Sensational Smith wins the German Darts Grand Prix
Sensational Smith wins the German Darts Grand Prix.
Michael Smith won his sixth PDC European Tour title in Munich on Easter Monday, defeating Nathan Aspinall 8-5 to win his first Interwetten German Darts Grand Prix.
Smith delivered an outstanding performance at the Zenith Kulturhalle to defeat Aspinall in a rematch of the Grand Slam of Darts final from November and claim his first ranking title since winning the World Championship in January.
The St Helens star had survived three missed match darts in his opening round match against Adam Warner on Sunday, winning in a last-leg shoot-out with a 116 checkout on tops.
He then opened Monday’s action with a 6-2 victory over Gerwyn Price, averaging nearly 108 points and ending the Welshman’s hopes of winning a third European Tour title in a row.
The World Champion defeated a resurgent Keane Barry 6-4 in the quarter-finals before surviving another match dart in a nail-biting semi-final match against Damon Heta.
This set up a mouth-watering clash with Premier League rival Aspinall, and Smith took the early lead, racing into a 3-0 lead after the Stockport star missed six darts at double in leg one.
Aspinall closed the gap to 5-2 with 74 and 108 combinations, but Smith restored his two-leg lead with an 11-dart hold, then followed up a sixth maximum with a 13-dart break.
Smith extended his three-leg lead with a brilliant 130 finish on the bull in leg nine, just moments after Aspinall cut the deficit with a 112 checkout in leg eight.
After winning back-to-back legs to make it 5-6, the former UK Open champion refused to back down and threatened an unlikely comeback, only for Smith to respond in kind to take the £30,000 top prize.
“I think that first leg changed the match against Nathan,” claimed Smith, who averaged almost 103, hit eight 180s and converted 62% of his attempts at double.
“It happens sometimes and you have to ride your luck. I had four match darts thrown against me this weekend and luckily enough I get my sixth European Tour title.
“This weekend just reminded me so much of Gibraltar when I was playing really badly. I wasn’t playing well but I kept managing to win.
“I feel bad for Nathan because he’s not won one of these [titles] yet. I know how to win these European Tours, and I knew I had to produce the right shots at the key times.
“I think I my brought my A-game twice in five games and now I’m the German Darts Grand Prix champion!”
Meanwhile, Aspinall made history in Munich by reaching his first European Tour final at the 42nd attempt, thanks to victories over Jim Williams, Andrew Gilding, and Joe Cullen on Finals Day.
The Stockport player defeated Williams and UK Open champion Gilding in attritional matches before claiming his fifth consecutive victory over Cullen, winning 7-5 in a dramatic semi-final.
These are big, big tournaments. I’ve never made a final and I think I felt the nerves early on. Fair play to Michael, he capitalised,” reflected a gracious Aspinall.
“I don’t think either of us have played very well this weekend, but I thought that was a great game to be fair.
“Michael proved why he is the world number one and World Champion. He put in a fantastic performance in that final.
“These days are really tough but it was a new step in my career this weekend.
“I am going to take the positives and we go again on Thursday night in the Premier League. Hopefully I can use this positivity and have a good result in Brighton.”
2023 Interwetten German Darts Grand Prix
Monday April 10
Michael Smith 6-2 Gerwyn Price
Keane Barry 6-5 Berry van Peer
Danny Noppert 6-2 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Damon Heta 6-5 Chris Dobey
Nathan Aspinall 6-3 Jim Williams
Andrew Gilding 6-5 Dave Chisnall
Joe Cullen 6-3 Lee Evans
Luke Humphries 6-2 Jose de Sousa
Michael Smith 6-4 Keane Barry
Damon Heta 6-3 Danny Noppert
Nathan Aspinall 6-4 Andrew Gilding
Joe Cullen 6-3 Luke Humphries
Michael Smith 7-6 Damon Heta
Nathan Aspinall 7-5 Joe Cullen
Michael Smith 8-5 Nathan Aspinall