Van Gerwen returns to winning ways in Melbourne
Michael van Gerwen won his first title since the Premier League at the 2019 Melbourne Darts Masters, seeing off Daryl Gurney 8-3 in the final to claim a 12th World Series triumph.
The roadshow down under headed to the Melbourne Arena following a shock win for Damon Heta in Brisbane. That followed on from the theme of unlikely success stories in the 2019 World Series, with Gabriel Clemens reaching the final in Cologne and Nathan Aspinall winning the title in Las Vegas. However, it was world number one Van Gerwen who recovered from a dry spell to make it four different winners from four events so far this year with Hamilton to come next week.
The tournament got underway on Friday, Raymond van Barneveld the standout performer courtesy of a 6-1 win over Haupai Puha with an average of over 106. Heta carried on where he left off, seeing off James Wade once again, this time 6-1 with a superb display, while Michael van Gerwen, Rob Cross and Gary Anderson all progressed pretty comfortably. That set up some mouth-watering quarter-finals for Saturday with the title anyone’s.
Van Barneveld started well against German Darts Master Peter Wright, leading and 4-3 and 5-4, before he started to miss doubles and the Scotsman punished him, coming through 8-6. He would meet Michael van Gerwen in the last four after the World Champion went toe-to-toe with Gary Anderson in a game that started incredibly, Van Gerwen averaging around 115 after five legs.
‘Mighty Mike’ managed to hold off Anderson in an 8-6 success despite clutches off missed doubles, which brought his average down to the 100 mark. The home hero, Heta, finally put in an average performance after defying the odds for so long, and Rob Cross took full advantage, winning three legs in just 34 darts at one point on his way to a 6-0 lead. ‘The Heat’ managed three legs but Cross still finished with an average of 102 to move through to yet another semi-final.
The final quarter-final saw the last remaining Australian player, Simon Whitlock, also fail to delight the crowd as Daryl Gurney finished 8 of his 11 double attempts to set up a meeting with ‘Voltage’. As is the case for all World Series events this year, the semi-finals followed straight on from the final, and Michael van Gerwen carried on where he left off against Peter Wright, finding two 12-darters in the first session to go into a 6-0 lead at the break.
Wright seemed to have regressed back to the very poor level of his first round game with Corey Cadby and failed to trouble the Dutchman at all. He only had a handful of darts at double in the whole match, but failed to take any of them, allowing Van Gerwen to seal an 8-0 win and book his place in the final. It was to beat a repeat of last year’s Players Championship Finals showpiece as Daryl Gurney won the last four legs against Rob Cross to take that one 8-5.
The final got off to a similar start as the aforementioned one in Minehead did, with three consecutive holds of throw, Gurney the most convincing with an 11-darter. He then found a 12-darter soon after and followed it up to level at 3-3 going into the interval. However, he only gave himself half chances after the break and allowed Van Gerwen to open up a lead.
The world number one won four consecutive legs in five visits or less, before taking the eleventh leg in 16 darts to seal an 8-3 success and finally return to the winners’ circle after an incredibly barren spell for his standards. The World Series continues in Hamilton next weekend, before the stars of the PDC return to Europe for a very busy autumn period, starting with four European Tour events in September.