An inspired Michael van Gerwen produced a series of imperious displays to clinch the inaugural Superbet Poland Darts Masters title with victory over Dimitri Van den Bergh in Warsaw on Saturday.
Van Gerwen claimed US Darts Masters glory in New York last month, and he made it back-to-back titles on the World Series stage with a staggering 113.22 average against Van den Bergh – the highest average ever produced in a World Series of Darts final.
The Dutchman was playing through the pain barrier following his recent dental surgery, but a trio of exceptional performances catapulted him to his third televised title of 2023.
Van Gerwen was in merciless mood throughout the day in the Polish capital, relinquishing just five legs in emphatic victories over Luke Humphries and Michael Smith earlier in the evening.
The 34-year-old averaged over 110 to dispatch Humphries in the last eight, and a 104 average was enough to brush aside world number one Smith in quick-fire semi-final showdown.
Van den Bergh drew first blood in Saturday’s showpiece with a brilliant 11-darter, but Van Gerwen soon seized control of the final, reeling off three consecutive legs in 13, 13 and 12 darts to move 3-1 ahead.
The Belgian halted Van Gerwen’s charge in leg five, but normal service was soon resumed for the Dutchman, who fired in legs of 11, 16, 11 and 12 darts to move to the cusp of victory at 7-2.
Van den Bergh – who averaged 101 himself – produced back-to-back 180s en route to claiming a third leg, but it simply delayed the inevitable, as Van Gerwen sealed the deal with a clinical 86 checkout.
“I’ve just come back from surgery and I’ve had a really tough couple of weeks,” reflected Van Gerwen, who will be aiming to defend his Betfred World Matchplay crown in Blackpool next week.
“You have to stand up and you have to battle. I always say if I am competing in something, I want to win it, and this feels amazing.
“Dimitri played well in the final, but this weekend I think I was unstoppable.
“Fair play to all the Polish darts fans. Honestly, I didn’t expect this. The atmosphere blew me away, and I hope I can come back here next year.”
Van den Bergh – celebrating his 29th birthday on Saturday – also impressed in Warsaw, defeating Krzysztof Ratajski and Gerwyn Price to reach his fifth final on the World Series circuit.
The former World Matchplay champion averaged 105 to defeat Karel Sedlacek in Friday’s first round, and he ended home hopes with victory over Poland’s number one Ratajski in the quarter-finals.
The Belgian then won through a last-leg thriller against top seed Price in the last four, producing a brace of 12-dart breaks in the latter stages to deny Wales’ World Cup winner.
“Michael was so good once again, but he knows I’m chasing him,” quipped the two-time World Youth Champion.
“I’m going to beat him one time. I believe I can, but fair play to Michael, he was fantastic.
“You’re playing against the best players in the world. What an atmosphere, what a crowd. It was amazing, and I had a beautiful birthday.”
Earlier in the night, Price won through a high-quality encounter against Nathan Aspinall, averaging 99 to run out a 6-3 winner in a contest which featured four ton-plus finishes.
Meanwhile, World Champion Smith fought back from 3-1 down to defeat Danny Noppert, sealing the deal with a sequence of eight perfect darts to defy a 103 average from the Dutchman.
The World Series of Darts continues next month, as the PDC’s annual trip Down Under sees the New Zealand Darts Masters take place in Hamilton, before Wollongong plays host to the New South Wales Darts Masters a week later.