Michael van Gerwen fought back from 5-3 behind to defeat World Series debutant Daryl Gurney and clinch the inaugural U.S Masters title on a thrilling day of action at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas on Saturday evening.
Gurney had beaten Peter Wright & Gary Anderson earlier in the evening and was aiming to mark his World Series debut by beating the world’s top three all in a matter of hours. However, the brilliant ‘Super-Chin’ fell agonsingly short, as Van Gerwen’s first appearance on American soil culminated with his 10th World Series crown.
Gurney won five legs out of six to seal command of the final, but the tables were turned in the second half of the tussle; as Van Gerwen won five of the remaining six legs to triumph with a 101.35 average, two maximums and a 57% checkout success rate. Gurney did himself proud, but fell just short after averaging 96.08 and posting three 180’s.
Van Gerwen kicked off proceedings in stunning fashion; posting a sublime 177 and landing a 124 checkout on the bullseye for a 12-dart break of throw. ‘Mighty Mike’ then doubled his lead with a 13-darter via D19, before Gurney pegged a clinical 84 kill on the bullseye to open his account.
The Northern Irishman then levelled up proceedings with a fine 13-darter culminating on D12, before capitalising on missed doubles from MvG to secure the lead via D4. Gurney almost secured his fourth straight leg moments later; wiring tops for a 116 kill, which allowed Van Gerwen to complete a crucial 72 finish on D11 to stop the rot.
However, Gurney remained unperturbed and regained the lead with an assured 62 finish on D16, before pegging D10 to secure a crucial break and a 5-3 advantage. ‘Super-Chin’ appeared on the cusp of an extraordinary victory, but Van Gerwen bounced back in typically emphatic fashion.
The Dutchman registered his second 177 of the contest before hitting D10 to reduce the arrears to 5-4, where he then restored parity at five apiece with an effortless 112 checkout. Gurney continued to battle but MvG sensed an opportunity and pounced; hitting D18 for a 13-darter to regain the initiative.
Incredibly, Van Gerwen hadn’t posted a maximum in the first eleven legs, but he rectified matters in the twelfth; firing in his first 180 and dispatching a nerveless 92 outshot to move to the cusp of victory.
Gurney kept his hopes alive after conjuring up a majestic 120 finish to reduce the deficit to 7-6, but the irrepresible ‘Green Machine’ wasn’t to be denied. He kicked off the fourteenth leg with visits of 123, 140, 140, before converting a clinical 98 checkout on D12 to clinch the inaugural U.S Masters crown with a brilliant 12-dart hold.
Van Gerwen had breezed through to the final, dropping the solitary leg across his three matches. He followed up his first-round whitewash of Chris White by dismantling another qualifier in the quarter-finals, in the shape of Scottish-born Canadian Dave Richardson.
Richardson won the opening leg against ‘The Green Machine’, but from that point onwards it was one-way traffic, as the world number one reeled off eight consecutive legs to triumph 8-1, with a 95.70 average, two maximums and a 53% checkout conversion rate.
This set up a semi-final clash against UK Open finalist Gerwyn Price, who saw off the giant-killing Dawson Murschell 8-4 in the last eight. Nevertheless, Van Gerwen ran riot against the below-par Welshman; clinching an 8-0 whitewash win after averaging 101.04, posting three maximums and converting 38% of his attempts at double.
However, Daryl Gurney’s passage through was far more dramatic, as he dumped out the Scottish duo of Peter Wright and Gary Anderson to reach the final on his World Series debut. Gurney fired in six maximums to defeat American qualifier Dennis Sayre in round-one, and he scored superbly once again to defeat two of the world’s best.
‘Super-Chin’ booked his place in the last-four with a nail-biting deciding leg victory over world number three Peter Wright. Snakebite averaged 97.28 and crashed in seven maximums, but it was to no avail. Gurney held his nerve; pegging D8 to prevail with a 97.81 average, six 180’s and an impressive 50% checkout success rate.
This set up a semi-final showdown against two-time world champion Gary Anderson, who defeated Raymond van Barneveld 8-4 in a high-quality affair. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ averaged 99.67 and converted 67% of his double attempts to gain revenge for his Shanghai drubbing against Barney, who averaged 98.84 and landed four 180’s.
Anderson stormed into a commanding 4-1 cushion against the Northern Irishman, but Gurney produced a remarkable recovery to stun the Scot. He reeled off seven consecutive legs to record a magnificent 8-4 victory; averaging 101.89, posting six 180’s and dispatching 42% of his double attempts, to record one of the best wins of his career.
Photo Credit: ANP
U.S. Darts Masters
Saturday July 15 (12pm local time, 8pm BST)
Gerwyn Price 8-4 Dawson Murschell
Michael van Gerwen 8-1 Dave Richardson
Gary Anderson 8-4 Raymond van Barneveld
Daryl Gurney 8-7 Peter Wright
Michael van Gerwen 8-0 Gerwyn Price
Daryl Gurney 8-4 Gary Anderson
Michael van Gerwen 8-6 Daryl Gurney