Michael van Gerwen beats Mensur Suljovic to win European Darts Trophy
Last Updated: 12/09/16 8:06am
Michael van Gerwen clinched a 13th European Tour title with a 6-5 victory over in-form Mensur Suljovic in a thrilling final at the HappyBet European Darts Trophy in Muelheim.
Suljovic, playing in his second consecutive final after winning the International Darts Open in Riesa, Germany, last weekend (September 4), looked to have the beating of van Gerwen until the world number one produced some breath-taking darts to snatch it in a last leg decider.
Having shared the opening two legs, an early break in the third looked to have put MVG in the driving seat but he was pegged back immediately by Suljovic who then won the next two legs - including a match-high 84 checkout for another break of throw and a 4-2 lead.
Van Gerwen dug deep with back-to-back 13-darters to level things up at 4-4, but with a break still required to clinch the title, the Austrian held his nerve to hold and move to the brink of victory at 5-4
However, it was here that the Dutchman produced his best darts, firing 23 magnificent throws to claim the 10th and 11th legs and snatch the victory with a 106.77 average.
Van Gerwen levelled the match with a superb 12-dart leg and went one better to break Suljovic in 11 darts, kicking off the leg with a maximum that piled the pressure on Suljovic who never recovered.
On his way to the final, Van Gerwen produced a similar feat in the semis as he overcame Belgium's Kim Huybrechts by the same 6-5 scoreline.
The former world champion was leading 5-4 with the throw, only to see Huybrechts produce a stunning 103 checkout under pressure to level and swing the game back in his favour.
But Van Gerwen again found a last-leg break in the decider to squeeze through to set up the clash with Suljovic.
The game of the day arguably came in Van Gerwen's 6-2 quarter-final clash with Jelle Klaasen, as he averaged a tournament record 115.13 average in a 6-2 victory.
Klaasen was no slouch and could count himself unlucky as he averaged 107 - his third ton-plus average in succession - in a frantic affair that saw eight legs wrapped up in just 10 minutes and 17 seconds.
Van Gerwen also beat Keegan Brown the second round and Simon Whitlock in the third on his way to the title, while for Suljovic it was another superb week on the Oche as he made his second consecutive PDC final following last week's title at the European Darts Open.
Having whitewashed Vincent Kamphuis in his opening game, he then registered a comfortable 6-3 win over Ian White to reach the quarter-finals. There he faced Peter Wright, a man he had failed to beat in all of their previous four meetings, but handled the task with aplomb as he raced to a 6-1 victory.
Standing in his way of a place in the last two was James Wade, but again Suljovic was measured in his approach and his consistent doubling (60%), coupled with a 100 average saw him make it back-to-back finals with a 6-3 victory - before falling to Van Gerwen's brilliance.
The European Tour continues with the penultimate event on September 16-18 with the HappyBet European Darts Grand Prix in Sindelfingen, Germany, where Huybrechts will be vying to retain his title.