Van Gerwen ends 12-month wait for a Euro Tour title as the brilliant Dutchman is victorious in Belgium
With a magnificent victory in the 2023 Blkläder Belgian Darts Open on Sunday night, Michael van Gerwen put an end to a year without success on the PDC European Tour. He defeated Luke Humphries 8-6 in the final.
With 35 tournament victories over the past ten years, the Dutchman has dominated the European Tour, but the last of those occurred in May 2022.
He made amends, though, by winning the top prize of £30,000 in front of a sold-out Belgian audience at the Oktoberhallen.
On a significant Sunday, Van Gerwen defeated Josh Rock 7-3 in the semifinal matchup to exact revenge for his recent semi-final loss at the Austrian Darts Open.
On Sunday afternoon, Van Gerwen defeated Martin Schindler in a thrilling third-round match that required a deciding leg before defeating Gary Anderson to advance to the quarterfinals.
Van Gerwen came back from being 5-4 down in the final to win with three straight wins, seize control, and then pin double 16 to ensure a memorable victory.
“It means a lot to me,” said Van Gerwen, who also returns to second place on the PDC Order of Merit above Peter Wright.
“You have to defeat really good dart players – Gary Anderson, Josh Rock and in the final someone who is always good on the Euro Tour, Luke Humphries.
“I knew that if I won today I’d be above Peter Wright in the world rankings and of course that’s really important.
“You always have to give 100% and that’s what I do all the time. Sometimes it doesn’t go your way, but I’m a fighter and I never give up, and I keep fighting until the end.
“That’s what I did today and that’s why I won, and it’s really good for myself.”
Humphries twice missed opportunities to break and agonisingly missed double 12 for a nine-darter in leg six of the final before coming back to win that leg in ten darts. The first ten legs of the final all ended with throw.
Following a checkout of 129 in leg ten, Van Gerwen made the first break in the following leg by stepping in on double 16 after Humphries missed double six.
Van Gerwen increased his lead to 7-5 after Humphries missed two more darts, and although the world number six was given a chance to tie the game with a missed match dart, his rival ultimately won on double 16.
Humphries lost for the third time in a European Tour final this year after falling to Dave Chisnall twice earlier.
He opened Sunday’s competition by defeating Andy Baetens of Belgium in a nail-biting third-round match, and after defeating Nathan Aspinall in the quarterfinals, he advanced to a high-calibre semi-final by surviving Dirk van Duijvenbode’s missed match dart.
“I don’t feel disappointed, I think I played well,” said Humphries. “I played an A+ Michael van Gerwen and you can’t make a mistake. I did in a couple of legs, I missed a dart here and there and I got punished.
“I thought I played a good game but a couple of mistakes cost me and if I’d took those finishes out I probably would have won.
“It was a closely-contested game, it was nip and tuck and he pulled out the good legs at the end. I was proud of myself the way I played, but the better player won in the end.
“Obviously, it’s always disappointing to lose but I’ll get that title this year soon, I’m sure. I’ve run into three brilliant performances in the final, but it’s coming.”
A painful missed match dart prevented van Duijvenbode from reaching his second European Tour final of the year, and Humphries won the match with an 81 on the bull in the deciding leg.
The Dutchman earned a spot in the third semi-final of the 2023 European Tour by outplaying Wales’ Jonny Clayton and Canada’s Matt Campbell earlier in the day.
When Rock defeated the reigning champion Chisnall and the world champion Michael Smith to advance to the second European Tour semi-final of the year, Van Gerwen took advantage of the opportunity to avenge his earlier defeat.
After rejoining the European Tour, Scottish star Anderson reached the quarterfinals in his second competition. He defeated Rob Cross in the third round before falling to Van Gerwen.
Rock ended Chisnall’s title defence when the Englishman fell victim to a 104 average from the Northern Irish amateur in the third round on Sunday. This ended Chisnall’s hopes of winning a third European Tour title in 2023.
The Gambrinus Czech Darts Open, the eighth competition of the year, will be held in Prague the following weekend as part of the PDC European Tour.
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