UK Open - Third Day

After all quarterfinals participants were known the suspense had somehow gone on finals day. Is looked it would only be the question against whom Michael van Gerwen would play in the final which he would win anyhow. But one hoped for interesting and thrilling matches.

But this hope was unfulfilled in the first quarterfinal between Andrew Gilding and Martin Schindler. Perhaps the young German had run our of steam at least he was far from keeping up his good performances - his scored not as good and he had lost his accuracy on the doubles as well. To be sure Andrew Gilding is a nasty opponent but one had expected a little be more from Schindler. So he was demolished 4:10 and Gilding reached for the second time in his career the semi-finals of the UK Open.

Nathan Aspinall fared a little bit better in the second quarterfinal but he did not enough to be really a problem for Michael van Gerwen. Though the Dutchman was far from flawless either, throwing often enough low scores and several times experienced some double trouble.

The third quarterfinal was a little bit more surprising. Many had hoped for a Cross/van Gerwen final but Cross took to long to get going and then it was too late against young Czech Adam Gawlas. to be sure Gawlas win was a little upset.

The last quarterfinal was not a good or thrilling match either. Richie Burnett failed to perform magic one again. Dimitri van den Bergh was just too strong though he was far from outstanding as well.

And once again and for the last time a draw took place. In the semi-finals first Adam Gawlas would play against Andrew Gilding and after that Dimitri van den Bergh against Michael van Gerwen. It looked a fourth UK Open win of van Gerwen was inevitable, now player still in the tournament looked like a real danger for him - despite his inconsistent scoring and his problems with the doubles.

In the break all fortified themselves and the players disappeared from the venue.

Then the event continued and it felt a little bit like one could have handed van Gerwen the trophy without playing semi-finals and a final.

First Adam Gawlas and Andrew Gilding came on stage - two players with a similar playing rhythm and both seemingly detached and with a poker face. Gawlas was not able to be a threat for Gilding; he played his probably weakest match of the tournament. He was not bad on his doubles but had far two few chances to throw on them. Gilding won 11:6 and for the first time reached the final.

In the second final it was van den Bergh who had no chance against van Gerwen and he was even worse on his doubles. There were chances for the Belgian as van Gerwen war far from accurate on his doubles as well and again had some very low scores. But somehow the Belgian was not capable to take them I don't know. Perhaps he was too much in awe, perhaps he was just tired by know or he had already resigned before the match even started.

And so we had an unexpected final between Michael van Gerwen and Andrew Gilding. And despite what we had already seen from Gilding during the tournament most were sure it would be a van Gerwen win - perhaps as all were convinced van Gerwen would be able to change up a gear should it be necessary, So far he had not be really challenged - most probably in the fourth round against Dave Chisnall - but his A-Game just had not been necessary. Perhaps he had lulled himself in a false sense of security or didn't take him serious but the final didn't go according to plan. Van Gerwen couldn't get rid of Gilding who just played his own march never panicking even when behind - it was impressive. Gilding drew 9:9, he drew 10:10 and suddenly the thrill was back. Van Gerwen didn't play a weak deciding leg, but Gilding threw a 180 in a crucial moment and the even managed to set up a double tops finish which brought a smile to his face. And he hit the double tops while van Gerwen already sat on 16 points. As the sayings goes - a darts match never is over before the last dart is thrown.

So after three days of darts the UK Open 223 was history. They were a tournament with a lot of upsets and highlights with a surprise winner. The final will stick in memory as will Richie Burnett's progress into the quarterfinals, the first quarterfinal of a German players in this events, the performance of young Czech Adam Gawlas and the great matches of 16 years old Luke Littler and Thomas Banks. And the event showed that hard work pays - That's at least haw Andrew Gilding explains his success.

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