European Darts Trophy
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN clinched a 13th European Tour title with a 6-5 victory over Mensur Suljovic in a thrilling final at the HappyBet European Darts Trophy at the RWE Arena in Muelheim, Germany.
Suljovic, playing in his second consecutive final after winning the International Darts Open last weekend, looked to have the beating of van Gerwen until the world number one produced some breath-taking darts to clinch it in a last leg decider.
Having shared the opening two legs, an early break in the third looked to put van Gerwen in the driving seat. He was pegged back immediately by Suljovic, however, who then won the next two legs including a match-high 84 checkout for another break of throw and a 4-2 lead.
27-year-old van Gerwen dug deep with back-to-back 13-darters to level things up at 4-4, but still required a break to clinch the title. Suljovic moved onto the brink of victory at 5-4, but it was here that the Dutchman produced his best darts, with a 12-dart hold followed by an 11-dart break of throw in the decisive leg to snatch the victory.
On his way to the final, van Gerwen produced a similar feat in the semi’s as he overcame Kim Huybrechts by the same score line. The former World Champion was the aggressor this time over, and was leading 5-4 with the throw, only to see Huybrechts produce a stunning 103 checkout under pressure to level and swing the game back in his favour.
But van Gerwen again found a last leg break in the decider to squeeze through to set up the clash with Suljovic. The game of the day arguably came in van Gerwen’s 6-2 quarter-final clash with Jelle Klaasen however, as he averaged a tournament record 115.13 average in a 6-2 victory.
Klaasen was no slouch, and could otherwise count himself unlucky as he averaged 107 himself in a frantic affair that saw eight legs wrapped up in just 10 minutes 17 seconds. Van Gerwen also beat Keegan Brown the second round and Simon Whitlock in the third on his way to the title.
It was another superb week for Suljovic on the Oche as he made his second consecutive final. Having whitewashed Vincent Kamphuis in his opening game, he then registered a comfortable 6-3 win over Ian White to reach the Quarter-Finals. There he faced Peter Wright, a man he had failed to beat in all of their previous four meetings, but handled the task with aplomb as he raced to a 6-1 victory.
Standing in his way of a place in the last two was James Wade, but again Suljovic was measured in his approach and consistent doubling (60%), coupled with a 100 average saw him make it back-to-back finals with a 6-3 victory – before falling to van Gerwen’s brilliance. It was another good weekend for Huybrechts also. After losing out to Suljovic in the final at the International Darts Open a week ago.
HappyBet European Darts Trophy
Sunday September 11th
Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm local time, 12pm-4pm BST)
98.01 James Wade 6-3 Andy Jenkins 88.03
100.91 Michael Smith 6-4 Robert Thornton 97.12
104.56 Ian White 3-6 Mensur Suljovic 103.39
89.20 Peter Wright 5-6 Joe Cullen 93.02
89.27 Kim Huybrechts 6-5 Terry Jenkins 85.59
100.90 Dave Chisnall 3-6 Gerwyn Price 98.22
101.34 Benito van de Pas 5-6 Jelle Klaasen 106.68
91.86 Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Simon Whitlock 87.60
100.54 James Wade 6-5 Michael Smith 92.14
99.17 Mensur Suljovic 6-1 Peter Wright 92.67
97.73 Kim Huybrechts 6-4 Gerwyn Price 94.97
107.11 Jelle Klaasen 3-6 Michael van Gerwen 115.13
100.52 James Wade 3-6 Mensur Suljovic 100.81
93.46 Kim Huybrechts 5-6 Michael van Gerwen 97.57
101.26 Mensur Suljovic 5-6 Michael van Gerwen 106.77
All games are the best of 11 legs.