MICHAEL VAN GERWEN admitted he felt the pressure on his way to winning the Ladbrokes World Championship final last night.
The 24-year-old Dutchman raced into a 4-0 lead but struggled to maintain the high level of darts against Peter Wright, although he held his nerve to wrap up a seven-sets-to-four success.
After securing the Sid Waddell Trophy at Alexandra Palace, Van Gerwen said: "It was a very tough match.
"I got nervous after going 4-0 up – but it doesn't matter how you win a final, winning it is the most important thing.
"This is a dream come true. I'm so glad I won this. It's so difficult to win this title.
"There wasn't so much pressure on me last year as this year – but it means so much to me.
"It's unbelievable but all credit to Peter, he did well and put me under pressure."
Suffolk-based Scot Wright thanked the crowd for helping raise his game and end the one-sided nature of the contest. He added: "I never give up – that's my game.
"The crowd got behind me and made me play and I thank them for it – but well done Michael."
Van Gerwen, beaten by Phil Taylor in last year's final, took control of the contest by winning the first four sets.
At that stage a whitewash looked a very real prospect. However, 'Snakebite' Wright began to show some of the form which earned him an impressive semi-final win over Simon Whitlock.
The 43-year-old pulled two sets back to halve the deficit and needed to hit double top to reduce the deficit to a single set – but missed it and paid as Van Gerwen hit double eight to go three sets clear at 5-2.
The closing stages of the contest, which saw more than 600 maximums hit – a new record for the tournament – were edgy.
However, the decisive moment came in the 11th set when Van Gerwen nailed double top to wrap up victory.