Teenage sensation Luke Littler defeats Michael Van Gerwen to win Bahrain Masters

Teenage sensation Luke Littler powered his way past three-times world champion Michael Van Gerwen to claim his first senior PDC title on a perfect day at the Bahrain Masters.

The 16-year-old, who lost to Luke Humphries in the World Darts Championship final earlier this month after a thrilling run which catapulted him into the limelight, beat the world number two to seal an 8-5 victory after earlier producing a nine-dart finish and a maximum 170 check-out.

Asked afterwards what he had just achieved, the teenager who beat Nathan Aspinall in the last eight and Gerwyn Price to reach the final, told ITV4: “You tell me. I don’t know. I’m happy to win.”

“Earlier on the quarters, obviously I hit the nine against Nathan, but I played well yesterday and I’ve played well again tonight.

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

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

Van Gerwen was magnanimous in defeat, but urged people not to put pressure on the game’s new potential superstar.

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.”

Englishman Littler threw first in the final and with the first seven legs all going with the darts, took a 4-3 lead into the break.

He edged in front with the first break on his return, but the Dutchman took out 85 with outer bull and two double tops to reduce the deficit in the next before levelling at 5-5.

But as both players struggled to land doubles, it was the youngster who held his nerve and having audaciously left himself 170 in the 13th leg, eventually checked out with single 18 and double top to win 8-5.

As absorbing a final as it was, it lacked the fireworks of Littler’s earlier matches, which started with a nine-darter in the first leg of his 6-3 last-eight win over compatriot Aspinall.

That booked him a semi-final clash with another former world champion in Price – who had beaten newly-crowned world champion Humphries 6-4 in the previous round – and the contest was a little less explosive.

Littler, who turns 17 on Sunday, landed a maximum 170 finish on his way to a 7-3 win over the Welshman, who himself hit 124 and 146 check-outs as he attempted to keep pace.

Van Gerwen had edged his way into the final with a 7-6 victory over Michael Smith after disposing of Rob Cross 6-4 in the quarter-finals.