European Darts Open: Michael van Gerwen comes from 5-1 down to win 8-7 against Peter Wright

Michael van Gerwen (Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
Michael van Gerwen (Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Michael van Gerwen came back from 5-1 down to beat Peter Wright 8-7 in the final of the European Darts Open.

Wright, playing in the final of the event for the third year in succession, stole the first leg on double 17 before a 110 checkout saw him move two up.

Van Gerwen got on the board in the third leg, but a series of misses from the world number one allowed Wright to move clear at 5-1.

Seeking his first European Tour title of 2018, Wright was three legs away from the title but van Gerwen had other ideas, an 11-dart leg arresting the slide and, ultimately, changing the course of the match.

Van Gerwen took the next three legs to draw level at 5-5 before Wright's brave 81 finish saw him move back ahead, and when he took the next on double six it appeared van Gerwen's comeback was over.

However, the two-time world champion again found another gear when it mattered, hitting double eight after Wright had missed bull for the title, then hitting an 89 checkout to draw level before holding throw to seal a famous comeback.

The £25,000 title takes Van Gerwen’s tally of European Tour wins up to a staggering 21 since his first victory in 2013.

"I love the European Tour tournaments - all the people coming to watch all the time is phenomenal," said van Gerwen. "I'm just glad to win.

"I played terrible in the first part of the game, I missed lots of doubles and needed to improve. Luckily for me I did exactly that and it was enough to clinch the win. I love these titles, the crowd were fantastic and really gave me a lift throughout."

The weekend saw a welcome return to form for Wright, and a much needed break from Unibet Premier League action after suffering three straight 7-1 defeats in that competition.

Despite seeing his European Darts Open title slip from his grasp in a deciding leg, Wright was pleased with his performances in Leverkusen.

"I've been struggling big time, and to take seven legs off Michael van Gerwen - the best player there is at the moment - makes me very happy," said Wright.

"I thought the bullseye [to win] was going, I was ready to shake his hand but it wasn’t to be."

The signs of Van Gerwen's prowess were evident from the start on Day Three, as he kicked off with a 6-3 win over Alan Norris - averaging 105 in the process.

Simon Whitlock was then comfortably dealt with in the quarter-finals with a 6-1 success, again averaging just over 100 and landing a 170 checkout en route.

The heavy scoring continued in the semi-finals as the Dutchman brought an abrupt end to Richard North's impressive run with a 7-1 thumping.

Emerging star North had earlier beaten World Champion Rob Cross and Ron Meulenkamp to reach his first semi-final on the European Tour.

Wright's run to the final started on Sunday afternoon with a 6-2 third round win over World Grand Prix semi-finalist John Henderson.

He then brushed aside Joe Cullen 6-3 before overcoming a resurgent James Wade 7-4 in the last four in a semi-final which featured incredible finishing.

Wade took out 161 and 121 as he landed four doubles from as many attempts, but Wright landed 7/8 finishes and followed a 170 checkout by sealing his place in the final with a 109 combination.

Wade will be pleased with his efforts that saw him average 105 in a third round victory over Michael Smith, as well as beating Mervyn King in the quarter-finals.

Sunday's European Darts Open results

CLICK HERE FOR FULL TOURNAMENT RESULTS

Third Round

  • Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Alan Norris
  • Simon Whitlock 6-1 Dave Chisnall
  • Ron Meulenkamp 6-1 Justin Pipe
  • Rob Cross 5-6 Richard North
  • Peter Wright 6-2 John Henderson
  • Joe Cullen 6-5 Chris Dobey
  • Mensur Suljovic 6-3 Mervyn King
  • James Wade 6-4 Michael Smith

Quarter-Finals

  • Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Simon Whitlock
  • Ron Meulenkamp 2-6 Richard North
  • Peter Wright 6-3 Joe Cullen
  • Mervyn King 4-6 James Wade

Semi-Finals

  • Michael van Gerwen 7-1 Richard North
  • Peter Wright 7-4 James Wade

Final

  • Michael van Gerwen 8-7 Peter Wright

European Darts Open: Past Finals

2017: Peter Wright 6-2 Mervyn King

2016: Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Peter Wright

2015: Robert Thornton 6-2 Kim Huybrechts

2014: Peter Wright 6-2 Simon Whitlock

2013: Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Simon Whitlock

2012: Raymond van Barneveld 6-4 Dave Chisnall

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