Michael van Gerwen, pictured in 2017, won his third PDC World Darts Championship

London (AFP) - Michael Van Gerwen won his third PDC World Darts Championship on Tuesday after beating outsider Michael Smith 7-3 in an underwhelming final at Alexandra Palace in London.

The world number one played way below the standard that has made him the best player on the planet but his more accurate finishing on the last “double” dart saw him race into a four-set lead.

“Sounds good, doesn’t it? Three-time world champion,” said the Dutchman who has moved clear of Adrian Lewis and Gary Anderson in the list of world champions but still a long way back from 16-time winner Phil Taylor.

“It’s the best feeling I can have, I worked so long for this. To win this trophy is phenomenal, it’s the most important thing for me.”

Englishman Smith hit an unexpected 124 checkout in the final leg of the fifth set to start a mini comeback that saw him also him win set six 3-0 and pull the deficit back to 4-2.

However Van Gerwen played his best darts of the match to win set seven and extend his lead to three, before breaking Smith’s throw in the final leg of the following set to make a third world crown all but inevitable.

Smith broke back straight in set nine to make it 6-3 but left it too late to mount a comeback and pre-tournament favourite Van Gerwen bagged the title in the following set.