Mensur Suljovic stuns Michael van Gerwen to win Austrian Darts Championship
"This is the best win of my career. It’s the first time I’ve ever won a game on stage in Vienna and I won the event – it’s absolutely brilliant"
By Josh Gorton
Last Updated: 02/09/19 10:35am
Mensur Suljovic delighted his home crowd by producing a stirring comeback from 6-3 down to defeat Michael van Gerwen 8-7 and claim glory in the Austrian Darts Championship on a thrilling night in Vienna.
Suljovic had never previously registered a big stage victory in his home city, but he rectified that particular statistic with a series of emphatic displays to scoop the £25,000 top prize at the Multiversum Schwechat.
Van Gerwen had won his past five encounters against Suljovic, but the Austrian fought back from 2-0 and 6-3 down in a pulsating finale to clinch his third European Tour crown - the sixth PDC title of his career.
'The Green Machine' raced into a 2-0 lead courtesy of 13 and 11-dart legs before Suljovic levelled, although the Dutchman regained the initiative with a sparkling 10-darter in leg five.
The next two legs went with throw before MVG fired in back-to-back 14-darters to stretch his lead to 6-3, although 'The Gentle' reduced the arrears to 6-4 after the world No 1 squandered four darts for a 7-3 advantage.
Suljovic then converted clinical 121 and 86 checkouts to restore parity at six apiece to the delight of the Austrian crowd, but Van Gerwen moved to the cusp of victory via double 16, after Suljovic missed double 15 for a 150 outshot.
Suljovic closed out a 15-dart hold to force a decider, although Van Gerwen had the advantage of throw and stole a march by piling in a timely maximum to leave 84 after 12 darts.
However, the world champion spurned one dart at the bull and Suljovic pounced; pegging double 14 to complete a two-dart 70 combination which sealed a momentous victory.
"This is the best win of my career," said Suljovic. "It's the first time I've ever won a game on stage in Vienna and I won the event - it's absolutely brilliant.
"Michael is the No 1, but in the four-week holiday I've practised every day and I was hungry. To win a European Tour event in my city is amazing, my biggest win."
Suljovic kicked off Sunday's action with a routine 6-2 win over James Wilson, before clinching his spot in the semi-finals with a 6-4 victory over Ian White - who has two European Tour titles to his name in 2019.
In the last four, 'The Gentle' faced Vincent van der Voort, who was appearing in his first European Tour semi-final for over three years.
'The Dutch Destroyer' followed up a comprehensive 6-1 success over Gerwyn Price with victory against Cameron Menzies, but he was denied an appearance in a second European Tour final by home hero Suljovic.
For Van Gerwen, he was left to rue missed opportunities as he suffered defeat in a second successive European Tour final.
The top seed eased past Kyle Anderson in his opener, before beating Jeffrey de Zwaan, Ricky Evans and Peter Wright on Sunday to reach the final.
Van Gerwen reeled off four consecutive legs from 3-2 down to defeat his compatriot De Zwaan, before recording a nine-minute whitewash of Evans in the quarter-finals.
In the last four, MVG defied an astonishing ten maximums from Wright to inflict Snakebite's third semi-final defeat on the European Tour in 2019, in a contest which saw all 13 legs go with throw.
However, Van Gerwen was on the wrong side of a deciding-leg defeat against Suljovic in the final and the 30-year-old was left frustrated after failing to close out the win.
"Full credit to Mensur, it's nice for him to win in front of his home crowd," said Van Gerwen. "He kept fighting but I didn't do enough with this game.
"If you're 6-3 up and have a chance to make it 7-3, I can only blame myself. I need to be critical of myself and I'm disappointed."
One of the stand-out performances of the weekend saw Menzies reach his first European Tour quarter-final, claiming the scalps of Michael Smith and Adrian Lewis en route.
Rowby-John Rodriguez appeared in his first European Tour quarter-final for almost four years after a strong showing on home soil, which featured a win over world No 3 Daryl Gurney in the last 16.
Nevertheless, the Vienna favourite was unable to progress further as Wright ended his hopes in another decider. Elsewhere, White and Evans also reached the last eight as they saw off Keegan Brown and Dave Chisnall respectively in round three.
Vincent van der Voort 6-1 Gerwyn Price
Cameron Menzies 6-2 Adrian Lewis
Mensur Suljovic 6-2 James Wilson
Ian White 6-2 Keegan Brown
Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-5 Mike De Decker
Peter Wright 6-5 Joe Cullen
Ricky Evans 6-3 Dave Chisnall
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Vincent van der Voort 6-4 Cameron Menzies
Mensur Suljovic 6-4 Ian White
Peter Wright 6-5 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Michael van Gerwen 6-0 Ricky Evans
Mensur Suljovic 7-4 Vincent van der Voort
Michael van Gerwen 7-6 Peter Wright
Mensur Suljovic 8-7 Michael van Gerwen
It's not long to wait until darts is back on Sky Sports, the World Grand Prix gets underway on Sunday, October 6 at Dublin's Citywest Arena and seven days of coverage continues until the final on Saturday, October 12.