Raymond van Barneveld rolled back the years to end Michael van Gerwen’s three-year reign at the World Series of Darts Finals, on a dramatic afternoon of quarter-final action in Vienna.
The five-time world champion fought back from 6-3 behind to topple the world number one; averaging 99.67, crashing in EIGHT maximums and converting an incredible 77% of his attempts at double to prevail in a classic, with Van Gerwen bowing out despite posting a 103.59 average.
‘The Green Machine’ drew first blood with a 16-dart hold, but Barney levelled in 13 darts, before capitalising on five missed darts from MvG to hit the front on tops. Van Barneveld then fired in back-to-back maximums en route to an 11-dart hold for a 3-1 advantage, but Van Gerwen responded magnificently.
The two-time world champion reeled off five consecutive legs in 12, 15, 12, 14 and 15 darts to extend his lead to 6-3, but Van Barneveld stopped the rot with a crucial two-dart 96 combination just before the second interval.
This sparked an astonishing fightback from the Den Haag ace, who converted an effortless 88 kill for a 12-dart break upon resumption, before restoring parity at six apiece with a 13-dart hold on D18.
Van Barneveld almost secured a fourth straight leg moments later; wiring the bull for a 121 outshot, which enabled MvG to edge back ahead with a 13-dart hold on D12. Nevertheless, Barney’s clinical finishing continued, as he sank a vital 104 checkout on D16 to level once more.
The legendary Dutchman then followed up his seventh maximum with a nerveless 70 combination for an 8-7 lead, before moving to the cusp of a famous victory with a 14-dart hold culminating on D8.
Van Gerwen conjured up a majestic 121 finish for a 12-dart skin saver, although he was unable to force a decider. The world number one appeared in control of the leg, but he spurned four darts at D18 and D9 and Van Barneveld duly capitalised; pinning tops at the first attempt to deny MvG a fourth straight World Series Finals crown.
The five-time world champion will now take on James Wade in the semi-finals, with ‘The Machine’ bidding to secure his second major title in as many weeks. The eight-time major winner dumped out home favourite Mensur Suljovic in round-two and sealed his place in the last four with a comfortable 10-5 victory over Jamie Lewis.
Wade made a blistering start; opening up a 2-0 lead with legs of 11 and 13 darts. The Welshman reduced the arrears to 3-2 with finishes of 68 and 88, but a clinical 108 outshot from Wade restored his two-leg cushion.
The contest ebbed and flowed, with Lewis reducing the arrears to 6-5 at one stage, but Wade held his nerve and reeled off the final four legs in succession to triumph with a 94.40 average, seven maximums and a 38% checkout success rate.
Elsewhere, Michael Smith fended off a late fightback from Dave Chisnall to prevail in an entertaining St Helen’s derby. Smith relinquished a 7-1 advantage against Chisnall at this year’s World Matchplay, and after Chisnall recovered from 9-2 down to win three consecutive legs, ‘Bully Boy’ may have feared that history was repeating itself.
However, the Premier League finalist was always in control and rounded-off an impressive 10-5 victory with a 100.09 average, five maximums and a 56% checkout success rate; having also produced finishes of 141 and 124 earlier in the contest.
Smith will now take on fellow Premier League star Gerwyn Price for a place in the final, after ‘The Iceman’ defeated European Championship finalist Simon Whitlock in a gruelling tussle.
The Welshman led 5-3 at one stage, but Whitlock took out a stunning 150 finish en route to restoring parity at the break. ‘The Wizard’ then crashed in six maximums inside seven legs, but it wasn’t enough, as Price clinched the win with a sublime 12-darter, to prevail with a 96.75 average, five maximums and a solid 36% success rate on the doubles.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
2018 bwin World Series of Darts Finals
Schedule of Play
Sunday November 4
Afternoon Session (1345 Local Time 1245 UK Time)
Gerwyn Price 10-7 Simon Whitlock
Michael Smith 10-5 Dave Chisnall
James Wade 10-5 Jamie Lewis
Raymond van Barneveld 10-8 Michael van Gerwen
Evening Session (2000 Local Time 1900 UK Time)
Gerwyn Price v Michael Smith
James Wade v Raymond van Barneveld
Price/Smith v Wade/Van Barneveld