Michael van Gerwen bounced back from his World Matchplay disappointment in emphatic fashion by storming to glory at the Auckland Darts Masters.
The world number one, who sensationally crashed out in the first round in Blackpool to Jeffrey de Zwaan, thrashed his Dutch rival and World Cup team-mate Raymond van Barneveld 11-4 in Sunday's final at the Trusts Arena having earlier despatched Peter Wright 10-3, with the help of a 170 checkout, in the last four.
Barney, who was bidding for his first individual TV title since winning the Premier League in 2014, fell 6-1 down early on but managed to rally with three successive legs to go into the second interval only two legs behind, while at this point he'd hit five 180s compared to van Gerwen's one.
But this only kicked the 29-year-old into another gear as he polished off the next five legs without reply, including a checkout of 156, to bag his first World Series of Darts title of the year and his 16th tournament of the season, which includes his third World Cup crown that he claimed with Barney earlier this season.
MVG, who now has 110 singles titles in what has been a sensational career so far, ended the final with an average of 97.62 compared to Barney's 93.74 while he hit two 180s, a high finish of 156 and pinned 10 of his 22 attempts at doubles.
“I’m delighted to win this title for the first time,” said Van Gerwen after his impressive victory.
"There have been a few tournaments since I have won and I know I don’t need to send any messages but sometimes it is nice to let everyone know who is boss.
"The standard of darts is getting better and better on this side of the world and it is important for the sport that it keeps growing,” added the 29-year-old.
"Now we head to Melbourne and it’s another chance for me to pick up a title, I feel good and ready to go.”
Van Barneveld was appearing in his second Auckland Darts Masters Final after losing out in the decider to Adrian Lewis in 2015.
The five-time World Champion was aiming to win his first World Series of Darts event but ran in to an inspired MVG in the final.
"He’s ruining everything for us, he keeps winning everything,” joked Van Barneveld after the match.
"I felt better in the final than I did in the semi but when Michael gets on a roll you can’t stop him."
In the semi-finals, MVG thrashed Peter Wright 10-3 with the help of an average of 102 and back-to-back checkouts of 170 and 164 in a ruthless display.
He was 8-0 up at one point as he threatened a rare whitewash in this length of format before Snakebite managed to add a trace of respectability to the scoreline.
Barney was also in imperious form during his semi-final with Simon Whitlock, landing four 100+ checkouts and posting an average of 103 during a 10-5 triumph.
The veteran Dutchman, who pinned 10 of his 17 attempts at doubles, took out finishes of 130 121, 118 and 102 en route to booking his place in his second televised final of the season having lost to MVG at the Masters.
Whitlock was hot on his finishing too, only missing one attempt at a double, but it was his overall scoring that let him down.
Auckland Darts Masters: Tournament Results
Friday August 3
First Round (best of 11 legs)
- Simon Whitlock 6-5 Ben Robb
- Rob Cross 6-5 John Hurring
- Michael Smith 4-6 Mark McGrath
- Raymond van Barneveld 6-4 Warren Parry
- Kyle Anderson 6-4 Haupai Puha
- Peter Wright 6-3 Tahuna Irwin
- Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Cody Harris
- Gary Anderson 6-3 Tim Pusey
Saturday July 14
Quarter-Finals (Best of 19 legs)
- Rob Cross 7-10 Simon Whitlock
- Mark McGrath 4-10 Raymond van Barneveld
- Gary Anderson 4-10 Michael van Gerwen
- Peter Wright 10-3 Kyle Anderson
Sunday July 15
Semi Finals (best of 19 legs)
- Simon Whitlock 5-10 Raymond van Barneveld
- Michael van Gerwen 10-3 Peter Wright
Final (best of 21 legs)
- Raymond van Barneveld 4-11 Michael van Gerwen
World Series of Darts: 2018 Event Calendar
- German Darts Masters - May 25 (Winner: Mensur Suljovic)
- U.S. Darts Masters - July 3-7 (Winner: Gary Anderson)
- Shanghai Darts Masters - July 13-14 (Winner: Michael Smith)
- Auckland Darts Masters - August 3-5
- Melbourne Darts Masters - August 10-12
- Brisbane Darts Masters - August 17-19
- World Series of Darts Finals - November 2-4