, hitting a nine-darter in his quarter-final win over Nathan Aspinall before beating Gerwyn Price 7-3 in the last four.

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That teed up a final showdown with Van Gerwen, in which the darts went with the throw for the first seven legs before Littler nailed an 11-dart leg for the advantage.

The duo traded breaks before Littler pulled clear at 7-5 then nailed tops for a 58 checkout to seal victory.

Speaking after Friday’s final, Van Gerwen vowed to get the better of Littler next time out as he said: “It has been a fantastic tournament – of course I am disappointed but that is how sports work; you win some, you lose some.

“It’s never going to be a good week when Michael is not winning, simple as that. [Littler] has had a fantastic tournament. Everyone says he is a new kid, but everyone knows what he is capable of.

“I couldn’t produce what I was doing in the early games. You can only punish yourself for that. You have to make sure you get better for the next one. I’ll get him, don’t worry.”

Littler, meanwhile, revealed he did not throw a single dart between his World Championship final defeat and Thursday’s opening round in Bahrain.

“No one probably believes me, but I’ve not thrown a dart since the world final,” the teenager told ITV Sport. “Yesterday was the first proper practice I’ve put in, but it’s all paid off.

“I’m just happy to win and obviously against Michael… He’s still one of the very best and I’m just happy to win on my debut.

“I’ve not really set any goals for this year. I didn’t expect to pick this trophy up this week. It’s been good to come here with great people, a great crowd once again on my side, but I’m just happy.

“There’s no goals for this year, I just need to see what my darts do.”

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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