This weekend was scheduled to host the third event of the 2020 PDC European Tour – the German Darts Grand Prix. This tournament, as well as the European Darts Open, was rescheduled as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak. It has been tentatively rescheduled for July 31st – August 1st. So with the lack of professional darts to keep us entertained this weekend, here is a look back at the 2019 instalment.
The 2019 German Darts Grand Prix final saw World Number One Michael Van Gerwen take on Australian Simon Whitlock at Zenith, Munich. The Dutchman was seeking his thirtieth European Tour title, his opponent looking for only his second, having won the Dutch Darts Masters way back in 2012.
Van Gerwen arrived at the tournament having more trophies for the German Darts Grand Prix then Whitlock had European Tour titles in total, the Dutchman taking the titles in both 2017 and 2018. His first Grand Prix victory came after a 6-3 victory over soon-to-be World Champion Rob Cross. He backed this up the following year by overturning Peter Wright 8-5 (Euro Tour finals had been extended to best of fifteen legs in between these two tournaments).
The gulf between Whitlock and Van Gerwen was further emphasised by their head-to-head record going into the final. Of their thirty-nine career meetings, Whitlock had won just five. The previous fourteen contests had all gone in MvG’s favour; a run going back as far as October 2016.
Van Gerwen’s route to the final also showed the fantastic run of form he was in. He posted back-to-back 100+ averages against Ratajski, and then Bunting in his first two rounds. He was then pushed all the way by Ted Evetts in a 6-5 quarter-final match, before breezing past Rob Cross 7-1 in the semi-finals.
So with all this in mind, the way the final played out will not come as a surprise. MvG coasted into a 5-0 lead. He won legs in fourteen, fourteen, thirteen, twelve, and eleven darts respectively, breaking the Australian’s throw three times in the process.
Whitlock, clearly seeing that the final was out of his reach, began playing up to the crowd. He won three of the next four legs, to bring a clearly-annoyed Van Gerwen back to 6-3. ‘The Wizard’ then attempted a daring 145-out going for the bulls eye, treble fifteen, and bulls eye again, in the tenth leg. He unfortunately missed the second bull in the combination to claim the leg.
Van Gerwen swept in to clean up, and proceed to claim an 8-3 victory and another £25,000 cheque. Despite seemingly faltering in the middle of the match, his game average was still 106.45, showing the exceptionally high standards he has set for himself.
Unfortunately for Whitlock, despite making the final last year, when the Grand Prix is eventually held in 2020, he will not be in attendance, having dropped out of the Top 16 of the ProTour Order of Merit.
Similarly, Johnny Clayton, Max Hopp, Danny Noppert, and Darren Webster have also dropped out. They are to be replaced by Aspinall, Price, Ratajski, Durrant, and Jamie Hughes. Hopp is still set to attend as an invitee alongside Gabriel Clemens, the two being the best German players at the moment.
Thanks to James Smith for taking to time to entertain and inform Darts World readers.
Catch up with James’s choice of the six best matches to watch during lockdown here.
Featured Pic: Kelly / PDC Europe