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'Don’t push him too much' - Michael van Gerwen urges darting world to give Luke Littler more time

Nine-dart hero Luke Littler won his first PDC senior title with a stunning Bahrain Darts Masters triumph against Michael van Gerwen on Friday.

Van Gerwen had produced some superb darts himself during his run to the final, before eventually being denied a 21st World Series of Darts title in an 8-5 defeat.

The Dutchman had been the stand-out performer in Thursday's first round as he whitewashed Bahrain's Hasan Haji, and continued his strong return to action on day two.

He finished six doubles from seven attempts and averaged 106 in his 6-4 quarter-final win over Rob Cross, and then ended Michael Smith's reign as champion in a thrilling semi-final.

The pair could barely be separated as the tie went to a deciding leg, which Van Gerwen took with a 110 checkout, only to see Littler deny him the title.

"It has been a fantastic tournament - of course I am disappointed but that is how sports work; you win some, you lose some," said Van Gerwen.

"It is never going to be a good week when Michael is not winning, simple as that. He has had a fantastic tournament as well.

"I couldn't produce what I was doing in the early games [in the final]. You can only punish yourself for that. You have to make sure you get better for the next one."

The 34-year-old also urged the darting world to give Littler breathing room. The youngster has received incredible media coverage as a result of his world championship heroics. However, Van Gerwen believes the teenager needs time.

He said: “Everyone says he’s the new kid, but everyone knows what he is capable of. The crowd, the television, everyone wants to make him bigger, but he’s already a good player.

“I know we all want to push him, but let him grow, let him do other things. You have to learn, the crowd has to learn and everyone who is involved in television has to learn. Don’t push him too much.

“Of course we know he’s a good player, but give him his time and after, he will come, no problems.”

Photo Credit: PDC

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