Mensur Suljovic is the newest first-time winner of a PDC televised title after beating Gary Anderson 11-9 in the Unibet Champions League of Darts final in Cardiff on Sunday night.
The 45-year-old Austrian, ranked seventh in the world, was the 40/1 pre-tournament outsider with Unibet heading into the weekend, but racked up five straight wins over players in the world’s top eight to claim the £100,000 title.
Suljovic opened the tournament with a 10-3 group stage win over Anderson and also recorded victories against Peter Wright (10-8) and Dave Chisnall (10-5) to finish top of Group B.
An 11-9 win over Group A runner-up Raymond van Barneveld, which was sealed with a stunning 160 checkout, booked his spot in his second TV final, where he repeated the scoreline against Anderson to win his maiden TV title.
“I feel perfect,” Suljovic said. “I never thought I could win this tournament.
“Gary is a brilliant player, a gentleman and I’ve got so much respect for him but I played well and I never gave up.
“I played well and was focused on my game but I never thought I could beat Gary twice.
“I couldn’t dream of being in the semi-finals but I gave it my best and fought so hard.
“I was so happy to get to the final against the best players in the world.”
Anderson led 2-0 and 3-1 in the final before Suljovic took out checkouts of 116 and 118 in a run of five successive legs to move 6-3 up.
The world number two then took three legs in a row to level at 6-6, with an 11-darter squaring the game up again in the 16th leg and an 80 finish with two double tops in leg 18 sending the final into a three-leg shootout.
Suljovic’s favourite double 14 moved him 10-9 up, before three missed doubles from Anderson allowed his rival back in to seal victory by hitting the same bed.
Anderson had earlier bounced back from his group stage loss to Suljovic by overcoming Chisnall on Saturday night, before surviving eight missed match darts from Wright in their Sunday afternoon winner-takes-all clash to claim a semi-final place with a 10-9 triumph.
The Scot then ended Phil Taylor’s title defence at the Motorpoint Arena with an 11-6 victory in the last four, recovering from 102 and 121 finishes in the opening two legs from Taylor to win eight on the spin on his way to victory.
However, it was Suljovic again who enjoyed victory over the two-time world champion to deny him the £100,000 title, with Anderson admitting: “Mensur has been brilliant and you can see how much it means to him.
“He’s been phenomenal for the last two years and he’s been the best player this weekend.
“He deserves it – he’s been the player of the tournament and smashed the lot of us.
“It’s been a great event. It’s a couple of weeks since I won in Perth and I got better as the event went on.
“I struggled against Mensur, then played better on Saturday evening and played well today.
“I did alright in the final and I’d have loved to have made it 10-all and then see what happened in the last leg, but I had three clear darts at double 10 and made a complete mess of it, so we’ll never know.”