Ratajski triumphs in Jena to seal his second Euro Tour title.
At the Interwetten German Darts Open on Sunday, Krzysztof Ratajski triumphed over Stephen Bunting 8-3 to win his second European Tour championship.
Ratajski, the Gibraltar Darts Trophy champion in 2019, put an end to his four-year quest for a victory on a major stage with a string of outstanding displays in the Sparkassen-Arena.
After enjoying his seventh Players Championship victory back in April, Poland’s top player has enjoyed a pleasant return to form in 2023. He won the £30,000 top prize in Jena to increase his total number of PDC titles to ten.
Ratajski’s challenge got underway with a commanding 6-3 triumph over Ricky Evans on Saturday, and he carried it on with a decisive victory over top seed Dave Chisnall in the round of 16.
Following a straightforward 6-3 victory against Danny Noppert in the round of eight, the 46-year-old defeated Josh Rock in the semifinals with a strong performance.
After six legs, there was no way to tell the two apart, but Ratajski found his groove and won 7-4 after finishing off a 126 checkout on the bull with legs of 13, 14, and 14 darts.
Ratajski’s warm-up darts before the final resulted in a nine-dart finish, and he had a dream opening to Sunday’s championship match, storming into a 4-0 lead.
Bunting suffered the price after missing nine darts at double in the opening exchanges, but he managed to open his account with a clinical 90 kill in leg five as he sought to catch up.
Ratajski, though, extended his lead with a decisive 12-darter after Bunting missed double 11 for a 102 outshot in leg seven, restoring his three-leg advantage.
The former World Matchplay semifinalist then successfully completed a calm 105 checkout to put himself on the verge of winning leg ten, and he pinned double eight shortly thereafter to complete a fantastic triumph.
“I have waited for this moment for four years,” reflected Ratajski, who is now closing in on a return to the world’s top 20.
“I am delighted. I didn’t expect it, because in the last two or three months I haven’t played well, but this weekend I played better.
“Stephen missed a few very important doubles early on. I took those legs and that gave me the confidence to play well.
“This win puts me into the top 16 on the ProTour Order of Merit. That was my target this year, so now I must find another target!”
Bunting, who on Saturday defeated Joe Cullen in the second round after surviving eight match darts, was denied his first PDC big-stage championship, but he still had a memorable tournament in Jena.
The 38-year-old defeated Martin Schindler to put an end to home playoff dreams in the round of 16, then prevailed in later-day matches against Andrew Gilding and Wesley Plaisier in two more decisive-leg battles.
“Full credit to Krzysztof. He was fantastic,” conceded Bunting, who was using his new darts for the first time in competition this weekend.
“I threw everything at him, I gave it my all, but congratulations to Krzysztof, he was the deserved winner.
“To make a European Tour final on my first outing with my new darts, I’m chuffed to bits.
“The crowd got me through a few games this weekend. The support has been absolutely phenomenal, and I can’t wait to come back to Germany and play in front of this wonderful crowd again.”
The PDC European Tour continues from September 22-24 with the Hungarian Darts Trophy in Budapest, where 48 players will compete across three days of action in the penultimate European Tour event of 2023.
Sunday September 10
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-2 Dave Chisnall
Danny Noppert 6-4 Cameron Menzies
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-3 Jose de Sousa
Josh Rock 6-5 Ryan Searle
Andrew Gilding 6-3 Florian Hempel
Stephen Bunting 6-1 Martin Schindler
Wesley Plaisier 6-5 Luke Humphries
Brian Raman 6-4 Nathan Aspinall
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-3 Danny Noppert
Josh Rock 6-5 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Stephen Bunting 6-5 Andrew Gilding
Wesley Plaisier 6-3 Brian Raman
Krzysztof Ratajski 7-4 Josh Rock
Stephen Bunting 7-6 Wesley Plaisier
Krzysztof Ratajski 8-3 Stephen Bunting