PDC Autumn Series: Van Gerwen returns to winning ways denying resurgent Suljovic on Day Three
Michael van Gerwen returned to winning ways on Day Three of the PDC Autumn Series in Niedernhausen, thrashing Mensur Suljovic 8-1 to claim Players Championship 16 glory.
Van Gerwen bulldozed his way through the 128-player field on Monday afternoon at the H+ Hotel in western Germany, days after being pipped in the semi-finals by world number two Peter Wright.
The world number one joined reigning world champion Wright and Australian Damon Heta in sealing success during the inaugural Autumn Series, recording averages in excess of the 100 mark in four of his seven matches.
Van Gerwen opened his account with four maximums in overcoming former world finalist Andy Hamilton, before dropping just four legs from there on his way to the semi-finals.
The Dutchman converted four ton-plus checkouts in comfortably beating Reece Robinson and compatriot Dirk van Duijvenbode to loss of two legs.
He proceeded to land his maiden competitive victory over fellow three-time world champion Glen Durrant, averaging 105.4 in a scintillating showing to book his place in the last eight.
Sunday’s champion Damon Heta was then whitewashed by Van Gerwen as the world number one gained revenge on the Brisbane Darts Masters champion, before brushing aside Welshman Nick Kenny to reach the final.
Meanwhile, a resurgent Suljovic defeated Jan Dekker and came through two last leg deciders against both Marko Kantele and Jeffrey de Zwaan en route to the quarter-finals.
The former World Matchplay finalist then claimed impressive victories over three esteemed players in Daryl Gurney, Ian White and reigning world youth champion Luke Humphries to reach his first ranking final in almost a year.
Van Gerwen’s dominance was evident in an extremely one-sided final, with the three-time world champion breezing to an emphatic victory and leaving very few chances to his Austrian counterpart along the way.
Suljovic’s only winning leg in the match arrived courtesy of a mesmerising 170 checkout, but the world number 14 fatigued towards the later stages of the tournament and eventually found himself blown away.
“I’m back. I’ve just told everyone, I’m still the boss. They all know I’m still the boss,” said Van Gerwen after winning his fourth title of the season.
“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.
“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. I’m a happy man.”
The Dutchman added: “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.
“Of course it was nice to beat Glen Durrant for first time. He’s a phenomenal player but I should’ve beaten him last time.
“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.”
Elsewhere, Welshman Kenny ended his streak of eight consecutive first round loses as he reached his maiden ranking semi-final, while Danny Noppert and Ross Smith both made the quarter-finals.
Saturday’s winner Wright departed in the third round at the hands of Keegan Brown, as second seed Gerwyn Price also exited at the same stage thanks to eventual quarter-finalist Smith.
Four-time women’s world champion Lisa Ashton, who defeated Michael Smith on Saturday, reached the fourth round for the first time since becoming the first female thrower to win a professional tour card.
The Autumn Series resumes on Tuesday afternoon as Players Championship 17 takes place in Niedernhausen, Germany.
PDC AUTUMN SERIES
Players Championship 16
Monday September 14
H+ Hotel, Niedernhausen, Germany
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
(Featured Image: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)