Gerwyn Price wins in Riesa
GERWYN PRICE claimed his first European Tour title by defeating Simon Whitlock 8-3 in the final of the International Darts Open in Riesa.
Price was visibly delighted to be lifting his first PDC crown since May 2016 as he became the fourth new winner on the continent in 2018, despite continuing his recovery from a ruptured Achilles tendon.
The 135,000 pound tournament at SACHSENarena saw runner-up Whitlock reach his second European Tour final of the year, but it was Price's weekend as the Welsh ace reeled off the last six legs in emphatic style to clinch the 25,000 pound top prize.
"I'm thrilled to win in front of this unbelievable crowd," said Price, who was starring in his second European Tour final.
"Simon got off to a good lead but I bucked my ideas up and played my best darts of the tournament at the end of the final.
"The injury doesn't bother me, I'm still playing well and I turn up to every tournament expecting to win because it's pointless being there otherwise.
"When you play in front of crowds like this you want to play the best you can and thankfully I did."
Price began his run to glory in East Germany with a 6-3 defeat of John Henderson on Saturday before surviving three match darts in his 6-5 win over Daryl Gurney to progress to the quarter-finals.
There, the former UK Open finalist posted an impressive 101.63 average to see off Ryan Searle 6-2 and held his nerve in the semi-final, edging out Steve West 7-6 in a thrilling contest.
The final began with an early break of throw for Whitlock before Price broke straight back with a 14-dart leg and then held throw for a 2-1 lead.
Whitlock held and then found double 12 with his last dart in hand to regain the lead at 3-2, but that was as good as it got for the Australian who was blown away by six stunning legs from Price.
The turning point in the match came in the eighth leg as Whitlock missed two darts at double 18 to go level before Price punished with a 72 checkout in two darts to go 5-3 up.
From there, the world number 12 romped to the finish line, ending the match with a clinical 53.85% checkout success rate as he picked up the title.
Despite suffering a repeat of his 8-3 loss to Mensur Suljovic in June's Danish Darts Open final, crowd favourite Whitlock was pleased with his weekend's work as he reached the fifth European Tour final of his career.
The world number seven's run to the final saw him defeat James Wilson, Steve Beaton, James Richardson and Danny Noppert.
"Well done to Gerwyn, he was the better player in the final," said Whitlock.
"Making the final is fantastic, I'm proud to be here and play in front of this fantastic crowd.
"I just love playing darts!"
The German weekend was also one to remember for Noppert, who reached his second European Tour semi-final of the year, and for Searle, who continued his sublime form to reach his first quarter-final on the continent.