Peter Wright secured his second European Tour title of the year after producing a stunning 121 finish on the bullseye to edge out a brilliant Benito van de Pas in a thrilling final at the German Darts Open in Saabrucken on Sunday evening.
Van de Pas produced arguably his best ever big-stage performance as he fought to secure a maiden European Tour title, but he was denied by a clinical Snakebite in an absolute epic. Van de Pas averaged a staggering 110.46 compared to Wright’s 97.49, but the Scot’s incredible finishing was the decisive factor.
‘Big Ben’ scored relentlessly, but only converted five of his seventeen attempts at double. In contrast, the world number three was virtually perfect in the finishing department. Wright produced two crucial ton-plus checkouts and dispatched six out of his seven shots at double; an astonishing ratio of 85%; to seal the £25,000 winner’s cheque.
Van de Pas drew first blood in the final with a convincing 15-dart hold via D2. Nevertheless, Wright responded strongly to seize the initiative. He levelled up the contest with a 15-dart hold of his own after Van de Pas had wired the bull for a 128 outshot, before firing in his first maximum and pinning D16 to break the Dutchman’s throw.
Snakebite then converted a nerveless 116 kill on tops to secure his third straight leg, with Van de Pas poised on D14. ‘Big Ben’ managed to halt Wright’s momentum by following up his first maximum with a 13-darter on tops, but the Scot took out a vital 65 outshot to continue his fabulous finishing and restore his two-leg cushion.
Van de Pas was scoring superbly and he maintained that consistency to reduce the arrears to 4-3; following up three successive 140’s with an 81 finish via D16 for a classy 12-darter. Nevertheless, a break of throw was proving elusive for the Dutchman, as Wright found D16 for a 13-darter to move to within a leg of victory.
The only leg won in over 15 darts came in the ninth leg, as Van de Pas pegged D5 to stay afloat. Wright then had the throw to seal victory, but ‘Big Ben’ crashed in a timely maximum to set up a break opportunity, which he duly converted inside 13 darts to force the deciding leg that this thrilling affair merited.
The 24-year-old Dutchman kicked off the decider with his third maximum; leaving 86 after just 9 darts. Nevertheless, Van de Pas wired one match dart at D7, which proved very expensive. Wright followed up his seventh 140 by conjuring up an inspired 121 checkout on the bullseye to clinch the title and break Benito’s heart.
Earlier in the day, Wright had secured a place in his second European Tour Final of the year with some impressive displays. However, the Scot came through a major scare in round-three; surviving one match dart against Cristo Reyes to book his place in the last eight with a 96.58 average, three maximums and a 33% checkout success rate.
In the quarter-finals, Snakebite faced Gerwyn Price, in a repeat of last month’s UK Open Final. Yet once again, Wright claimed the spoils; producing a dominant display to ease past the Welshman. The world number three averaged 104.21, landed two maximums and converted 50% of his attempts at double to round-off a convincing 6-2 triumph.
This set up a semi-final clash with Jelle Klaasen, who defeated Dave Chisnall and Mensur Suljovic to reach the semi-finals for the third European Tour event in succession. Nevertheless, he was unable to reach back-to-back finals, as Wright prevailed 6-2 after averaging 105.74, firing in three maximums and hitting 67% of his double attempts.
Van de Pas was left heartbroken to lose in such cruel circumstances, but he performed tremendously throughout the day; kicking off proceedings with a deciding leg win over Joe Cullen. ‘The Rockstar’ produced finishes of 170 and 124 in successive legs to force a decider, before Benito held his nerve to triumph with a 75% checkout success rate.
The fourth seed then breezed into the semi-finals with an emphatic 6-2 victory over European Tour debutant Rob Cross. Cross had seen off Jeffrey de Graaf, Michael Smith and Simon Whitlock to reach the last eight, but Van de Pas averaged 103.79, fired in three maximums and hit 55% of his attempts at double to cap off an impressive 6-2 win.
In the last four, Van de Pas faced Ian White, who performed superbly to reach his first European Tour semi-final since last May. White stormed into the quarter-finals with a stunning 6-4 win over Mervyn King- averaging 106.55 in the process.
‘The Diamond’ then produced a remarkable display to dismantle world number one Michael van Gerwen in the last eight. Van Gerwen averaged 97.47, but converted just one of his nine darts at double, as White secured a comprehensive 6-1 victory with a 104.01 average, three maximums and a 50% checkout success rate.
White was the only man in the tournament to post three successive 100+ averages, but his hopes of reaching a maiden European Tour final were quashed by a clinical Van de Pas. The 24-year-old averaged 100.18 and successfully dispatched 46% of his attempts at double, as the Stoke star was ruthlessly punished for his 21% checkout success rate.
It was mixed emotions for van de Pas, but he was delighted to return to form in such impressive fashion, admitting: “I played so good and still lost. I’ve played really badly the past few weeks so I’m proud I made the final here.” Nevertheless, Wright’s remarkable run continues, as he already celebrates his sixth ranking title of 2017.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
HappyBet German Darts Open
Sunday April 23
Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm local time, 12pm-4pm BST)
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Adam Hunt
Ian White 6-4 Mervyn King
Rob Cross 6-3 Simon Whitlock
Benito van de Pas 6-5 Joe Cullen
Peter Wright 6-5 Cristo Reyes
Gerwyn Price 6-4 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Jelle Klaasen 6-3 Dave Chisnall
Mensur Suljovic 6-0 Stephen Bunting
Evening Session (7pm-11pm local time, 6pm-10pm BST)
Ian White 6-1 Michael Van Gerwen
Benito van de Pas 6-2 Rob Cross
Peter Wright 6-2 Gerwyn Price
Jelle Klaasen 6-3 Mensur Suljovic
Benito van de Pas 6-3 Ian White
Peter Wright 6-2 Jelle Klaasen
Peter Wright 6-5 Benito van de Pas