Masters darts: Michael van Gerwen defeats Raymond van Barneveld 11-9 in final

Michael van Gerwen celebrates his win over Raymond van Barneveld (Pic: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Michael van Gerwen won the Masters for a fourth year in a row as he defeated Raymond van Barneveld 11-9 in a thrilling final in Milton Keynes on Sunday night.

The world number one had to come from 4-1 and 8-5 down against his Dutch rival as he bounced back from the disappointment of losing his world title to Rob Cross in that dramatic semi-final at Alexandra Palace last month.

MVG averaged over 100 in all four of his matches at Arena MK this weekend - including a 111 in his 10-2 demolition of James Wade in the quarter-finals - but when the chips were down in the final, he showed real character to deny van Barneveld a first TV individual title since 2014.

Van Gerwen has now won his last 11 major TV finals since losing to Phil Taylor in the 2016 Champions League of Darts while he's only lost one of his last 37 matches - albeit that was when it mattered most to him at the world championship.

The 28-year-old heads to the opening night of the new Premier League Darts season in Dublin on Thursday as favourite at 10/11 - which has been Price Boosted from 8/11 with Sky Bet. (Click here for Premier League season fixtures & dates)

Van Gerwen told "I think this is the perfect start to the year. I played a good tournament and hit some big averages against some great players. Everyone wants a good start to the year and I've started well.

"Raymond had a phenomenal tournament, he played well in the final and he didn't give a lot away. When you give him a finger he takes your hand, but I'm glad that I fought back.

"I'm trying my best all the time and I want to win every tournament that I play in, so I'm really glad that I can take this trophy home.

"I had a big disappointment in the World Championship but you need to be strong,. I went on holiday and came back stronger and I'm really proud of myself. I'd like to have more days like this."

Van Barneveld began the Masters as a 25/1 outsider but enjoyed a highly encouraging weekend, which saw him reach his first individual final since losing to MVG in the 2015 Masters final, and he too will feel confident ahead of the Premier League.

The 50-year-old followed up his wins over Dave Chisnall, Peter Wright and Mensur Suljovic by racing into an early 4-1 lead thanks to checkouts of 72, 76 and a 13-darter.

That was extended to 5-2 before Van Gerwen hit back to level, hitting two 177 scores in an 11-darter to break throw before a 137 finish for a 12-dart leg saw the reigning champion square the contest.

Three more legs for Van Barneveld gave him an 8-5 advantage, only for Van Gerwen to hit top gear as he fought to hold onto his title.

A 124 bull finish saw the world number one leg, before a 12-darter moved him ahead for the first time at 9-8, and though Van Barneveld battled to stay in the game, an 81 finish for a 12-darter saw Van Gerwen seal his fourth straight Masters title.

He finished the match with an average of 105.85 despite only hitting two maximums while he had a checkout percentage of 47.83%. Barney's figures were 100.55, one and 47.37%.

Van Barneveld said: "I'm really happy to reach the final. It's good to be in the final, and that has given me confidence.

"I had a hard game against Dave on Friday and today was a really long day for me. I played really well against Peter Wright but against Mensur I never felt great, and the final was alright.

"I played a good game in the final but I had too many scores of 100 instead of 140s, and Michael was awesome tonight. He was firing some top class darts at the end - his 124 turned the game.

"He's the world number one and it's so hard to beat this man. He never has a bad night, not against me, but hopefully one day it will turn my way."

Semi-final round-up

Raymond van Barneveld reached his second Masters final in four years with an 11-7 comeback win over Mensur Suljovic - but he'll need to beat Michael van Gerwen to claim his first televised singles title since 2014.

The Dutchman tailed 2-0 as Suljovic made a fast start thanks to a 121 checkout in the second leg but Barney hit back to take the next six on the trot including a 13-darter and a superb 138 finish.

Suljovic hit back with a brilliant 10-darter and a 12-dart leg to pull back to 6-4, only for the five-time world champion to land a 116 finish of his own in restoring a four-leg lead.

The Austrian also hit back to 9-6, but a 96 checkout settled any nerves from van Barneveld before he punished four missed doubles from his rival to lead 10-7, and an 11-dart leg secured his spot in the decider.

Three-time defending champion van Gerwen ensured a repeat of the 2015 final as he defeated 2017 runner-up Gary Anderson 11-5 in their last four meeting.

Anderson took out 124 as he shared the opening four legs, before Van Gerwen broke with a brilliant 95 bull finish and then hit tops for a 4-2 cushion.

Anderson finished 66 and double ten to level, but van Gerwen produced two 12-darters as he moved 7-4 up, with the Scot responding but unable to prevent the reigning champion from claiming four more legs and a spot in the final.

Quarter-final round-up

World champion Rob Cross suffered a shock defeat to Mensur Suljovic in the quarter-finals of the Masters.

Cross averaged below 100 and was particularly poor on doubles as he slipped to a 10-8 defeat in just his second match since that famous victory at Alexandra Palace at the start of the month.

Suljovic was 3-1 down early on but broke back immediately with a 12-dart leg, a feat he repeated to claw back from 5-3 down to 5-5.

A 13-dart leg saw him move ahead for the first time in the match and he followed it with a 112 finish, before breaking the Cross throw once more to lead by three.

Cross fought back to 8-7, but a missed dart at bullseye allowed Suljovic to move within one of the match and while Cross held throw one last time, the Austrian saved his best until last with a 136 finish edging his average over 100 and sealing victory.

He'll now face Raymond van Barneveld, who thrashed Peter Wright 10-2 to reach the last four.

The 50-year-old came through a 19-leg thriller on Friday as he won the deciding leg to beat Dave Chisnall, but this was an altogether more straightforward passage to the next round as he took the opening six legs in a comprehensive victory.

Wright missed three darts for the first leg and didn't get another look until the seventh, which he took at the second opportunity. But conceding a 6-1 start to a red-hot van Barneveld looked fatal, and so it proved as the Dutch maestro galloped on to a 10-2 success.

Van Barneveld registered three ton-plus checkouts, including a deadly 116 in what proved to be the penultimate leg as he again broke Wright's throw before a 14-dart leg sealed the win.

He averaged 103.51 and missed just six of 16 darts at double to earn a clash with Suljovic.

"Amazing game," said van Barneveld. "I'm really happy with the result. These 12-darters keep on coming, that makes the difference."

Gary Anderson overcame concerns with the state of his ailing back as he saw off Gerwyn Price 10-6.

Anderson once labelled Price a "circus clown" and there was no love lost on stage as the two-time world champion progressed to a semi-final showdown with Michael van Gerwen.

The Scot broke throw in the very first leg with a sparkling 150 finish, but any thoughts of a one-sided encounter proved wide of the mark as Welshman Price kept in touch, briefly leading at 4-3 after a 104 finish of his own.

Anderson, though, never looked in any real danger once level again and won the final three legs of the match without allowing his opponent a dart at double. While he'll surely need to better an average of 94.38 if he's to progress any further, this was a case of job done.

Van Gerwen was in irrepressible form as he demolished James Wade 10-2.

The three-time Masters champion averaged north of 120 midway through the match and it took a 121 checkout from Wade to get on the board at 8-1.

By this stage the match was won, and van Gerwen's level dropped enough for Wade to steal a second leg before the tournament favourite wrapped things up with an 86 finish.

Van Gerwen ended the match with an average of 111.14, having hit 10 of 13 attempts at double. Wade was only afforded two and hit both.

Afternoon Session
Quarter-Finals (Best of 19 legs)

  • Peter Wright 2-10 Raymond van Barneveld (QF3)
  • Mensur Suljovic 10-8 Rob Cross (QF4)
  • Gerwyn Price 6-10 Gary Anderson (QF2)
  • Michael van Gerwen 10-2 James Wade (QF1)

Evening Session (7pm)
Semi-Finals (Best of 21 legs)

  • Michael van Gerwen 11-5 Gary Anderson (SF1)
  • Raymond van Barneveld 11-7 Mensur Suljovic (SF2)

Final (Best of 21 legs)

  • Michael van Gerwen 11-9 Raymond van Barneveld

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