Vintage Van Gerwen retains European Darts Open title

Michael van Gerwen produced a series of imperious displays to clinch a third PDC European Tour title of 2022, sealed with a superb 8-5 win over Dimitri Van den Bergh in Sunday’s European Darts Open final in Leverkusen.

‘The Green Machine’ has triumphed in Hildesheim and Graz this year, and he followed up last weekend’s Austrian Darts Open success with a record-breaking 35th European Tour title.

Van Gerwen posted a staggering 113.79 average to defeat Daryl Gurney in his opener on Saturday night, and he continued his blistering form to edge out Premier League rival Jonny Clayton in the last 16, avenging his defeat to Clayton in Thursday’s Glasgow final.

The Dutchman defied three ton-plus finishes from ‘The Ferret’ to close out a 6-4 victory, before surviving SEVEN match darts in a dramatic quarter-final clash against his compatriot Dirk Van Duijvenbode.

Van Gerwen then gained revenge over Luke Humphries in the semi-finals, having suffered a whitewash defeat against the former World Youth Champion in the recent German Darts Grand Prix, averaging over 105 in a 7-2 win over ‘Cool Hand’.

This set up a showdown against former World Matchplay champion Dimitri Van den Bergh for the £25,000 top prize, but the Belgian was unable to land a maiden European Tour crown, succumbing 8-5 in a high-quality affair.

Van den Bergh drew first blood with a 13-dart break, but Van Gerwen was undeterred, responding in kind before firing in an 11-darter to establish a 3-1 cushion.

Van den Bergh responded to restore parity at three apiece before Van Gerwen regained the initiative with a majestic 164 checkout, but ‘The Dream Maker’ hit back, converting a clinical 80 kill in leg eight.

MvG wrestled back the advantage with a trademark burst – six perfect darts in leg nine saw him close out a 12-darter, which was followed by a break of throw to lead 6-4.

Van den Bergh profited from ‘Mighty Mike’ spurning three darts at double in leg 11 to reduce the arrears, but the Belgian then paid for missing two darts to level the contest as Van Gerwen pinned double ten to restore his two-leg lead, before sealing the deal via double eight.

“It was really hard and I’m glad I won,” said Van Gerwen, who averaged 102.49 in Sunday’s showpiece.

“Dimitri is a phenomenal player, he always pushes me and he’s a good player and a good guy. Sometimes he’s a bit naive but I like him, and I think he’s good for darts.

“The crowd today were phenomenal and I can’t wish for anything more. It’s always amazing in Leverkusen.”

Van den Bergh had earlier curtailed home hopes with a third-round victory over Martin Schindler, and he booked his spot in the semi-finals with an emphatic 6-1 win over emerging Northern Irishman Josh Rock, converting six of his seven attempts at double.

The Belgian was then given a bye into his first European Tour final after James Wade withdrew ahead of their semi-final through illness, having beaten Ryan Searle and Jose De Sousa en route to the last four.

Elsewhere, Humphries followed up his third-round win over Brendan Dolan with a sublime 108 average over Nathan Aspinall in the quarter-finals, after ‘The Asp’ had dumped out world No 2 Gerwyn Price in the afternoon session.

Rock continued his ascent up the darting pyramid with his first European Tour quarter-final – sealed with a win over Scott Williams, while Van Duijvenbode overcame Masters champion Joe Cullen to reach the last eight.

Image Credit: Kais Bodensieck

Interwetten European Darts Open
Sunday May 8
Afternoon Session

Third Round
Nathan Aspinall 6-5 Gerwyn Price
Luke Humphries 6-4 Brendan Dolan
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-3 Joe Cullen
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Jonny Clayton
Josh Rock 6-2 Scott Williams
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-4 Martin Schindler
James Wade 6-4 Jose de Sousa
Ryan Searle 6-5 Dave Chisnall

Evening Session 
Quarter-Finals
Luke Humphries 6-3 Nathan Aspinall
Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-1 Josh Rock
James Wade 6-5 Ryan Searle

Semi-Finals
Michael van Gerwen 7-2 Luke Humphries
Dimitri Van den Bergh Bye (James Wade withdrew through illness)

Final
Michael van Gerwen 8-5 Dimitri Van den Bergh

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