Van den Bergh ‘riding the wave’ after maiden Pro Tour title

Dimitri Van den Bergh secured his maiden Pro Tour title with a dramatic 8-7 victory over Dirk van Duijvenbode on Tuesday, as PDC Super Series 3 drew to a close in Niedernhausen.

The World Matchplay champion has forged a reputation for thriving on the sport’s biggest stages, but having lost his previous two Pro Tour finals, the Belgian denied Van Duijvenbode back-to-back titles to scoop the £10,000 top prize in Players Championship 12.

‘The DreamMaker’ posted ton-plus averages in his opening four games, following up a 6-1 demolition of John Brown with a 6-2 success against Ian White – the winner of 13 PDC ranking titles.

The 26-year-old then fended off a spirited Alan Soutar with a 105.2 average, before firing in a spectacular 108.8 average to thrash Ryan Searle 6-1 and seal his spot in the quarter-finals.

The two-time World Youth champion edged out 2015 Lakeside world champion Scott Mitchell in a last-leg decider as ‘Scotty Dog’ succumbed in the last eight for a second consecutive day, before Van den Bergh swept aside Danny Noppert 7-2 to confirm his place in a third Pro Tour final.

Van den Bergh made a blistering start to Tuesday’s showpiece, opening up with a 12-darter and establishing a 4-1 cushion. However, Van Duijvenbode capitalised on some rare profligacy from the Premier League debutant to reel off three successive legs and level up proceedings at four apiece.

The pair traded holds before Van den Bergh converted clinical 116 and 104 combinations to move to the brink of victory at 7-5, but the Dutchman responded – following up an 88 kill on the bull with a 13-darter to force a last-leg shootout. However, it proved immaterial as the Belgian fired in a 180 and pinned D12 to prevail in 13 darts.

“I’m proud and happy to finally get that first win on the ProTour. It’s something I didn’t expect, but it happened,” Van den Bergh reflected.

“It’s all about the hard work. I played so good in the beginning of the day, so strong, but the longer the day took I felt that my game was going down. It’s one of those days that you didn’t expect to win, but you are winning. I came here and I’ve done my best, but I also performed.”

It’s the perfect preparation for Van den Bergh ahead of the Premier League’s resumption. The world No 9 currently occupies second spot but only trails Nathan Aspinall via legs difference, and he admitted that he is savouring his Premier League experience.

“I’m in a good position. I never expected myself to be in the position that I am, but I’m enjoying the moment and riding the wave. Everybody wants to be in the Premier League, I am and I’m just loving the experience,” he added.

Van Duijvenbode came agonisingly close to joining the exclusive group of players to win back-to-back Pro Tour titles, but it was another profitable day for the World Grand Prix finalist, who was forced to settle for the £6,000 runner-up prize.

‘The Aubergenius’ posted ton-plus averages en route to whitewash wins over Sunday’s semi-finalist Berry van Peer and former major winner Simon Whitlock, while he also registered wins over Danny Baggish, Peter Jacques, Mike De Decker and Robert Thornton to cap off another successful day.

Thornton does not currently hold a PDC Tour Card after narrowly missing out at Qualifying School in February, but the former UK Open and World Grand Prix winner rolled back the years in Niedernhausen to reach his first Pro Tour semi-final for almost two years.

‘The Thorn’ only featured in this week’s Super Series due to multiple Tour Card holders withdrawing from the events, but he took full advantage of the opportunity, defeated Premier League leader Nathan Aspinall and Sunday’s winner Michael Smith en route to the last four, also posting a 105 average in defeating an in-form Martin Schindler.

Former World Series Finals runner-up Noppert advanced to his second Pro Tour semi-final of 2021 with wins over Luke Humphries and Martijn Kleermaker – both finalists over the last three days – although he was left to rue a below-par display against Van den Bergh in the semi-finals.

Krzysztof Ratajski landed the fourth nine-dart finish in as many days at Super Series 3, achieving perfection in the penultimate leg of his clash against the prodigious Irish talent Keane Barry. ‘The Polish Eagle’ also edged out Mickey Mansell in an eleven-leg battle, before bowing out against Ryan Searle in his board final.

Elsewhere, Michael van Gerwen’s disappointing campaign culminated in a last 16 exit at the hands of Simon Whitlock. The three-time world champion posted averages of 101, 96 and 95 to win his board in convincing fashion, but he suffered his fourth consecutive defeat against ‘The Wizard’, as his wait for a title in 2021 goes on.

Image Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

2021 Players Championship 12 – PDC Super Series 3 Day Four
Tuesday April 27, H+ Hotel, Niedernhausen
Last 16

Daryl Gurney 6-5 Ron Meulenkamp
Danny Noppert 6-2 Martijn Kleermaker
Scott Mitchell 6-5 Krzysztof Kciuk
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-1 Ryan
Michael Smith 6-1 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Robert Thornton 6-3 Ted Evetts
Simon Whitlock 6-3 Michael van Gerwen
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-3 Mike De Decker

Quarter-Finals
Danny Noppert 6-4 Daryl Gurney
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-5 Scott Mitchell
Robert Thornton 6-3 Michael Smith
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-0 Simon Whitlock

Semi-Finals
Dimitri Van den Bergh 7-2 Danny Noppert
Dirk van Duijvenbode 7-4 Robert Thornton

Final
Dimitri Van den Bergh 8-7 Dirk van Duijvenbode

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