Gary Anderson won his third World Series crown of the year, edging out Michael van Gerwen 8-6 to win the Zipang Casino Tokyo Darts Masters at the Yoyogi Olympic Hall, in Thursday’s final.
Anderson, who won the opening two World Series events of 2016 in Dubai and Auckland, continued his impressive form to sink the world number one and claim his first ever title on Japanese soil. The world’s top two players put on a wonderful show in the final, both averaging over the 100 mark. Nevertheless, it was ‘The Flying Scotsman’ who prevailed.
Van Gerwen claimed first blood in the final, registering an early maximum and taking out 100 for the opening leg. Anderson levelled on tops, but the Dutchman regained the lead on D9, having hit a wonderful 168 in the preceding visit. The world champion was unperturbed through, drawing level at 2-2 with a clinical 70 checkout.
‘The Green Machine’ pinned D18 to edge ahead once more, but Anderson restored parity at three-apiece with a majestic 161 finish on the bull. Yet, it was Van Gerwen who held the lead at the interval, as he converted 45 on D16 for a 4-3 advantage.
The match continued to go with throw after the break, as Anderson converted an 88 outshot on D7, but the world number one seized back the initiative with a classy 112 finish, with the Scot poised to pounce on 82.
Anderson was constantly under pressure due to the fact that Van Gerwen had the advantage of throw. Nevertheless, the 48-year-old showed great composure, levelling up at 5-5 by virtue of a crucial 68 finish.
However, the decisive moment in Thursday’s final came in leg eleven, as Anderson clinically converted a 100 finish on tops, to secure the first break of throw in the contest. MvG had the opportunity to deliver an instant riposte, but he missed one dart at D16, and the world champion hit tops once more to move within a leg of victory.
Van Gerwen was under intense pressure, but he kept his hopes alive by hitting D4 to complete a 68 checkout and reduce the arrears to 7-6. The Dutchman then produced a magnificent scoring leg against the throw, as he aimed to force a deciding leg.
‘Mighty-Mike’ left 42 after 9 darts, having posted scores of 139, 180 and 142. Yet, after the 27-year-old old missed two darts at D16, Anderson stepped in ruthlessly, converting 108 on tops to seal a fine victory over his closest rival. Anderson averaged 103.72 to Van Gerwen’s 101.9, but the Scot’s 67% checkout ratio was the decisive factor.
Anderson had begun the evening with an excellent 8-3 victory over five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld in the quarter-finals. The opening exchanges were closely contested, with Anderson leading 3-2. However, the world number two upped the ante, winning five of the remaining six legs to finish with an average in excess of 103.
In the last four, Ando defeated Adrian Lewis in a repeat of last year’s World Championship final. Lewis had defeated Peter Wright in the last eight, and stormed into a 2-0 lead against the Scot. However, Anderson then reeled off six legs in succession en route to sealing an 8-5 win, with an average of 104.71.
In contrast, Michael van Gerwen survived a major scare in his quarter-final clash with Dave Chisnall. The St Helen’s ace was clinical on the doubles, hitting 6 out of 8 to establish a 6-4 advantage. Despite this, the Dutch ace responded brilliantly, winning four legs on the spin to prevail 8-6, with an average of over 102.
In the last four, Van Gerwen met James Wade, in a repeat of last weekend’s Shanghai Darts Masters final. Wade had produced an inspired comeback from 4-2 down to edge out 16-time world champion Phil Taylor 8-7 in the quarters, but he was unable to repeat such heroics against Van Gerwen, who hit 60% of his doubles in an emphatic 8-3 triumph.
The World Series of Darts continues next month when the players travel to Australia for back-to-back tournaments, with the Sydney Darts Masters being held at The Star Casino from August 18-20 before the TABtouch Perth Darts Masters takes place at the PCEC between August 25-27.
Zipang Casino Japan Darts Masters
Thursday July 7
Gary Anderson 8-3 Raymond van Barneveld
Adrian Lewis 8-6 Peter Wright
Michael van Gerwen 8-6 Dave Chisnall
James Wade 8-7 Phil Taylor
Gary Anderson 8-5 Adrian Lewis
Michael van Gerwen 8-3 James Wade
Gary Anderson 8-6 Michael van Gerwen