IMPERIOUS VAN GERWEN'S GERMAN GLORY
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN won his fifth European Tour title of 2017 and 14th tournament of the year with an amazing 6-3 win over Rob Cross in the HappyBet German Darts Grand Prix final on Sunday night.
The World Champion followed up last weekend's Dutch Darts Masters victory on his return from a month's break by claiming the title at the Maimarkhalle in Mannheim with an imperious display.
Van Gerwen had opened the weekend with a ruthless whitewash of Richard North as he averaged 111 in Saturday's second round, before seeing off Gerwyn Price 6-2 to book his spot in the quarter-finals.
He then averaged 102.56 in a 6-1 quarter-final defeat of fellow Dutchman Jelle Klaasen before punishing 11 missed doubles from Simon Whitlock to record another whitewash as he booked his spot in the decider, where he again averaged 111.
After Van Gerwen opened the final with a 180, both players missed the bull before Cross returned on double eight to hold throw.
Van Gerwen levelled in style by taking out 127 for a 12-darter, with Cross finishing 111 to hold in the third after the Dutchman missed double 14 to check out 145.
The World Champion landed a maximum and tops for a 13-darter to square the game in the fourth, but was unable to finish 104 in the fifth as Cross escaped from five missed doubles by landing double five to lead 3-2.
A missed bull for a 127 finish in the sixth from Cross allowed Van Gerwen to avoid a possible break as double 16 saw the world number one square the game once more.
Van Gerwen then secured the crucial break himself to move 4-3 up, opening leg seven with a 180 before taking out 76 for an 11-darter to lead for the first time.
The Dutchman then backed that up with a superb 12-darter, opening once more with a maximum before taking out 101 on double 16 for a 5-3, lead before a 110 checkout sealed a brilliant win.
"When you play well and win it's a fantastic feeling," said Van Gerwen, who lost only six legs during the event. "I think I deserved the win and I'm really happy.
"I started off with a 111 average and finished with a 111 average so that's not too bad!
"Rob was the player who gave me the biggest game and it was difficult to break his throw, but my scoring power was there and my will to win was there, and that makes me the champion today.
"I'm sure I'm going to have more good clashes against Rob, he's broken through this year and he's doing really well. He's going to be one of the big superstars."
Cross' remarkable rise in 2017, which has included two Players Championship titles, continued as he won through to his first European Tour final with a series of outstanding performances in Mannheim.
He followed up Saturday's 103.81 average in a 6-3 second round win over Jan Dekker with a stunning 109.10 average as he stormed past Mensur Suljovic 6-2 in Sunday afternoon's third round.
He then overcame Ian White 6-2 with the aid of a 105.89 average in the quarter-finals and averaged 102.87 in a 6-3 semi-final defeat of Benito van de Pas.
"I played well this week and I really enjoyed it," said Cross. "I lost my way a bit in the last four legs, but I can't take anything away from Michael.
"That's why he's there and the experience he's got is vast, but it won't be long before I catch him up there. I'm going to be there."
Whitlock had seen off Nathan Aspinall and Michael Smith on Sunday to reach his second European Tour semi-final of the year, but paid the price for a below-par finishing game against Van Gerwen.
Van de Pas was aiming to reach his second European Tour final of the year as he saw off Darren Webster and Vincent van der Voort - in a dramatic deciding leg - on Sunday, but saw Cross finish 94, 61 and 100 to pull clear from two-all in their semi-final.
Gibraltar Darts Trophy winner Smith was unable to claim his second European Tour success of the year as he bowed out in the quarter-finals, alongside Klaasen, Van der Voort - who missed two match darts against Van de Pas - and White.
Van der Voort had whitewashed Ronny Huybrechts in the afternoon's third round without the Belgian having a dart at a double, while Klaasen ended Kyle Anderson's run of form with a comprehensive 6-1 success.
The next PDC European Tour event will be the HappyBet International Darts Open in Riesa from September 22-24.