Michael van Gerwen continued his dominance on the European Tour as he produced a stunning display to ease past second seed Peter Wright 6-2 in the HappyBet European Darts Grand Prix at the Glaspalast in Sindelfingen on Sunday evening.
Van Gerwen averaged 105.38 and landed five maximums to scoop the £25,000 winner’s cheque, also securing an unprecedented sixth European Tour title of the year- his 14th in total. Wright once again fell at the final hurdle against MvG, although he battled admirably; averaging 102.36 in defeat.
Van Gerwen started the final strongly, holding throw by virtue of a commanding 14-darter despite a fine scoring leg from Wright. The Dutchman doubled his lead moments later, pinning D8 with his final dart to break the throw, despite Snakebite posting his first maximum of the contest.
‘Mighty Mike’ extended his cushion to 3-0 with a solid 14-darter, before a high-quality fourth leg ensued. The pair traded maximums and Wright left 24 after 12 darts as he appeared poised to open his account. However he was denied by an inspired MvG, who fired in an incredible 164 checkout on the bullseye.
Van Gerwen secured his third consecutive 14-dart hold to move within a leg of victory, but Wright managed to narrowly avoid the whitewash. MvG missed D13 for a 12-darter after starting the leg with five perfect darts, and Wright got off the mark with a clinical 101 finish culminating on D12.
Wright doubled his tally after hitting his third maximum and pinning tops, but any faint hopes of a heroic fightback were suitably quashed by the world number one. Snakebite registered his fourth maximum of the final, but he missed D16 for a 110 checkout, and Van Gerwen clinically converted 72 on tops, to win his sixth European Tour title of 2016.
Earlier in the day, MvG began his assault for another title with a battling 6-3 victory over Steve Beaton. The world number one started the contest sluggishly and was broken in the opening leg. However, he fired in six maximums and reeled off four consecutive legs, including a 128 checkout, to book his place in the last eight.
‘The Green Machine’ faced Gerwyn Price in the quarters, after the Welshman produced a fine display to dump out Mensur Suljovic. Van Gerwen also saw off ‘The Iceman’ by a 6-3 scoreline in a less than vintage display. He averaged 94.42 and hit 40% of his doubles, but also took out a magnificent 170 outshot in the third leg en route to reaching the semis.
However, the Dutchman saved his best for the semi-finals, where he whitewashed Kim Huybrechts with a sublime 107.36 average. Van Gerwen also posted four maximums as he ruthlessly capitalised on poor finishing from the Belgian, who spurned opportunities at double in legs two, three and four.
On the other side of the draw, Wright performed superbly throughout the day, posting ton-plus averages all the way through to the final. He kicked off Sunday’s proceedings with an emphatic 6-1 victory over Joe Cullen. Snakebite averaged 102.68, fired in four maximums and converted 37% of his attempts at double.
Wright faced eight-time major winner James Wade in the last eight. Wade also averaged over 102 in his last 16 victory over Jonny Clayton, but he was unable to overcome Wright in an extremely high-quality affair.
Wade stormed into a 2-0 lead, but Wright seized the initiative by reeling off four legs in succession. ‘The Machine’ responded tremendously by firing in a classy 161 checkout to reduce the arrears to 4-3, but the Scot produced 116 and 145 finishes in successive legs to finish with a 106.14 average and seal his place in the last four.
In the semi-finals, the second seed faced five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld. Van Barneveld, who came through the qualifiers to compete in Sindelfingen, was participating in his first European Tour event of 2016, and had to reach the final in order to qualify for the European Championship in Hasselt next month.
Barney had produced top-class performances throughout the weekend to defeat Scott Dale, Simon Whitlock, James Wilson and Benito van de Pas, but Wright was an obstacle too far for RvB. Wright averaged 103.43 to record a fine 6-2 victory over Van Barneveld, who despite his best efforts, narrowly missed out on European Championship qualification.
HappyBet European Darts Grand Prix
Sunday September 18
Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm local time, 12pm-4pm BST)
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Steve Beaton
Mensur Suljovic 3-6 Gerwyn Price
Michael Smith 2-6 Stephen Bunting
Kim Huybrechts 6-2 Alan Norris
Peter Wright 6-1 Joe Cullen
James Wade 6-3 Jonny Clayton
Benito van de Pas 6-2 Joe Murnan
James Wilson 3-6 Raymond van Barneveld
Evening Session (7pm-11pm local time, 6pm-10pm BST)
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Gerwyn Price
Stephen Bunting 5-6 Kim Huybrechts
Peter Wright 6-3 James Wade
Benito van de Pas 1-6 Raymond van Barneveld
Michael van Gerwen 6-0 Kim Huybrechts
Peter Wright 6-2 Raymond van Barneveld
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Peter Wright