Michael van Gerwen will face England’s Michael Smith in the final of the PDC World Darts Championship on Tuesday.
It will be a repeat of the 2019 final won by the Dutchman, with the victor also becoming the new world number one.
Smith overcame a stern test from Germany’s Gabriel Clemens to win his semi-final 6-2 at Alexandra Palace.
Van Gerwen is chasing his fourth world title and was too good for former World Matchplay champion Dimitri Van den Bergh, thrashing the Belgian 6-0.
Van den Bergh hit a 170 checkout in the opening set, but had no other answer as Van Gerwen lost only four of the 22 legs played to race into his sixth World Championship final.
Van Gerwen told Sky Sports: “I gave it everything, I’m playing out of my skin at the moment. It costs so much energy but I’m able to do it. With the crowd behind me again, it feels phenomenal.”
Asked about his final opponent, the 33-year-old added: “He’s not going to stop me, no-one is going to stop me.
“The crowd deserves a final like this. Myself against Michael Smith in the final – I think it’s good for darts.”
The first semi-final was a much closer affair, with six of the eight sets between Smith and Clemens going to a deciding fifth leg.
Clemens beat world number one Gerwyn Price 5-1 in his quarter-final to become the first German player to reach the last four.
The 25th seed shared the opening four sets with Smith, but the St Helens-born thrower clinched the sixth set against the darts with an 83 checkout on the bull and that proved the pivotal moment.
Speaking before Van Gerwen’s victory, Smith said: “Michael’s the odds-on favourite, he’s played really well, but everyone can have a bad game. If it’s not today, hopefully it’s tomorrow.
“I’ve not been the best apart from when I played Joe Cullen [in the last 16], but I’ve stepped up when I’ve needed to. Hopefully tomorrow I can step up again.”
Form players of 2022 reach world final
Van Gerwen entered the tournament ranked third in the world, one place ahead of Smith.
After being forced to withdraw from last year’s World Championship because of a positive Covid-19 test, Van Gerwen enjoyed a successful 2022, with the Premier League, World Matchplay and World Grand Prix among the Dutchman’s major tournament victories.
He won the most recent of his three PDC world titles in 2019, beating Smith 7-3 in the final.
A fourth would leave Van Gerwen alone in fourth in the all-time list of World Darts Championship title wins, with only Phil Taylor (two BDO, 14 PDC), Eric Bristow (five BDO) and Raymond van Barneveld (four BDO, one PDC) winning more.
The 2019 defeat was the first of Smith’s two previous appearances in a world final. His second came 12 months ago, when he lost 7-5 to Peter Wright.
Smith ended his long wait for a first major televised title in November, winning the Grand Slam of Darts in Wolverhampton, while the 32-year-old has also reached finals of the UK Open and the European Championship during the past 12 months.