Newly crowned world champion Michael van Gerwen secured his third successive Unibet Masters title with a stunning 11-7 victory over world number two Gary Anderson in a thrilling final at the Arena MK in Milton Keynes on Sunday evening.
‘Mighty Mike’ was in blistering form; averaging 109.42, landing nine maximums and converting 58% of his double attempts to secure his Masters hat-trick. Anderson averaged 103.58 and fired in five maximums himself, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the irrepressible ‘Green Machine’.
Van Gerwen made a storming start to the contest. He kicked off the final with a stunning visit of 177, before pegging an effortless 107 outshot to hold throw. He then doubled his advantage moments later; following up two maximums with a 12-dart break of throw.
Anderson opened his account with a 14-darter to break back, but MvG responded superbly. The Scot wired the bull for a 167 kill to level the contest, before Van Gerwen converted a two-dart 96 finish for an 11-darter to regain his cushion. The Dutchman then continued his clinical finishing to take out 87 and establish a 4-1 lead at the first break.
The pair traded maximums after the interval, as Anderson converted a pivotal 116 checkout on tops for a 12-dart hold. Van Gerwen delivered a stunning riposte; dispatching an 84 kill with consummate ease for a majestic 11-dart hold. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ bounced straight back however; pinning D2 having left D8 after just nine darts.
Nevertheless, the world champion crashed in a maximum and a 177 in the ninth leg, before completing a two-dart 72 outshot for yet another 11-darter. Despite this, Anderson continued to battle valiantly as he followed his third maximum with an effortless 106 checkout for a 12-darter to reduce the arrears to 6-4 at the second interval.
The standard was unrelenting and Van Gerwen continued his brilliance with his fifth maximum and a 14-darter to extend his lead. The Dutchman had hit seven of his eight attempts at double and maintained his flawless finishing with a classy 130 checkout (T20, T20, D5) for a double-break.
‘The Green Machine’ wired D12 for a 129 checkout as Anderson struck back with a 13-darter, before the Scot followed his fifth maximum by pegging D6 for back-to-back legs. The world number one remained unperturbed however; firing in his seventh maximum and posting a commanding 15-darter to move within two legs of victory at 9-6.
Van Gerwen produced a stunning 174 set up shot to threaten the Anderson throw, but the Dutchman uncharacteristically spurned three darts at double as the Scot pinned tops to stay alive.
However, the roles were reversed moments later as Anderson squandered three darts at D4, which then saw MvG convert a nerveless 80 kill to move to the cusp of victory. This proved to be the decisive blow, as Van Gerwen conjured up a magnificent 121 checkout (T20, T11, D14) for a 12-darter to seal his third successive Unibet Masters title.
Van Gerwen had booked his place in the final with emphatic victories against Mensur Suljovic and Adrian Lewis earlier in the day. ‘The Green Machine’ averaged 107.75, registered three maximums and hit 43% of his attempts at double to record a 10-4 win over Suljovic, as the Austrian was comprehensively beaten despite averaging 103.34.
In the semis, the world number one recorded a convincing 11-5 victory against an under-par Adrian Lewis. ‘Jackpot’ had performed impressively to defeat Kim Huybrechts and Robert Thornton earlier in the tournament, but couldn’t replicate that display against MvG, as the Dutch ace progressed with a 101.69 average and eight maximums.
Anderson began his day with victory over Raymond van Barneveld. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ averaged 106.50, landed six maximums and converted 63% of his attempts at double to record his eleventh straight win over RvB. Van Barneveld averaged 100.21 and produced finishes of 121, 141 and 170, but it still wasn’t sufficient to overcome the inspired Scot.
In the last four, Anderson faced Phil Taylor, who eased past an off-colour Peter Wright in the quarter-finals. Taylor led 9-7 and seemed destined to progress, but Anderson reeled off four successive legs to triumph with a 102 average, seven maximums and a checkout success rate of 61%.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
2017 Unibet Masters
Sunday January 29
Phil Taylor (6) 10-5 Peter Wright (3)
Gary Anderson (2) 10-6 Raymond van Barneveld (10)
Robert Thornton (12) 6-10 Adrian Lewis (4)
Michael van Gerwen (1) 10-4 Mensur Suljovic (8)
Evening Session (7pm)
Gary Anderson (2) 11-9 Phil Taylor (6)
Michael van Gerwen (1) 11-5 Adrian Lewis (4)
Michael van Gerwen (1) 11-7 Gary Anderson (2)