Gary Anderson wins maiden World Matchplay title at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool
Anderson becomes only the third player in history to complete the Triple Crown of darts, which also consists of the World Championship and Premier League after Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen
By Raz Mirza at The Winter Gardens, Blackpool
Last Updated: 30/07/18 6:44am
Gary Anderson edged out Mensur Suljovic 21-19 in a marathon World Matchplay final in Blackpool to win the title for the first time and complete the Triple Crown of darts.
Anderson claimed The Phil Taylor Trophy and the £115,000 top prize on top of the £45,000 for his memorable nine-darter against Joe Cullen with a phenomenal victory over Suljovic on Sunday night.
World Matchplay Darts - Sunday July 29 (Best of 35 legs)
|Gary Anderson||21-19||Mensur Suljovic|
Both players showed early signs of nerves and it took Suljovic 20 darts to hold throw in the opening leg, but thereafter the game flowed at a good pace.
There were four straight holds of throw and then 'The Flying Scotsman' struck with six perfect darts to start the fifth leg but was forced to clean up 76 to take a 3-2 lead into the first break.
Suljovic who has been workmanlike in reaching the final, made an immediate break back and then landed a neat 71 checkout in two darts. But in a nip and tuck battle, Anderson found tops before taking out 84. However, an 81 finish helped Suljovic level at 5-5.
Things were bubbling up nicely at the Winter Gardens and in a see-saw struggle on doubles, Anderson scrambled to 7-7 with D2.
Suljovic took the lead for the sixth time in the match with the first three-figure outshot of the evening as he nailed 118 before opening up a two-leg lead at 9-7 for the first time with tops. Suljovic then pinned seven perfect darts but threw the leg away as Anderson found D4 to start the fightback.
The 47-year-old eventually reeled off four legs on the spin to lead by two at the break at 11-9.
Anderson went on to win seven out of eight legs in a mid-match move to lead 14-10 as he closed in on his maiden title in Blackpool.
Suljovic, the 2017 Champions League of Darts winner, hit tops to stop the rot and stay in touch. He then struck with a fabulous 71 finish on the bull followed by tops to close in on the two-time world champion at 15-13.
A world-class 105 on double top by Anderson helped him take the next and he closed to within one leg of the title with a magnificent two-dart 77 checkout, but Suljovic responded with an 81 on the bull, D18 and D4 to pile the pressure on at 17-16.
He then showed amazing composure completed the comeback in the 34th leg with a quite unbelievable 121 on the bullseye to send the final into overtime for the first time since 1998.
He won his fifth consecutive leg with his favourite D14 before Anderson found tops to make it 18-18 as the darting drama continued.
Anderson replied with a crucial 12-dart break of throw for the match but suffered an unbelievable bounce out on the bullseye with a dart for the title and Suljovic made him pay to make it 19-19.
The Scot capitalised in the next leg by cleaning up 25 to throw for the title again and this time he stayed calm and composed to sink D10 and complete a 21-19 victory in the longest-ever final at the Winter Gardens.
Anderson said of the bullseye incident: "When you hit a shot like that and it falls out - twice earlier on in the game I had the bullseye and they fell out - I got away with it.
"I rode my luck today," he told Sky Sports.
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