Dimitri Van den Bergh and Kim Huybrechts insist they are “fully committed” to Belgium’s bid to land a maiden World Cup of Darts title, despite their ongoing feud.
The pair are representing their nation at the team event for a sixth successive year, but there was obvious tension during their commanding 4-0 victory over Finland on Thursday.
Indeed, there was no handshake between the players, while they barely looked at each other throughout the contest.
Huybrechts, who previously appeared at the tournament alongside brother Ronny, later admitted: “For me, it is the first time playing a doubles tournament with someone you don’t get along with.”
While Van den Bergh declined to comment on the situation, fellow professional Vincent van der Voort claimed while appearing as a pundit on Viaplay that the pair were not on speaking terms due to the former World Matchplay finalist filing a complaint against his compatriot to the PDC.
The Belgian duo released a joint-statement on Friday, in which they were adamant the issues would not impede their quest for glory.
“Following last night’s win at the My Diesel Claim World Cup of Darts, we have sat down to discuss our recent differences,” the statement read.
“Whilst some issues remain to be resolved in the fullness of time, we are both fully committed to doing our best as a team to win the World Cup of Darts for Belgium, and to represent ourselves, our families and our country in the best light.
“That begins with tonight’s game against China, and our focus is now on preparing for that match as a team.”
Following Finland’s 4-0 rout of China earlier in the day, Belgium require only a single leg against the latter to progress to the second round as Group A winners.
Although, they will not be joined by Jose de Sousa’s Portugal, who crashed out following a humbling 4-1 defeat by a clinical Lithuania – their second in as many games.
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland’s Brendan Dolan and Daryl Gurney kept their qualifications hopes alive with a 4-0 victory over Ukraine, as did Mensur Suljovic’s Austria by defeating USA 4-2.
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Dimitri Van den Bergh stormed to the Dutch Darts Masters title after defeating Dirk van Duijvenbode 8-2 in the final on Saturday.
The Dream Maker, who also triumphed at the Nordic Darts Masters earlier this month, made it back-to-back World Series titles at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam.
The former World Matchplay champion dropped just seven legs on the way to claiming the third televised title of his career.
And the second seed sealed the deal in style; hitting six 180s and averaging 104.6 in a dominant win over the Titan.
“I had to be so strong in my mind. I was never playing Dirk; I was playing (the Dutch) support,” he said. “I gave my best and I managed to win.
“The crowd were backing Dirk so much and I understand them.
“I respect him so much; we’ve known each other for a long time.
“The Dream Maker is making his dreams come true.”
Avoiding the carnage of the earlier rounds, Van den Bergh had defeated three home favourites to reach the showpiece in Ron Meulenkamp, Jermaine Wattimena and Danny Noppert.
The Belgian, who hit a top checkout of 170 in the latter, made a flying start by going out in 14, 13 and 15 darts as he opened a commanding 4-0 lead.
World number 14 Van Duijvenbode, who took out 72 to stun James Wade 7-6 in the semi-finals, stopped the rot on double nine in the next after the Dream Maker missed three darts at double 16.
But the second seed regained his authority on proceedings; clinically checking out 72 for a 14-darter, before going out in 13 after nailing double 18 for 6-1.
After the Aubergenius replied, another 13-darter moved Van den Bergh to the brink of victory, which he secured with a ruthless 14-darter in the next leg.
“I just wasn’t good enough,” Van Duijvenbode added. “He played well, but I think I could’ve done better than I did.
“I’m just disappointed that I didn’t play a good game. I felt great, I felt a little bit unlucky some times… it just wasn’t my game.
“I love playing in front of a crowd that’s supporting you so much. I’m disappointed I didn’t win because you want to win it for them.
“This is the last TV tournament before the World Matchplay. Hopefully, I get another gear for that one.”
Saturday June 25
Martijn Kleermaker 4-6 Dirk van Duijvenbode
James Wade 6-4 Maik Kuivenhoven
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-1 Jermaine Wattimena
Danny Noppert 6-5 Vincent Van der Voort
Dirk van Duijvenbode 7-6 James Wade
Dimitri Van den Bergh 7-2 Danny Noppert
Dimitri Van den Bergh 8-2 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Dimitri Van den Bergh secured his first World Series title at the 2022 Nordic Darts Masters in Copenhagen with a dominant 11-5 defeat of Gary Anderson in the final.
Appearing in only his eighth World Series event, Van den Bergh emerged victorious to scoop the £20,000 top prize, securing his second senior televised title.
The Belgian star stormed to victory over Anderson in a one-sided final, denying the Scotsman a seventh World Series triumph.
The world number nine capitalised on a nightmare start from Anderson to establish an almost unassailable 8-0 advantage, and though Anderson rallied, he was unable to pull off an extraordinary comeback.
Van den Bergh fired in legs of 12 and 13 darts to seize the early initiative, and a stunning 130 finish in leg five continued the procession.
Anderson’s woes on the outer ring persisted as the Belgian extended his cushion, but the Scot suddenly sparked into life, reeling off four legs of his own to halve the deficit.
Van den Bergh moved to the brink of victory at 10-4 with clinical 86 and 72 combinations, only to spurn three match darts in leg 15, gifting Anderson a temporary reprieve.
However, the 27-year-old made no mistake moments later, following up a fourth 180 with a 14-darter to seal the deal.
“I have dreams. I am chasing my dreams, and winning against a player like Gary – that is going to help me,” said Van den Bergh.
“You know that Gary isn’t going to give it to you, you have to work for it, that’s what I had to do, and I managed to make myself a champion, against a player who is a champion.
“The sky is the limit. Just look at the trophy I’m holding in my hands. I’ve dreamed about it. I’ve managed to make my dreams come true.”
The two-time World Youth champion had opened the tournament on Friday with a whitewash win over Danish youngster Benjamin Drue Reus, setting the tone for a weekend of darting domination.
Van den Bergh averaged 99 in a 10-5 Quarter-Final win over Gerwyn Price, before halting Michael Smith’s bid for successive World Series titles with an emphatic 11-4 success in the Semi-Finals.
Anderson averaged 103 and posted nine 180s in a 10-4 demolition of World Champion Peter Wright in the last eight, before battling past James Wade in a gruelling semi-final.
Having won his previous six World Series finals, Anderson was unable to maintain his flawless record, but there were plenty of positives to take for the two-time World Champion.
“It’s been brilliant. Against James I was a little sluggish, but the way Dimitri played against Michael Smith, anybody would have been up against it,” the 51-year-old admitted.
“He played absolutely brilliantly. Hats off to him. He has a baby girl now. That might be her first trophy, but he’s got a big, big future ahead.
“There are a lot of great young players coming through, but the old guard can still play. We will give it a go!”
US Masters winner Smith had sealed his Semi-Final spot with a 10-6 win over last year’s runner-up Fallon Sherrock from 3-0 down, while Wade dispatched an out-of-sorts Michael van Gerwen 10-4 in the Last Eight ahead of their Premier League play-off meeting in Berlin on Monday.
Saturday June 11
Gerwyn Price 5-10 Dimitri van den Bergh
Michael Smith 10-6 Fallon Sherrock
Michael van Gerwen 4-10 James Wade
Peter Wright 4-10 Gary Anderson
Dimitri van den Bergh 11-4 Michael Smith
Gary Anderson 11-7 James Wade
Dimitri van den Bergh 11-5 Gary Anderson
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Dimitri van den Bergh claimed his first major title in fairy-tale fashion at the 2020 World Matchplay, sweeping aside Gary Anderson 18-10 in the final in Milton Keynes.
The 26-year-old, making his debut in the prestigious tournament, became only its tenth different winner since 1994 and the first Belgian to win a major PDC title.
Van den Bergh claimed the Phil Taylor trophy in emphatic style at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes, averaging almost 100 and hitting four ton-plus finishes in a dominant final display.
“My dreams have come true, I’m so happy,” said Van den Bergh. “I’m feeling very ecstatic, proud, and I’m feeling that hard work pays off.”
“I have so much respect for Gary, to beat him is showing me how far I have come and now I know I can win, I can’t believe this.
“The world is going through a very difficult time and the PDC, Barry Hearn and Matthew Porter have given me a chance to live my dreams when it hasn’t been possible for other, so thank you to them.”
During lock-down, Van den Bergh spent almost three months living with World Champion Peter Wright as he was unable to return home to Belgium.
He was quick to pay tribute to Wright’s impact both on and off the oche, adding: “I spent a lot of time with Peter over the lock-down and he has taught me so much, I’m so grateful to him and his family for everything they did for me during a difficult time.”
A nervy start to the final saw the pair struggle to find their range, with both averaging just 87 going in to the first break and Van den Bergh leading 3-2.
The quality increased during the second session, and five consecutive holds of throw saw the match level at 5-5, with both players settling in to the occasion.
The 11th and 12th legs saw two moments of magic, as first Anderson pinned double five for a 130 finish to break, before Van den Bergh took out 170 with Anderson stuck on 82 to level at 6-6.
Both players missed darts to break and take control of the match in the following legs but it was Van den Bergh who took an 8-7 lead into the third interval.
The 26-year-old, playing in his first ever televised ranking final, then took control of the match as he won four of the next five legs to open up a four leg advantage on Anderson.
Another incredible session for Van den Bergh saw him pull further clear of the two-time World Champion, starting with a stunning 124 finish on the bull, before another bullseye checkout in the following leg, this time 132.
Anderson was unable to get a foothold in the game and Van den Bergh went on to secure a 18-10 win just a few legs later, pocketing the £150,000 top prize.
The run to the final saw Anderson defend a major chunk of the ranking money he won as champion at the 2018 Betfred World Matchplay, but he conceded his opponent deserved the victory on the night.
“He played well right from the off, I just wasn’t there tonight,” admitted Anderson. “All credit to Dimitri, he is a lovely lad and deserves his win tonight.
“I’ve got a few weeks off now to sort a few things out, I had a few issues with my grip and darts dropping low but no excuses, he deserves it.”
Van den Bergh, who came in to the tournament as world number 26, ends it as world number 12 and is now assured of a place in November’s Grand Slam.
Dimitri van den Bergh believes he can “make history” by picking up his first major title in his debut World Matchplay campaign as he prepares for a show-down with Gary Anderson in Sunday’s final.
The 26-year-old has embarked on a remarkable debut run to his first major final and is within touching distance of becoming only the tenth different player to claim this prestigious title since 1994.
Van den Bergh had previously never been beyond the Quarter-Finals of a ranked PDC major but has produced his blistering best in Milton Keynes this week, defeating Nathan Aspinall, Joe Cullen, Adrian Lewis and Glen Durrant along the way.
The former World Youth Champion is the first World Matchplay debutant to reach the final since James Wade in 2006 and is bidding to become the first Belgian player to win a major PDC title.
“One more game before I can make history and before I can say I am a World Matchplay champion,” Van den Bergh told Live Darts.
“I’m not thinking about losing, even though I’m playing Gary Anderson, I’m only thinking about winning.
“It’s the Phil Taylor Trophy. I’ve seen that man win tournaments in a way that no one else has done before and I want to be that player who has his name on the trophy.
“I’m so proud to be in the final but I want to win it now. I’m in the final for a reason, and if I manage to win it will not be an upset.
“It’s because I’ve worked hard for it and kept digging in and believing in myself. I will need to be on top of it from the start to the end.
“Whatever Gary is thinking or feeling, I’m going to leave him to it and be busy with myself.
“I’ll be ready and I think I have a big chance to be one of those winners who everyone remembers.”
Van den Bergh’s exploits this week have already secured him a place in the world’s top 16 for the first time, and ‘The Dream Maker’ admits the run has already been “life-changing” regardless of Sunday’s result.
He added: “One hundred per cent this is life-changing, because before the start I was 26th, now a few weeks later I am in the top 16.
“These are things I’ve been thinking of but I didn’t think it would happen so fast.
“I’ve always been working hard for it and everything I’m accomplishing here is well deserved.”
This will be only the second competitive meeting between the two players, with Van den Bergh having prevailed 8-7 in the Semi-Finals of the 2018 German Masters World Series event.