Michael van Gerwen made it back-to-back tournament victories on the European Tour with a thrilling 6-5 win over Michael Smith in the Austrian Darts Open final tonight.
The world number one triumphed in the HappyBet European Darts Matchplay in Hamburg two weeks ago, and he came out on top once again as he claimed the £25,000 top prize at the Multiversum in Schwechat, Vienna this evening.
Former PDC world youth champion Smith was aiming to follow up last month’s victory in the Gibraltat Darts Trophy with his second European Tour title of the year, and the St Helens thrower led van Gerwen throughout most of the final.
The world number 11 raced into a 2-0 lead in the best of 11 legs decider, punishing his rival’s miss at tops in the opening leg before breaking with a 13-darter, which featured a maximum.
Van Gerwen hit back with successive legs to level at 2-2, but Smith then checked out 86 on the bull to lead 3-2 and then brought the Austrian crowd to its feet with a stunning 170 checkout to go 4-3 in front.
Van Gerwen, though, responded once more with a 14-darter to level the final again and then landed double 18 for a 13-darter to break, after Smith had missed tops for a 117 finish.
Smith took out 70 in leg 10 to force a deciding leg, but it was van Gerwen who was first to a finish as he finished off 100 on tops for a 12-darter to secure his 17th European Tour title of his career, and third of 2017.
“This means a lot to me,” van Gerwen said. “I came here to win and I’m glad I could do that, but I played well, especially today.
“Michael (Smith) is getting back to form, he is a fantastic player and he kept me under pressure. The 170 finish was great and he put me under a lot of pressure, but I was really glad to win.”
Match Statistics: Michael van Gerwen (105.16) – 100+ 14, 140+ 7, 180s 4. Highest checkout 100. Checkout percentage 46.15% (6/13). Michael Smith (101.01) – 100+ 10, 140+ 13, 180s 1. Highest checkout 170. Checkout percentage 55.56% (5/9).