Gary Anderson retained his Dubai Darts Masters crown with a sensational 11-7 comeback victory over world number one Michael van Gerwen at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium on Thursday evening.
In a repeat of the 2016 final, ‘The Flying Scotsman’ produced an incredible display to prevail in the match of the darting year thus far. Anderson averaged 110.88- the highest average recorded in the tournament’s five-year history, fired in a remarkable twelve maximums and converted 50% of his attempts at double to stun the world number one.
Van Gerwen did very little wrong himself. ‘The Green Machine’ averaged 110.46, landed six maximums and also boasted a checkout success rate of 50%, but he was unable to defy Anderson’s astonishing surge in the latter half of the contest, as the Scot won eight of the remaining ten legs to deny MvG a fourth title in Dubai.
Both players made a blistering start to the contest; registering maximums in each of the first three legs as Van Gerwen established an early 2-1 lead. MvG then recorded his third straight leg to establish a two-leg cushion, but the Scot sank D3 to reduce the deficit in a nervy fifth leg.
Anderson then kicked off the sixth leg with back-to-back maximums, but he was unable to restore parity as Van Gerwen converted a clinical 74 checkout to extend his lead. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ responded by dispatching a clean 84 kill, before ‘Mighty Mike’ piled in his fourth maximum en route to an 11-darter, to secure a 5-3 advantage.
Nevertheless, ‘The Flying Scotsman’ produced a fine mini-surge to turn the contest on its head. He punished a missed dart from the world champion to reduce the arrears to 5-4, before following up his eighth maximum with an 11-darter to level proceedings.
Anderson then recorded his third straight leg to hit the front, before Van Gerwen levelled with a vital 64 outshot, after the world number two had wired D14 for a spectacular 148 checkout. Despite this, Anderson then reeled off a further three legs to seal total control of the final; leaving Van Gerwen shell-shocked.
The Scot pegged D16 to regain the lead, before completing a classy 84 finish to secure a break of throw inside 12 darts for an 8-6 cushion. Anderson’s dominance continued in the following leg, as he registered his second successive 12-darter to move to within two legs of defending his title.
Van Gerwen responded magnificently however; firing in an 11-darter to reduce the arrears to 9-7, before registering visits of 177 and 174 in the following leg to set up a potential 9-darter.
However, the Dutchman was unable to produce the perfect leg and Anderson pounced; rounding off a sublime 11-darter of his own to move to the cusp of victory, which he duly sealed moments later, by pinning D4 to retain his Dubai Darts Masters crown.
Anderson reflected: “It’s a brilliant win for me. The scoring was great and it just shows what an old boy can still do! A few years ago against a player like Michael I would have just packed in and given up [when I was behind].
Now I believe I can catch them and get on a roll. When I retire I can look back at playing the likes of Van Gerwen and Taylor and say that I played them and I beat them,” the 46-year-old proudly added.
Earlier in the evening, Anderson had defeated his compatriot and World Cup partner Peter Wright 11-8 to seal his place in the final. The world number two averaged 99.29 and posted four maximums to overcome an under-par Snakebite, who averaged 91.91 and converted just 24% of his attempts at double.
Meanwhile, Van Gerwen breezed into his fifth successive Dubai Darts Masters final with an emphatic 11-3 win over World Series debutant Gerwyn Price. MvG averaged 96.91, landed four maximums and converted 61% of his doubles to thrash the off-colour Welshman, but it was a red-hot Anderson who triumphed in the desert!
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
2017 Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters
Thursday May 25
Michael van Gerwen 11-3 Gerwyn Price
Gary Anderson 11-8 Peter Wright
Best of 21 legs
Gary Anderson 11-7 Michael van Gerwen
Best of 21 legs