Glen Durrant ended Michael van Gerwen’s reign as World Series Finals champion with a 6-4 victory in the Last 16…
Glen Durrant ended Michael van Gerwen’s reign as World Series Finals champion with a 6-4 victory in the Last 16 in Salzburg on Saturday.
Van Gerwen had won four of the tournament’s five previous stagings, but was subjected to an early exit by his new rival, who claimed a fourth win in six over the Dutchman.
A 1,500 sell-out crowd at the Salzburgarena saw Van Gerwen and Durrant share the opening eight legs before a pivotal 68 checkout from the Middlesbrough marksman punished MVG’s miss at double 16.
Van Gerwen then squandered a dart at tops to force a decider, and Durrant needed no second invitation to take out that very double for another impressive win with a 102.5 average.
“That’s a great win for me,” said Durrant, who finished six doubles from nine attempts. “I felt good tonight and I knew what was at stake – I realised I was playing the best player in the world.
“He’s the biggest challenge in the world right now and the second greatest player who’s ever picked up a set of darts.
“My CV compared to him is a million miles away – I think I’ve got an issue in his head, and that could be with the pace, but that’s something he has to deal with, not me.
“I know I’m a good player but this has all come really quickly. I’ve got to be really proud and I believe I’m up there with the best double hitters in the world right now. I’m in a fantastic place.”
James Wade, the 2018 champion, will face Durrant in the Last Eight after he opened up with a 6-3 victory over Canada’s Jeff Smith.
Smith fired in finishes of 123 and 111 as he levelled at two apiece, but Wade took the next three legs, including a 102 checkout, to pull clear, before closing out a solid victory with a 97 average.
“It was quite nice to play in front of a crowd, it was good fun,” said the number eight seed. “Perhaps the break has done me the world of good in some ways, and I’m grateful to be back.”
Gerwyn Price’s bid to win a third successive tournament began in superb fashion as the world number three averaged 102 in a 6-3 win over Vincent van der Voort.
Price’s break of throw in the opening leg proved crucial in putting him into the ascendancy, and after the pair traded 13-darters in mid-match the Welsh ace posted a 124 finish and then sealed victory with a 14-dart leg.
“I was under pressure all the way through the game but I stuck to my game and got over the winning line,” said Price.
“I knew I was in for a tough game but thankfully he wasn’t firing on all cylinders. I’m still playing well but I need to be on my A-game against Nathan.
“It’s nice to have the crowd back, I was enjoying it and it was a bit different. It was a little bit jittery in parts but I enjoyed it.”
Nathan Aspinall raced into the Quarter-Finals with a 6-1 demolition of Lithuania’s Darius Labanauskas, who was only afforded one dart at a double.
Aspinall opened the tie with a 14-darter before taking out 142 to double his lead, while an 11-darter gave him the third before Labanauskas hit back by taking out 72 on tops.
However, Aspinall restored his cushion before following up a 13-darter with a 100 finish to move into Sunday’s final stages with a 101 average.
“I played well and I’m into the final day,” said Aspinall. “I used the five days in Germany as preparation for this weekend and I want to do the job – my target is to win it this weekend.
“I love playing in front of the crowd and the fans make the sport so good. We’ve missed them and tonight was special – I loved every minute of it.
“I was looking forward to it so much to play in front of people again. It felt like my TV debut again, I had butterflies before I walked on, and it’s one of the most enjoyable games I’ve played in my career.”
World Champion Peter Wright overcame the challenge of Australian ace Damon Heta, enjoying a 6-3 win as he set up a clash with Daryl Gurney.
The Scot benefitted from the better start, finishing 70, 68 on the bull and double 16 as he took the first three legs to move halfway to victory.
Heta won three of the next five, but Wright followed up legs of 14 and 12 darts with a 13-darter as he wrapped up victory with a 101 average.
“It was okay – I wanted to go up and do better than that, but to get the win was the most important thing,” said Wright.
“It was amazing to have the fans back. I interacted with the crowd and they were fantastic.”
Gurney averaged an impressive 102 as he overcame Cody Harris 6-2 to book his spot on the final day in Salzburg.
The two-time World Series finalist produced checkouts of 107 and 124, landed two 14-darters and a 13-dart leg as he opened up a 5-2 lead, before ending the New Zealander’s hopes on tops in leg eight.
“I played well tonight, and as long as you’re winning that’s all that matters,” said Gurney.
“I’ve got to get used to playing in front of a crowd again, tonight there was an extra incentive because you want to go out there and put in a performance.
“I played okay in the Autumn Series and I’ve been trying to be more positive in myself. For the last year and a half I’ve been practising the best I’ve ever practised and I’ve not been taking it onto stage.
“Tonight I felt a lot fresher but I’m still learning and the best’s still to come.”
Rob Cross produced the night’s most dominant display by whitewashing an out of sorts Steve Beaton 6-0.
Cross denied Beaton a dart at a double in the opening five legs – finishing 90 in the opener and a 12-darter in leg three – before punishing four misses from the former Lakeside Champion to close out the win.
“I feel really good,” said Cross. “I’ve changed my set-up and my practice game is so much better than I showed tonight, but I’m glad to get the win.
“I enjoyed it. It was a little bit weird with Steve not playing his best, but it was amazing to have the crowd again. I can look forward to tomorrow now.”
Cross will now face Michael Smith after the 2018 finalist edged out Krzysztof Ratajski 6-4 to progress to the final day.
Smith hit back from a leg down to lead 2-1, only to see the Polish ace take three of the next four to regain the advantage at 4-3.
However, double 14 for Smith levelled before he crucially broke in leg nine on tops, before hitting the same bed for a second successive 14-darter as he sealed his place in the last eight.
“I’m feeling good,” said Smith. “It was a bit of a struggle but I managed to keep my cool and finally get there in the end.”
World Series Finals 2020 Results
Saturday September 19
James Wade 6-3 Jeff Smith
Nathan Aspinall 6-1 Darius Labanauskas
Daryl Gurney 6-2 Cody Harris
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Vincent van der Voort
Rob Cross 6-0 Steve Beaton
Peter Wright 6-3 Damon Heta
Glen Durrant 6-4 Michael van Gerwen
Michael Smith 6-4 Krzysztof Ratajski