MICHAEL VAN GERWEN won his fourth successive Dutch Darts Masters title with a brilliant 6-1 defeat of Steve Beaton in Sunday’s final in Maastricht.
The World Champion marked his return to action follow a month’s break by claiming his fourth European Tour title of 2017 and a £25,000 top prize in front of over 5,000 delighted Dutch fans at the MECC.
Having begun his challenge with a second round win over Jeffrey de Zwaan on Saturday evening, Van Gerwen averaged 107.60 in a dominant 6-1 defeat of Kyle Anderson in Sunday afternoon’s third round.
He then edged out Daryl Gurney 6-5 in the quarter-finals, with the game’s opening ten legs all going with throw before the Dutchman produced the decisive break in the 11th leg by finishing 76 for a 12-darter with the Northern Irish ace waiting on 40.
Van Gerwen came from two legs down to win 6-2 against Michael Smith in the semi-finals, with the former World Youth Champion opening with legs of 11 and 14 darts but paying for missed doubles in leg three as the home favourite swept to victory.
He then finished 80 and a 13-darter to lead 2-0 in the final against Beaton, who replied by taking out 52 for a 14-darter in leg three only to see the Dutchman pull clear.
A 70 finish restored Van Gerwen’s cushion, a 12-darter broke and double one moved him 5-1 up before he landed a third 180 of the final and took out 77 to seal the title.
“I think this has been a fantastic tournament,” said Van Gerwen. “I played okay – I didn’t play my absolute best but I feel good.
“I had a fantastic holiday and the month off with my wife and child. It’s been a fantastic time and to kick off after my holiday straight away with a win is a dream.”
He added: “You know when you play Steve you have to do the right things at the right moments, make sure you are on him straight away and keep him under pressure and that’s exactly what I did – but he’s been on the tour for so long and is fantastic.”
Beaton had won through the UK Qualifier just to secure a spot in Maastricht but showed some superb form as he searched for his second ranking title of the year and a first European Tour victory since 2013.
Wins over German youngsters Nico Blum and Martin Schindler sandwiched a defeat of third seed Mensur Suljovic as Beaton moved into the quarter-finals, where he was a 6-2 victor against John Henderson with a 103 average.
He also averaged over 101 as he ended Peter Wright’s bid for a fifth European Tour title of the year with a 6-4 semi-final triumph, storming into leads of 2-0 and 4-1 before holding off the world number three’s fightback.
However, Beaton was unable to get the better of Van Gerwen as the Dutchman denied the 53-year-old a second European Tour victory.
“I got better and better as the tournament went on but this man just turns it on,” said Beaton, who was appearing in his first European Tour final for three years.
“It’s frustrating because you think you’ve got a chance and he just takes it away from you. That’s why he is number one, fair play to him.”
Wright had begun his challenge in Maastricht with a borrowed set of darts after his luggage failed to arrive in the Netherlands, but overcame Rob Cross and Krzysztof Ratajski on Sunday to reach the last four.
Smith, May’s Gibraltar Darts Trophy winner, saw off Joe Cullen in the third round and then edged out Robert Owen 6-5 in the quarter-finals, taking out a 14-darter with the Welshman waiting on 32.
Owen’s run in Maastricht had seen him reach his first European Tour quarter-final – and only his second last eight finish on the PDC circuit – as he overcame Simon Whitlock 6-4 in the third round, sealing that win with a 136 checkout.
Polish star Ratajski, an ever-present on the European Tour so far this year, also won through to his first quarter-final by producing an outstanding display against Christian Kist in the third round, averaging almost 105.
Northern Ireland’s Gurney and Scottish ace Henderson, both former European Tour finalists, completed the quarter-final line-up in the first of three £135,000 events being held during September.
Next weekend sees the HappyBet German Darts Grand Prix take place in Mannheim, Germany, with 48 players competing from September 8-10 for £135,000 in prize money. For ticket information, visit www.pdc-europe.tv.
PDC European Tour events are broadcast at PDCTV-HD via www.pdc.tv as well as through a series of bookmakers’ websites worldwide.
2017 Dutch Darts Masters
Sunday September 3
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Kyle Anderson
Daryl Gurney 6-2 Nathan Aspinall
Michael Smith 6-2 Joe Cullen
Robert Owen 6-4 Simon Whitlock
Peter Wright 6-3 Rob Cross
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-1 Christian Kist
John Henderson 6-2 Mike De Decker
Steve Beaton 6-4 Martin Schindler
Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Daryl Gurney
Michael Smith 6-5 Robert Owen
Peter Wright 6-3 Krzysztof Ratajski
Steve Beaton 6-2 John Henderson
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Michael Smith
Steve Beaton 6-4 Peter Wright
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Steve Beaton