Michael van Gerwen secured his fifth European Tour title of the year with a stunning victory over Rob Cross in a thrilling final at the German Darts Grand Prix in Mannheim on Sunday evening.
The world number one followed up his success at last weekend’s Dutch Darts Masters with another dominant display on German soil; dropping just six legs over the course of the entire tournament.
Cross performed superbly to reach his first European Tour final, but he was helpless to overcome an imperious Van Gerwen, who averaged exactly 111, posted four maximums and converted 60% of his attempts at double as he won four consecutive legs from 3-2 behind to clinch the title.
Cross drew first blood with a 15-darter on D8, after Van Gerwen had missed a dart at bull to break. However, the Dutchman responded with a 127 finish to complete a 12-dart riposte. He then missed D14 for a 145 finish and another 12-darter, which was ruthlessly punished by Cross, who piled in a 111 kill to regain the lead.
Despite this, ‘The Green Machine’ was scoring supremely and followed up his second maximum with a clinical 13-dart hold via tops to level, as his average exceeded the 120+ mark.
The next two legs were rather scrappy in context of the match. ‘Voltage’ spurned five darts at double having left 91 after just 9 darts, before he eventually pinned D5 at the sixth attempt to edge ahead once more.
Nevertheless, he wired the bull for a 127 outshot in the following leg, as Van Gerwen pegged D16 for a sixth straight hold of throw, and this ultimately proved to be an expensive miss for the Englishman.
The world champion had possessed an unwavering air of invincibility throughout the tournament and he produced the goods at the crucial moments once more to complete victory in Mannheim.
Van Gerwen registered his third maximum and dispatched a 76 finish for a sublime 11-dart break of throw, before consolidating that break with an effortless 101 checkout for a 12-darter, having kicked off the leg with his fourth maximum.
Cross produced a classy visit of 171 as he fought to stay alive, but the pressure ultimately became too much, as he missed three clear darts at double which would have reduced the arrears to 5-4. MvG needed no second invitation, and he conjured up a nerveless 110 finish to seal a brilliant victory and secure the £25,000 winner’s prize.
It was a masterclass from Van Gerwen from start to finish, as he dropped just six legs across his the entire tournament. He posted four ton-plus averages and recorded two whitewash victories, including a nine-minute demolition of Richard North in his opening match, where he averaged 111.33.
He then eased past an off-colour Gerwyn Price in round-two, averaging 98.68, piling in four maximums and converting 38% of his attempts at double. The Welshman had his opportunities but boasted a miserly 17% checkout success ratio as MvG recorded a comprehensive 6-2 victory.
This set up an all-Dutch quarter-final clash with his arch nemesis Jelle Klaasen, who had earlier recorded an emphatic 6-1 triumph over an in-form Kyle Anderson. However, Klaasen was on the receiving end of that scoreline in the last eight, as Van Gerwen averaged 102.56 and fired in four 180’s to breeze through to the semi-finals.
‘Mighty Mike’ faced Simon Whitlock in the last four, after ‘The Wizard’ had seen off Nathan Aspinall and Michael Smith in scrappy affairs earlier in the day. However, Whitlock endured an absolute nightmare in the finishing department, missing all 11 of his darts at double.
Van Gerwen couldn’t believe his luck and gratefully capitalised on Whitlock’s profligacy to secure a whitewash win; averaging 100.20, registering three maximums and dispatching 55% of his doubles in the process, but he ultimately saved his best until last.
Nevertheless, whilst Cross was left frustrated after saving his worst display of the weekend for the final, his phenomenal rise throughout the PDC ranks continued as he achieved another milestone by appearing in his maiden European Tour final.
He kicked off Sunday’s proceedings in spectacular fashion by thrashing world number seven Mensur Suljovic 6-2; averaging 109.10, posting four 180’s and converting 50% of his double attempts.
The former Challenge Tour star then faced Ian White in the quarter-finals, after ‘The Diamond’ had edged out Daryl Gurney in an enthralling last-leg shootout. The Stoke-on-Trent star fired in six 180’s against ‘Voltage’ but it was to no avail, as Cross prevailed 6-2 with a 105.89 average and a 46% checkout success ratio.
This secured Cross a place in his first ever European Tour semi-final, but he wasn’t satisfied there, as he recorded a convincing 6-3 win over Benito van de Pas in the last four, after ‘Big Ben’ had survived match darts against his compatriot Vincent van der Voort in the preceding round.
However, Van de Pas was second best throughout against the Englishman. Cross averaged 102.87, fired in four maximums and boasted a stunning checkout success rate of 67% to round-off a complete display, but his hopes of winning a maiden European Tour title were quashed by the irrepressible world champion.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Sunday September 10
Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm local time, 12pm-4pm BST)
Rob Cross 6-2 Mensur Suljovic
Ian White 6-5 Daryl Gurney
Benito van de Pas 6-2 Darren Webster
Vincent van der Voort 6-0 Ronny Huybrechts
Simon Whitlock 6-3 Nathan Aspinall
Michael Smith 6-1 Joe Cullen
Jelle Klaasen 6-1 Kyle Anderson
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Gerwyn Price
Evening Session (7pm-11pm local time, 6pm-10pm BST)
Rob Cross 6-2 Ian White
Benito van de Pas 6-5 Vincent van der Voort
Simon Whitlock 6-1 Michael Smith
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Jelle Klaasen
Rob Cross 6-3 Benito van de Pas
Michael van Gerwen 6-0 Simon Whitlock
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Rob Cross