Michael van Gerwen secured his second European Tour title in just eight days, after defeating Peter Wright 8-5 in a repeat of last weekend’s final, to clinch the German Darts Grand Prix crown on a dramatic day of action in Munich on Monday evening.
‘The Green Machine’ had recovered from 5-1 behind to edge out Wright in Leverkusen last weekend, although the world number one led from the front to defeat ‘Snakebite’ this time around; to secure the 22nd European Tour title of his career.
Wright produced three consecutive ton-topping averages en route to the final, but was unable to replicate that level of performance against Van Gerwen. MvG was plagued by missed doubles early on in the piece, but averaged 99.03, crashed in three maximums and converted 28% of his attempts at double to secure his eighth title of 2018 thus far.
Van Gerwen made a fine start; firing in his first maximum and pegging D16 for a 14-dart break of throw, before eventually nailing D10 at the seventh attempt to double his tally. Wright opened his account on D4 after MvG missed two at double for a 3-0 advantage, but the Dutchman overcame further double-trouble to regain his two-leg lead on D12.
‘Snakebite’ landed his first maximum and completed a tidy 13-dart hold on D6, before leaving tops after 12 in the following leg as he aimed to restore parity at three apiece. However, he was denied by ‘Mighty Mike’, who converted a clinical 76 kill on D18 to round-off a vital 15-dart hold.
Van Gerwen squandered one dart for a 5-2 lead moments later, as Wright gratefully sank tops to reduce the arrears, but the world number one maintained his control courtesy of a classy 116 checkout. Nevertheless, Wright produced some fine finishing of his own to level up proceedings; taking out brilliant 106 and 161 finishes in consecutive legs.
Suddenly the scores were locked at five apiece and Wright had the advantage of throw, but the Scot couldn’t make it count. He relinquished the initiative immediately after producing a poor scoring leg, which enabled Van Gerwen to fire in a 14-dart break on tops.
The Dutchman pinned D4 for a second straight 14-dart leg to move 7-5 ahead; heaping the pressure on Wright. ‘Snakebite’ then piled in his second maximum in a bid to stay alive, but he squandered five darts at a double and was suitably punished, as Van Gerwen dispatched a 79 combination inside two darts to clinch the title.
In his post-match interview, the two-time world champion reflected: “Peter is a phenomenal player and he works so hard, it’s always a great game between us and I’m really glad to win this one. I’m really proud of myself, I didn’t play brilliant but I did enough to win and to annoy Peter again,” he quipped.
Van Gerwen was well-below par in his opening round victory on Sunday evening, but he was back to his best on Sunday; kicking off proceedings with an emphatic 6-1 win over Alan Norris. ‘The Green Machine’ averaged 105.38, landed two maximums and converted 38% of his attempts at double to set up a last eight tie against Keegan Brown.
The former World Youth champion booked his spot in the quarter-finals after coming from 5-3 behind to defeat Darren Webster, but Brown was blown away by a rampant Van Gerwen. The world number one averaged 102.48, fired in three maximums and boasted an impressive 46% checkout conversion rate to seal a whitewash win.
In the last four, ‘Mighty Mike’ faced his fellow Premier League star Daryl Gurney, who defeated world champion Rob Cross for the second time in just five days to secure a place in his first European Tour semi-final since May 2017. However, the Northern Irishman endured a woeful start against MvG.
Van Gerwen stormed into a 4-0 lead with Gurney’s average languishing at just 70, although ‘Super Chin’ then fired in three maximums in just two legs to reduce the arrears to 4-2. However, the Dutchman was always in control and conjured up an effortless 149 finish to seal his progression with a 99.76 average and five 180’s.
In the bottom half of the draw, Wright continued his recent revival to reach his second European Tour Final in just eight days. The Scot’s preparation against Josh Payne was disrupted due to his luggage being lost, which meant he had to use different darts.
Despite this, there were no such issues for ‘Snakebite’ on Sunday afternoon, as he breezed through to the quarter-finals with a whitewash win over Alan Tabern. Wright averaged 102.48, piled in four maximums and dispatched 67% of his attempts at double to set up a showdown against Joe Cullen, who also claimed a 6-0 win over Steve West.
Nevertheless, Wright produced the performance of the tournament to dispatch ‘The Rockstar’ in the last eight. The world number two averaged 108.84, registered four maximums and boasted a clinical 75% checkout conversion rate, to close out a comprehensive 6-1 triumph.
As a result, ‘Snakebite’ took on James Wade in the semi-finals for the second week in succession, after the eight-time major winner dropped just three legs in defeating Michael Smith and Max Hopp respectively earlier on in the day.
However, Wade’s hopes of sealing a place in his first European Tour final since May 2015 were quashed, as Wright posted his third successive ton-plus average of the day to triumph. ‘The Machine’ took out a magnificent 170 kill midway through the contest, but Wright’s consistency won the day, as he averaged 100.10 to complete a 7-3 victory.
Yet once again, the bragging rights went to Michael van Gerwen. The Dutchman has already accrued £50,000 on the European Tour Order of Merit, as he aims to usurp his tally of six European Tour titles from 2017. Van Gerwen and Wright won 11 of the 12 events last year, and we could be witnessing a familiar pattern this time around.
Photo Credit: Kelly Deckers/PDC Europe
Monday April 2
Afternoon Session (1pm local time, 12pm BST)
James Wade 6-1 Michael Smith
Max Hopp 6-2 Mensur Suljovic
Joe Cullen 6-0 Steve West
Peter Wright 6-0 Alan Tabern
Rob Cross 6-5 Luke Humphries
Daryl Gurney 6-4 Ian White
Keegan Brown 6-5 Darren Webster
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Alan Norris
Evening Session (7.15pm local time, 6.15pm BST)
James Wade 6-3 Max Hopp
Peter Wright 6-1 Joe Cullen
Daryl Gurney 6-3 Rob Cross
Michael van Gerwen 6-0 Keegan Brown
Peter Wright 7-3 James Wade
Michael van Gerwen 7-3 Daryl Gurney
Michael van Gerwen 8-5 Peter Wright