Michael van Gerwen retained his Shanghai Darts Masters title with a stunning whitewash victory over Dave Chisnall on a dramatic day of action at the Pullman Hotel in Shanghai on Friday evening.
‘The Green Machine’ won the inaugural staging of this event twelve months ago with victory against James Wade, and he retained his crown in sumptuous style with a dominant display in the final. However, it wasn’t all plain-sailing for MvG, as he survived a match dart against Phil Taylor in a nail-biting quarter-final clash.
Despite this, after beating ‘The Power’, the world champion upped the ante and decimated Chisnall in a ruthless display; averaging 102.77, registering four maximums and converting 50% of his attempts at double.
The Dutchman stole a march early on; winning the opening two legs in 15 and 14 darts respectively as ‘Chizzy’ struggled to settle. ‘Mighty Mike’ then posted his first maximum and pegged D16 to extend his cushion, before he followed up his second 180 by dispatching a nerveless 65 kill for a fourth straight leg.
Chisnall was becoming visibly deflated and Van Gerwen continued the procession; firing in his third maximum and rounding-off a 14-darter for a 5-0 lead. Chisnall then had his first dart at double as he attempted to open his account, but after wiring the bull, Van Gerwen punished by taking out a classy 84 kill for a brilliant 12-dart break of throw.
The world number one moved to the cusp of victory moments later; nailing D18 having kicked off the leg with six perfect darts. Chisnall was desperate to avoid the indignity of a whitewash, but Van Gerwen was in no mood to relent and duly sealed an imperious 8-0 win after dispatching an effortless 114 outshot on tops.
Van Gerwen reflected: “It feels amazing. I worked hard for this and I’m glad I can hold this trophy. After the game against Phil I played phenomenal and it gave me great confidence. You have to be confident if you want to win trophies like this.
“You have to be ruthless in darts and if I can win 8-0 I try to win 8-0. I only want to win all the time, it’s not always that easy but I played well. This gives me great confidence for next week in Las Vegas and the World Matchplay. I’m over the moon. It’s going to be good fun in Las Vegas and I hope I can hold another trophy there,” he added.
Chisnall cited fatigue as the reason for his lacklustre final display, but acknowledged that MvG was a worthy winner: “I didn’t turn up in the final. I was so tired, and when you play Michael he makes you even more tired when you watch him hitting treble 20 after treble 20. The best player won on the weekend so well done to Michael. I’ll get him one day.”
Nevertheless, earlier in the day, Van Gerwen survived a major scare to edge out Phil Taylor in a dramatic deciding-leg. ‘The Power’ capitalised on some woeful finishing from the Dutchman in the early stages, to storm into a 5-0 lead with an average of over 113.
The 16-time world champion also led 6-2 at one stage, but the world number one produced a stunning comeback; winning six of the final seven legs to prevail with a 100.85 average and five 180’s, after Taylor had missed a match dart at tops in the penultimate leg.
In the last four, Van Gerwen then faced James Wade in a repeat of last year’s final, after ‘The Machine’ produced a terrific display to defeat world number three Peter Wright. Snakebite converted just 22% of his attempts at double which proved costly, as Wade triumphed 8-5 with a 95 average, eight maximums and a spectacular 138 checkout.
Nevertheless, the eight-time major winner was unable to replicate that success against Van Gerwen in the last four. He punished some early double-trouble from MvG to establish a 2-0 cushion, but Van Gerwen won eight of the next nine legs to secure an emphatic 8-3 win; averaging 99.50 and hitting three 180’s in the process.
Elsewhere, Dave Chisnall’s route to his seventh PDC televised final was also relatively serene, but his wait for an elusive title continues. After seeing off the veteran Paul Lim in round-one, he produced a sublime display to ease past Gerwyn Price 8-4; averaging 103.37 and landing six 180’s; reeling off the final six legs in succession to triumph.
This set up a semi-final showdown against five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld, who had produced a clinical display to dismantle Gary Anderson 8-1 in the day’s opening quarter-final.
Van Barneveld dispatched majestic finishes of 126, 120, 98 and 79 in consecutive legs to seal a 4-0 lead and Anderson failed to recover. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ converted just one of his nine darts at double, as the legendary Dutchman breezed through with a 98.19 average and a 47% checkout conversion rate.
However, Barney was unable to replicate that type of performance in the semi-finals, as Chisnall ran out a comfortable 8-4 winner. The St Helen’s star averaged 96.6, piled in five maximums and took out an incredible 137 checkout (T19, D20, D20) to book a place in his third World Series final.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC