Michael van Gerwen silenced his critics as he returned to winning ways on Day Three of the PDC Autumn Series, thrashing Mensur Suljovic to claim his fourth title of the 2020 campaign on Monday afternoon in Niedernhausen.
The world No 1 has endured a difficult period over the last month, sensationally missing out on play-off qualification for the first time in his Premier League career, after suffering five defeats in his last nine fixtures.
The Dutchman enjoyed a positive showing on Day One of the Autumn Series before losing out to eventual champion Peter Wright, before he succumbed to Sunday’s winner Damon Heta on Day Two. Nevertheless, ‘Mighty Mike’ was back to his imperious best on the third day of action in Germany.
The 31-year-old dropped just 13 legs over the course of his seven matches, posting four ton-plus averages en route to claiming the £10,000 top prize, which moves him to the top of the Autumn Series Order of Merit.
Van Gerwen kicked off proceedings with a battling 6-4 victory over former World Championship finalist Andy Hamilton, before registering his first 100+ average of the day to defeat Reece Robinson 6-2 and progress to his board final.
Whitewash wins against his compatriot Dirk van Duijvenbode and his Day Two conqueror Damon Heta were sandwiched either side of an emphatic 6-2 victory over Glen Durrant, his first win against the Premier League table-topper in five attempts.
‘The Green Machine’ was averaging 118 at one stage against his fellow three-time world champion and he continued his rich vein of form to overcome Nick Kenny 7-4 in the semi-finals, with the Welshman enjoying the best day of his PDC career to date.
This set up a clash against former major winner Mensur Suljovic in Monday’s showpiece and Van Gerwen ran out a comprehensive 8-1 winner, averaging 98.90 and punishing an under-par display from the Austrian, although Suljovic’s solitary leg did come courtesy of a stunning 170 kill.
Van Gerwen won two events at July’s Summer Series, having lifted the UK Open back in March, and he was in bullish mood after adding to his haul in Germany. “I’m back. I’ve just told everyone, I’m still the boss. They all know I’m still the boss. Don’t worry,” quipped the world No 1.
“I know there’s more in the tank. I feel there is more. You need to make sure you come back stronger. That’s exactly what I did. Today I think I did the right things at the right moments. I didn’t make any mistakes. My finishing was good. My scoring could have been better, but I can’t really complain.”
“You have to play your A-game to win tournaments like this. I had some tough games today. I played Damon Heta again after he beat me yesterday. Apart from yesterday, the last few days I have felt a lot more comfortable than I did before,” he continued.
“There’s always pressure on my back. I didn’t perform how I can in the Premier League but that’s how darts goes sometimes. I’m human but I will come back stronger, everyone knows that and I believe in my own ability.”
The 16th Players Championship event of the season saw Lisa Ashton register her best performance as a PDC Tour Card Holder, with ‘The Lancashire Rose’ defeating Jamie Hughes, Alan Tabern and Boris Krcmar, before succumbing to former BDO colleague Kenny in the last 16.
Kenny, also a Tour Card winner in January, also defeated James Wade earlier in the day as he reached his first PDC semi-final, while Australia’s Heta backed up his Day Two triumph with another solid quarter-final showing.
Image Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
PDC Autumn Series Day Three
Monday September 14
Luke Humphries 6-0 Keegan Brown
Mensur Suljovic 6-0 Daryl Gurney
Danny Noppert 6-4 Nathan Aspinall
Ian White 6-3 Jose De Sousa
Ross Smith 6-4 Joe Cullen
Nick Kenny 6-3 Lisa Ashton
Damon Heta 6-4 Dave Chisnall
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Glen Durrant
Mensur Suljovic 6-3 Luke Humphries
Ian White 6-3 Danny Noppert
Nick Kenny 6-2 Ross Smith
Michael van Gerwen 6-0 Damon Heta
Mensur Suljovic 7-3 Ian White
Michael van Gerwen 7-4 Nick Kenny
Michael van Gerwen 8-1 Mensur Suljovic