Peter Wright secured his fourth European Tour title of the year after producing an imperious display to defeat Mervyn King and win the European Darts Open at the Ostermann Arena in Leverkusen on Sunday evening.
The world number three was in dominant form in Leverkusen- dropping just ten legs throughout the entire tournament to scoop the £25,000 winner’s prize and seal his ninth ranking title of 2017 thus far.
Nevertheless, Wright saved his best until last to defeat his former Gold Cup pairs partner. Snakebite averaged 103.07, landed the solitary maximum and converted 67% of his attempts at double, to round off a comprehensive 6-2 victory. King rallied late on, but was denied a second European Tour title by the ruthless UK Open champion.
The Scot made a blistering start to the contest; dispatching a sublime 136 kill for a 12-dart break in the opening leg. King levelled up proceedings with a 15-darter via D9, before Wright secured the third successive break of throw after following up his first maximum with a 13-dart leg.
The world number three then converted a regulation two-dart 51 kill to hold for the first time, before pegging D8 for a 15-darter to establish a 4-1 cushion, after King had missed tops for a 112 finish.
King then landed his first maximum as he attempted to stop the rot, but it was to no avail, as Snakebite nailed tops for a 13-darter to move to within a leg of the crown. King doubled his tally after following up five perfect darts with a 13-dart hold, but it simply delayed the inevitable, as Wright converted an effortless 101 kill to clinch the title.
In his post-match interview, the Scot reflected: “I played my best game in the final; the crowd got me hyped up so I was really focused. Mervyn has worked really hard to get to where he is now. He’s coming back so watch out everybody.”
Wright had kicked off Sunday’s proceedings with a hard-fought 6-3 win over Stephen Bunting- his seventh straight win over ‘The Bullet’. The pair registered three maximums apiece, but Snakebite produced the goods in the decisive moments to prevail 6-3 with a 95.55 average.
In the last eight, Wright faced his fellow Premier League star Dave Chisnall, who followed up his second-round win over James Wade by easing past James Richardson. However, the world number three produced an imperious display to thrash the St Helen’s ace 6-1; averaging 96.53 and converting 50% of his attempts at double.
This set up a semi-final clash against Mensur Suljovic, who had recorded a comprehensive 6-2 win over John Henderson in the last eight. Suljovic stormed into an early 3-1 lead but surrendered that advantage; losing five straight legs as Wright prevailed convincingly with a 99.95 average and five 180’s.
On the other side of the draw, King stormed into the last eight with a brilliant 6-3 victory over Devon Petersen, who had beaten eighth seed Jelle Klaasen in the previous round. King averaged 102.95, landed four maximums, posted eight 140’s and converted 30% of his attempts at double to round-off an impressive 6-3 triumph.
This set up a quarter-final clash against Rob Cross, who produced an inspired performance to dismantle world number one Michael van Gerwen in the last 16. Cross averaged 102.30, posted four 180’s, boasted a 50% checkout success rate and dispatched three ton-plus finishes, as Van Gerwen bowed out despite averaging 102.92.
Nevertheless, the Hastings ace was unable to replicate that performance in the following round, as King recorded an emphatic 6-2 win to advance into the last four. Cross took out a majestic 138 finish and averaged 94.06, but hit just 33% of his double attempts as King triumphed with a 96.90 average and a 55% checkout conversion rate.
King then took on recent Gibraltar Darts Trophy winner Michael Smith in the semi-finals, with the former World-Youth champion vying to reach his third European Tour final in the last four events. However, King upset the odds; averaging 96.58, piling in four maximums and converting 60% of his double attempts to clinch a fine 6-4 win.
In other news, Joe Cullen withdrew from the tournament prior to his last 16 clash against Mensur Suljovic, to return to the UK after his father suffered a heart-attack. Everyone’s thoughts are with Joe and his family at this time.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
HappyBet European Darts Open
Mensur Suljovic Bye (Joe Cullen Withdrew)
John Henderson 6-5 Alan Norris
Dave Chisnall 6-3 James Richardson
Peter Wright 6-3 Stephen Bunting
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Michael Smith 6-3 Daryl Gurney
Mervyn King 6-3 Devon Petersen
Rob Cross 6-2 Michael van Gerwen
Mensur Suljovic 6-2 John Henderson
Peter Wright 6-1 Dave Chisnall
Michael Smith 6-4 Gerwyn Price
Mervyn King 6-2 Rob Cross
Peter Wright 6-3 Mensur Suljovic
Mervyn King 6-4 Michael Smith
Peter Wright 6-2 Mervyn King