Mensur Suljovic claimed his first World Series of Darts title in front of a record-breaking crowd as he beat rising star Dimitri van den Bergh 8-2 in the German Darts Masters.
The 16-player event was held in one spectacular day in front of 20,000 fans at the Veltins Arena, which was transformed into a "Darts Music Arena", and it was the Austrian who came out on top.
Suljovic defeated Robert Marijanovic 6-2 in the afternoon's first round and then edged out world champion Rob Cross 8-7 in a thrilling quarter-final before thrashing defending champion Peter Wright 8-2.
He maintained that momentum into the final as he averaged 101.63, hit five 180s and nailed eight of his 13 attempts at doubles in a comprehensive 8-2 win over the young Belgian.
Finishes of 109 and 100 gave Suljovic an immediate lead in the final, with van den Bergh taking the third leg before the 46-year-old followed an 80 checkout with finishes of 13 and 11 darts to lead 5-1.
Double 16 saw van den Bergh hit back in leg seven, but Suljovic posted a fifth 180 of the final in an 11-darter to move 6-2 up.
Double eight moved Suljovic to the brink of glory, and he sealed the title with a 76 finish ending, typically, on his favourite double 16.
"It's a great feeling for me and I'm really happy," said Suljovic. "Dimitri is a brilliant player and it was a long day, but I did well. The crowd was brilliant and to win this tournament makes me so happy. People have been playing really well against me recently but I had a good feeling and it was a great day."
Van den Bergh, the world youth champion, had earlier thrashed Martin Schindler 6-0 with a sensational average of 109.98 and although he could only manage 94 in his quarter-final, it was still enough to thrash Premier League Darts king Michael van Gerwen 8-3!
He averaged 92 compared to Gary Anderson's 98 in the semi-finals but still came out on top 8-7 in a thriller, in which he nailed a stunning 124 checkout just after the Flying Scotsman had thrown a 180 to leave double four for the match.
Anderson overcame emerging German Gabriel Clemens and World Championship semi-finalist Jamie Lewis on his way to the last four, while Wright defeated Dragutin Horvat and Raymond van Barneveld on the day.
Van Gerwen overcame top-ranked German Max Hopp 6-4 in the first round, with Van Barneveld whitewashing Manfred Bilderl, Cross being a 6-4 winner over Stefan Stoyke and Lewis coming from 3-0 down to edge past Nico Kurz.
The German Darts Masters was the first of six global events being held on the PDC's World Series of Darts circuit this year.
The second U.S. Darts Masters will be held in Las Vegas in July as the World Series of Darts returns to action, before heading to Shanghai to complete a double-header.
German Darts Masters: Results
Best of 11 legs
- Raymond van Barneveld 6-0 Manfred Bilderl
- Jamie Lewis 6-5 Nico Kurz
- Mensur Suljovic 6-2 Robert Marijanovic
- Gary Anderson 6-2 Gabriel Clemens
- Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-0 Martin Schindler
- Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Max Hopp
- Peter Wright 6-1 Dragutin Horvat
- Rob Cross 6-4 Stefan Stoyke
Best of 15 legs
- Gary Anderson 8-6 Jamie Lewis
- Michael van Gerwen 3-8 Dimitri Van den Bergh
- Peter Wright 8-7 Raymond van Barneveld
- Rob Cross 7-8 Mensur Suljovic
Best of 15 legs
- Gary Anderson 7-8 Dimitri Van den Bergh
- Peter Wright 2-8 Mensur Suljovic
Best of 15 legs
- Dimitri Van den Bergh 2-8 Mensur Suljovic
World Series of Darts: 2018 Event Calendar
- German Darts Masters - May 25
- U.S. Darts Masters - July 3-7
- Shanghai Darts Masters - July 13-14
- 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