Gary Anderson ended Michael van Gerwen’s three-year reign as the Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters champion, beating ‘The Green Machine’ 11-9 in Friday’s thrilling final at the Tennis Park Stadium.
Van Gerwen led 8-4 and appeared on course to continue his impeccable record in Dubai, but the world champion fought back superbly, winning seven of the remaining eight legs to clinch his maiden World Series title.
Van Gerwen averaged 100.95 compared to Anderson’s 97.98, but the world number one was punished for a disappointing 29% on the doubles, and ‘The Flying Scotsman’ took full advantage to claim victory.
The Dutchman made an imperious start to the final, registering his first maximum and converting 81 for a 12-darter to clinch the opening leg. MvG hit another 180 in the following leg, before doubling his lead with a clinical 62 checkout.
Anderson broke back instantly with a fine 86 finish, but Van Gerwen regained his two-leg cushion by pinning D18. The Scot responded superbly with a magnificent 11-darter, but Van Gerwen secured the fifth consecutive break of throw in the final; hitting D16 having posted a 177 in the preceding visit.
The next four legs were shared, as Van Gerwen went into the second interval with a 6-4 cushion. MvG then posted his fifth maximum and nailed D20 to establish a 7-4 advantage, before a dramatic twelfth leg ensued. Anderson missed EIGHT clear darts at double, and the 27-year-old from Boxtel pinned D10 to move three legs away from victory.
Nevertheless, Anderson responded magnificently and this disappointment sparked an inspired fightback from the two-time world champion. He took out 130 on the bullseye to break throw, before taking out 97 on D12 for back-to-back 12-dart legs, to reduce the arrears to 8-6.
Van Gerwen had an opportunity to re-establish a three-leg advantage in the fifteenth leg, but he squandered four darts at double, allowing Anderson to take out 68 and win his third straight leg. The Dutchman fired in a 177 as he aimed to deliver an instant riposte, but Ando was unperturbed, nervelessly taking out 76 to restore parity at 8-8.
The Dutchman was reeling, but he managed to halt Anderson’s charge by hitting his sixth maximum and hitting D4 to edge 9-8 ahead. Yet, the world champion defied a majestic 174 from MvG to hit D10 and level up the contest once more.
Michael had led for the entirety of the contest, but Anderson took the lead for the very first time in the nineteenth leg. The Scot fired in his fourth 180 and hit D12 to move a leg away from victory, after Van Gerwen had missed D16 in the preceding visit.
Van Gerwen had the chance to break back and force a deciding leg, but the Dutchman uncharacteristically spurned six darts at double across three separate visits. Anderson missed four darts himself, but he eventually took advantage, pinning D5 to win his first ever World Series crown, ending Van Gerwen’s Dubai dominance in the process.
Anderson was understandably thrilled with his comeback victory: “This is a brilliant win. It was hard but I could see Michael tiring at the end – he took his foot off the gas a little and missed a couple of doubles. I like playing Michael – he plays my kind of game and players like Michael always make the game look good. I came back and it was a bit nip-and-tuck.”
Earlier in the evening, Anderson defeated 16-time world champion Phil Taylor 11-7 to reach his maiden final in Dubai. Taylor had won eight of their previous ten meetings, but the Scot upped the ante in the latter stages of the contest to progress.
Anderson averaged 97 against ‘The Power’, hitting six maximums and converting an impressive 55% of his double attempts. Taylor led 6-5 at one stage, but Anderson reeled off five successive legs to seize control, and despite Taylor hitting an 11-darter to remain in contention, the Scot completed victory on his favourite D20.
In the other semi-final, Van Gerwen sealed his place in his fourth consecutive Dubai final by defeating three-time World Series semi-finalist Dave Chisnall. Both players boasted an excellent 58% on the doubles, but MvG’s scoring was superior, as he finished with an average in excess of 105.
There was just one leg between them as ‘Mighty-Mike’ led 6-5, but the Dutch star won five of the last seven legs to win through in relatively comfortable fashion. However, Chisnall will be encouraged with his display, as he continues his resurgence following his Premier League elimination back in March.
2016 Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters
Friday May 27
Michael van Gerwen 11-7 Dave Chisnall
Gary Anderson 11-7 Phil Taylor
Best of 21 legs
Michael van Gerwen 9-11 Gary Anderson
Best of 21 legs