Van Gerwen Retains Coral UK Open

Van Gerwen Retains Coral UK Open

NINE-DART hero Michael van Gerwen retained the Coral UK Open with an imperious 11-4 win over Peter Wright in Sunday's final at the Butlins Minehead Resort to continue his incredible start to 2016.

The Dutch superstar followed up Saturday's stunning nine-dart finish against amateur Rob Cross, which also featured two of four 170 checkouts he would land during the event, by powering to the £60,000 title in Sunday's finals day.

He firstly overcame the event's last remaining amateur ace, Essex's Barry Lynn, with a 10-6 quarter-final win before coming from 4-1 down to defeat great rival Phil Taylor by the same scoreline in the semis.

He then produced a master-class against Wright in a repeat of the 2015 final as he again swept to victory with a relentless display, taking charge with an early 4-1 lead before the Scot pulled back to 5-3.

A 105 finish from van Gerwen was followed by finishes of 88, 76 and 74 as he took five straight legs to move to the brink of victory, with Wright taking the 14th leg and the missing double 12 for a sensational nine-darter, only to see the Dutchman step in to complete victory with a 64 finish.

"I played really well and I'm really pleased to win another trophy," said van Gerwen, who has now won six PDC events during 2016 and averaged 106.68 in the final. "I had four 170 finishes, a nine-darter and won the tournament so it's fantastic.

"I'm working really hard and I'm glad it's paying off at the moment. I love this game and I love winning, this is a wonderful feeling.

"Peter is growing into one of the best players there is and he's getting better and better - but I'm glad I beat him today. I did the right thing at the right moment and he's a fantastic player, and sooner or later he is going to win a tournament."

Wright was left to claim the £30,000 runner-up cheque for the second successive year as his quest for a maiden major title continues, and the world number five said: "He's the best player on the planet.

"I'm disappointed that I didn't give him more of a game but I will work harder to try and get to Michael's level. He's a machine at the moment.

"It is coming for me - I learn every time I lose against these guys and it might take a little time but I will get there."

Taylor, a five-time UK Open champion, was joined in reaching the semi-finals by Dutch ace Jelle Klaasen, who followed up his run to the last four of the World Championship in the New Year with another strong display.

He hit back from 4-1 down against Wright to pull back to 6-5, but crucially missed two darts to level the semi-final as the Scot capitalised before pulling clear to seal a 10-5 win with a 127 checkout.

Klaasen, though, moves up to a career-high tenth on the PDC Order of Merit after picking up £17,000 in prize money, and said: "I'm disappointed at the moment but I'm happy with how the weekend went for me.

"I had a lot of chances and didn't take them. My doubles didn't go in during the semi-final and Peter was the better player and deserved to be in the final. I'll be back, and I'll work harder and be back a better player."

Taylor's run to the last four also saw him jump back above 2014 UK Open champion Adrian Lewis to third in the PDC Order of Merit, while Wright moved ahead of James Wade to return to fifth place.

The 128-player Coral UK Open was held at the Butlins Minehead Resort in Somerset, with play across eight stages simultaneously in the early rounds as professional stars and Rileys Amateur Qualifiers competed live on ITV4.