Michael van Gerwen takes shots at Luke Littler after losing to teenager at Premier League | Other | Sport

Michael van Gerwen has thrown a subtle dig at Luke Littler following the pair’s meeting on Night Nine of the 2024 Premier League. Littler beat the three-time world champion 6-3 in Belfast on Thursday evening, but Van Gerwen doesn’t believe the teenager’s victories have been ‘convincing’.

Van Gerwen had won his first match of the night, beating former world champion Michael Smith 6-4. However, the Dutch ace failed to find his rhythm in the semi-final clash against Littler, with the 17-year-old boasting a higher average and completing more 180s.

Speaking after the contest, Van Gerwen told Viaplay: “Right at the beginning of that match it went wrong. I can see he’s not comfortable and then I’m just too preoccupied with him instead of concentrating on my own game.

“But there was still more in it. I have now played Luke six times, three of which I lost and three of which I won. Every time he won against me it was not convincing, while he does against other players. I just have to take advantage of that, which is still a downside that it didn’t work out tonight.”

A bold statement from Van Gerwen, given he was second-best for most of the match against Littler. What’s more, Littler – who went on to beat Nathan Aspinall in the final – moved above Van Gerwen in the table, putting the 34-year-old’s playoff hopes in jeopardy.

On the race to finish inside the top four, he said: “It’s still fighting for the playoffs. You also see that everyone is extra motivated against me. But don’t let that be an excuse, I just have to see for myself that I’m well prepared and then that shouldn’t be a problem.”

While he may have only won one match on Night Nine, Van Gerwen did at least end his run of four straight first-round exits. The victory over Smith was the first time Van Gerwen had won a quarter-final match since February 22nd.

Elsewhere, Peter Wright picked up what was only his second win of the tournament with a comfortable showing against 2018 world champion Rob Cross. Wright’s evening was ended early in the semi-finals by eventual runner-up Aspinall, who had beaten Gerwyn Price at the last-eight stage. Whereas on the opposite side of the draw, Littler edged a 6-5 thriller against Luke Humphries in the opening quarter-final encounter, before beating Van Gerwen in not-so ‘convincing’ fashion shortly after.

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