Magical van Gerwen storms to European title

Michael van Gerwen defeated world champion Gary Anderson 6-2 with an average just shy of 118 to win the first European Tour event of the year in Hildesheim, on Sunday evening.

The world number one dropped only seven legs in four matches on the final day of the tournament as he blitzed Stephen Bunting and Mensur Suljovic while also overcoming surprise qualifier Joe Murnan 6-4 in the quarter-finals.

After sharing the first four legs of the final with a barrage of 180s, van Gerwen stretched clear courtesy of 151 and 167 checkouts, before pinning a 10-darter followed by a 12 to claim the title and scoop the £20,000 first prize. The Dutchman’s triumph continues his scintillating start to the 2015 season, which has seen him lose only once since his semi-final beating at the World Championship by Anderson.

Despite falling short in the final, the tournament marked another lucrative weekend for the third-ranked Anderson,  who further narrows the gap to Phil Taylor in the PDC Order of Merit. The Scotsman’s day began with a 6-2 win over Steve Beaton, which he consolidated with a 6-0 whitewash of Justin Pipe before dispatching Adrian Lewis for the loss of two legs in the last four.

Elsewhere, Suljovic enjoyed a memorable run to the semi-finals, his methodical play secured the scalps of both Michael Smith and Robert Thornton. He was eventually blown away by van Gerwen 6-1 after his otherwise impressive doubling eluded him at the crucial stages.

It was also a superb weekend for Joe Murnan who reached his first PDC quarter-final after beating Brendan Dolan. His run was finally halted by van Gerwen, succumbing 6-4 but not before giving the eventual winner a scare.

The next European Tour event is scheduled to take place in Gibraltar in mid-March. James Wade is the defending champion.

The PDC returns to action on Thursday night with the Premier League at Liverpool’s Echo Arena. Anderson and van Gerwen will meet again in a repeat of the Hildesheim final.

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