Mensur Suljovic claimed his first PDC ranking title at the International Darts Open after capitalising on seven missed match darts from Kim Huybrechts in a thrilling final in Riesa on Sunday evening. Suljovic has subsequently become the first ever Austrian to win a PDC ranking event after a dramatic sudden-death triumph against ‘The Hurricane’.
Huybrechts claimed the opening leg of the final with an assertive 15-dart hold, but Suljovic levelled proceedings by eventually nailing D5, with the Belgian a distance behind. The Austrian then secured a precious break of throw in the third leg, clinically converting a two-dart 96 finish to break in 14-darts.
The ninth seed appeared poised to win his third successive leg after posting a sublime 167, but Huybrechts broke back instantly with a wonderful 132 checkout, culminating on the bullseye.
Despite this, Suljovic remained unperturbed. He left himself on 91 after just 9 darts, before clinching a third consecutive break of throw with a 13-darter via D16. However, the succession of breaks were ended in the sixth leg, as the Austrian pinned his favourite D14, for a 14-dart hold.
Huybrechts responded impressively however. For the second time in the contest, he converted a fantastic 132 finish (T20, T16, D12) to reduce the arrears to 4-3, before punishing an abject leg from Suljovic to restore parity at four apiece.
‘The Hurricane’ won his third straight leg by pinning D12, but Suljovic managed to halt his slide, hitting D10 to force a dramatic deciding leg.
Huybrechts had the advantage of throw and was in total control from the outset, leaving 130 after 9 darts. In contrast, the trebles evaded Suljovic at a crucial juncture, as he was unable to register a treble in his first three visits.
Nevertheless, huge drama ensued as Huybrechts missed an incredible SEVEN match darts, to gift Suljovic an opportunity to convert 52 to seal the title. Mensur made no mistake, converting D16 at the first time of asking, to spark jubilant celebrations from ‘The Gentle’, on a landmark day for Austrian darts.
Earlier in the day, Suljovic came through an epic third-round tie against Jelle Klaasen in Sunday’s afternoon session. The Austrian kicked off proceedings with a 13-darter, but Klaasen delivered a fine riposte; with a 12-darter of his own.
Neither player was able to break throw, but Klaasen stole a march by hitting a maximum in the decider. Nevertheless, ‘The Gentle’ fired in two 140’s, before taking out a magnificent 121 finish to secure a fine victory with a classy 12-darter.
In the last eight, Suljovic eased past another Dutchman, Yordi Meeuwisse. Suljovic averaged 98.54 and hit 60% of his double attempts to seal an emphatic 6-1 victory, before following this up with another 6-1 triumph against former BDO world number one James Wilson in the semi-finals.
Wilson had sealed a spot in the last four with victories over Terry Jenkins and Andy Boulton respectively, but this proved a game too far for ‘The Jammie Dodger. Suljovic was consistency personified- averaging over 96 and hitting 50% of his doubles, to secure a place in his maiden European Tour final.
Kim Huybrechts’ progress to the final was also relatively serene. He eased past Robbie Green in the last 16, defeating ‘Kong’ by a 6-2 scoreline. The Belgian was dominant throughout, averaging 93.10 and hitting 60% of his doubles.
Huybrechts then faced the surprise package Dragutin Horvat in the quarters. Horvat stunned Ian White in the last 16, firing in four maximums and averaging almost 100 as he defeated ‘The Diamond’ 6-4. However, he was unable to replicate these heroics against ‘The Hurricane’, who averaged 100.75 as he ran out a 6-1 winner.
In the last four, Huybrechts landed five maximums as he despatched Benito van de Pas 6-2. The Belgian averaged 95.95 to reach the final, as the Dutchman was brutally punished for converting just two of his 13 attempts at double. However, in the final, it was Huybrechts’ missed doubles which proved expensive.
HappyBet International Darts Open
Sunday September 4
Ryan Meikle 2-6 Yordi Meeuwisse
Jelle Klaasen 5-6 Mensur Suljovic
James Wilson 6-4 Terry Jenkins
Dave Chisnall 5-6 Andy Boulton
Peter Wright 3-6 Simon Whitlock
Benito van de Pas 6-2 Robert Thornton
Ian White 4-6 Dragutin Horvat
Kim Huybrechts 6-2 Robbie Green
Evening Session (7pm-11pm local time, 6pm-10pm BST)
Yordi Meeuwisse 1-6 Mensur Suljovic
James Wilson 6-1 Andy Boulton
Simon Whitlock 5-6 Benito van de Pas
Dragutin Horvat 1-6 Kim Huybrechts
Mensur Suljovic 6-1 James Wilson
Benito van de Pas 2-6 Kim Huybrechts
Mensur Suljovic 6-5 Kim Huybrechts