PDC number one Michael van Gerwen recovered from his defeat in September’s Champions League of Darts in the best way possible in Dublin, winning his third World Grand Prix title. The Dutchman averaged 100.29, the best ever in a Grand Prix final, as he defeated reigning World Champion and world number two Gary Anderson 5-2, to win his twenty-first title of 2016.
Van Gerwen had the advantage of throwing first in the final, and taking full advantage of this managed to prevent Anderson from getting a leg in the first set. This tournament is unique on the PDC circuit, as it requires a double to start the leg as well as the usual double to finish. This is where Anderson struggled the most, failing to score with his first eight darts at one point in the second set. This opportunity was seized upon by ‘Mighty Mike’, who doubled his lead in the match.
The third set started much better for Anderson, appearing in his first ever Grand Prix final, as he threw a 12-dart leg to break van Gerwen’s throw. This advantage was short-lived, with MVG throwing an 11-dart leg of his own to put the set back on throw, before a checkout of 70 gave him his third leg in a row and a three set advantage. The fourth set was much better from Anderson’s point of view, with the 45 year old Scotsman winning all three legs to close the deficit to two sets.
Both players suffered double trouble in the fourth leg of the fifth set, with a combined eight darts missed to win the leg before Anderson hit double 10. However, he failed to score with his first six in the next leg, allowing van Gerwen to move one set away from the title. Anderson won the next four legs to take the sixth set and move a leg up in the seven against the darts. However, the Dutchman’s clinical scoring and finishing turned the set around, winning the title with a 160 checkout, the highest of the match.
Although the tournament ended with the top two seeds facing off in the final, there were a number of upsets over the seven days. Eleven time champion Phil Taylor was knocked out in the first round for the second year running, with Steve West repeating what Vincent van der Voort managed 12 months earlier, with West being defeated by Daryl Gurney in the last 16. Gurney had himself caused a mini first round shock, beating the inform Mensur Suljovic from one set down. Former finalist and five time world champion Raymond van Barneveld had an average 2016 so far, dropping out of the top 10, but he was back to his best in beating Mervyn King, Adrian Lewis and Benito van de Pas before being beaten by Anderson in the semi-finals. Anderson will be hoping that he can go one better at the Alexandra Palace in January, as he aims to become only the third man to win three consecutive world titles. Van Gerwen, on the other hand, will be hoping for his second Ally Pally crown to further cement his place as a darting great.
Photo Credit: Sky Sports