Michael van Gerwen secured his fifth European Tour title of the season as he dismantled Adrian Lewis 8-3 to win the Gibraltar Darts Trophy on an action-packed day at the Victoria Stadium on Sunday evening.
‘The Green Machine’ was in mesmeric form throughout and clinched the 25th European Tour title of his career with an emphatic win over Lewis, who continued his impressive form to secure a spot in his third PDC ranking final inside two months.
Nevertheless, he was helpless to stop an irrepressible van Gerwen, who averaged 108.13, crashed in four maximums and boasted a checkout conversion rate of 66%. ‘Jackpot’ performed brilliantly over the weekend to defeat three top ten players which moves him up to 17th in the world, but Van Gerwen once again claimed the £25,000 winner’s prize.
The Dutchman made a blistering start to the final; drawing first blood with a 13-dart hold, before producing a stunning 132 finish for a 12-dart break. ‘Mighty Mike’ then wired tops for a 145 checkout moments later but still returned to pin D10, until Lewis opened his account in style; following up a fine 177 with a sublime 10-dart leg.
However, the world number one regained his three-leg buffer with a 13-dart hold on tops, before pouncing upon four missed darts at double from Lewis to extend his cushion to 5-1 with a 14-dart break of throw courtesy of D2.
Van Gerwen’s rampage continued as he took out 76 to complete a 12-dart hold, but Lewis fired in his first maximum and pegged D10 to double his tally. MvG responded by rounding-off a comfortable hold via D6 to move to within a leg of victory, before ‘Jackpot’ prolonged the contest with a classy two-dart 86 combination.
Nevertheless, this didn’t spark a heroic fightback as Van Gerwen sealed the deal in style. He opened up the eleventh leg by registering his fourth maximum, before effortlessly converting a two-dart 84 finish to prevail with a sensational 11-dart leg.
This victory extends Van Gerwen’s remarkable tally of titles in 2018 to fourteen, as he bids to break his record of 25 which he set back in 2016. He reflected: “I know what Adrian is capable of, he’s a phenomenal player and one of the best in the world. You always need to make sure you’re focused against him. I’m really happy with my performance.
Van Gerwen kicked off his Gibraltar Darts Open campaign on Saturday evening with a narrow 6-4 win over his close friend Vincent van der Voort, before he secured his place in the quarter-finals with an impressive 6-2 win over Andy Boulton.
Boulton defeated former Lakeside world champion Stephen Bunting to reach the last 16 but he was brushed aside by the clinical ‘Green Machine’. Van Gerwen averaged 103.26 and conjured up four ton-plus checkouts; producing finishes of 160, 114, 120 and 105 to complete a comprehensive 6-2 win.
The world number one then eased past Austrian Darts Open winner Jonny Clayton in the last eight. Clayton had defeated MvG in the pair’s last meeting, but Van Gerwen ran out a convincing winner; reeling off four successive legs from two apiece to prevail with a 97.39 average, three maximums and a 46% checkout conversion rate.
This set up a semi-final showdown against Steve West, who sealed his spot in the last four after edging out world champion Rob Cross in a deciding leg. West led Van Gerwen 3-1 early on, but the Dutchman upped the ante considerably; winning six of the next seven legs to triumph with an impressive 105.20 average and five maximums.
Yet it was also a very positive weekend for Adrian Lewis. After opening up his campaign with a whitewash win over host-nation qualifier Clayton Otton, Lewis produced a fine display to dump out world number six Mensur Suljovic, averaging 95.63, firing in four maximums and converting 50% of his attempts at double to prevail 6-3.
The two-time world champion then faced eight-time major winner James Wade for a place in the quarter-finals and the pair contested a thrilling tussle. Both men averaged over 105 and although Wade fought back from 5-3 behind to force a decider, Lewis took out a nerveless 86 kill to triumph with a 14-dart break of throw in the decider.
Lewis claimed yet another big-name scalp to seal a spot in the semi-finals, after recording a 6-3 win over second seed Peter Wright. Neither player were at their best, but Lewis’ finishing paid dividends, as he averaged 95.11, landed two 180’s and boasted an impressive 55% checkout success rate.
In the last four, the Stoke-on-Trent star faced a resurgent Paul Nicholson, who was appearing in his first European Tour semi-final for over five years. ‘The Asset’ had defeated the likes of Dave Chisnall, Joe Cullen and Gerwyn Price en route to the semi-finals, and he contested a gripping battle with Lewis.
‘Jackpot’ opened up an early 2-0 lead, but Nicholson recovered to level at four apiece. Lewis then regained the initiative to move 7-5 ahead, but Nicholson survived two match darts and conjured up 121 and 128 finishes on the bull in consecutive legs to force a decider, only for Lewis to close out victory with a 14-dart break and a 98.29 average.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
2018 Gibraltar Darts Trophy
Sunday June 10
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Andy Boulton
Jonny Clayton 6-2 Max Hopp
Steve West 6-1 Daryl Gurney
Rob Cross 6-2 Simon Whitlock
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Jermaine Wattimena
Paul Nicholson 6-5 Joe Cullen
Adrian Lewis 6-5 James Wade
Peter Wright 6-1 Chris Dobey
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Jonny Clayton
Steve West 6-5 Rob Cross
Paul Nicholson 6-5 Gerwyn Price
Adrian Lewis 6-3 Peter Wright
Michael van Gerwen 7-4 Steve West
Adrian Lewis 7-6 Paul Nicholson
Michael van Gerwen 8-3 Adrian Lewis