MICHAEL VAN GERWEN'S incredible run of form continued as he claimed a third successive televised title at the inaugural Unibet World Series of Darts Finals in Glasgow on Sunday night, defeating Peter Wright 11-10 in a superb final.
World number one van Gerwen has won the European Championship and Grand Slam of Darts titles this month, and claimed the £30,000 first prize at the Braehead Arena with some stunning darts.
Van Gerwen, the winner of May's Dubai Darts Masters in the first of five international World Series events this year, was outstanding in his defeats of Raymond van Barneveld and Adrian Lewis to reach the final.
He then held off Wright's fightback from 4-0 down, as the Scot moved 5-4 up and also led 10-9 before the Dutchman produced a stunning 11-darter in the deciding leg.
"It feels amazing to also win this tournament and it's a good feeling," admitted van Gerwen, who took home a £30,000 first prize. "I had to play really well and I think this was a fantastic final, one of the best.
"Peter's a fantastic player and sooner or later he'll win a TV tournament, but I played well when I had to, especially at the end.
"The 129 was better than the 170 finish, but then the 180 afterwards was even better again because Peter put the pressure on me with a 140 at the start of the last leg, and I can see how strong I am when I need to be.
"The level at the moment is phenomenal and I'm really glad to be a part of that. I'm feeling great and I'm probably playing the best darts of my life.
"I want to win everything but it was a pleasure to play in this event and I think I deserved to win this trophy."
Van Gerwen made a storming start to the final, winning the opening four legs without reply, twice punishing Wright for missed doubles and landing back-to-back 14-darters.
Wright hit back with a 14-dart leg of his own in the fifth before a superb 121 bull finish was followed by a second successive 12-darter, and he added another 180 to level and double eight to amazingly move 5-4 up.
Van Gerwen stopped him in his tracks with a sensational 170 checkout, but Wright held throw to win two of the next three before the Dutchman hit 180s in successive legs to move 8-7 up.
Wright, though, again responded as he took out a 116 checkout to break and level and a 13-darter to move 9-8 up, and after van Gerwen took the 18th with another 12-dart finish the Scot posted double nine to move a leg away from his first televised title.
Wright then hit a 180 to leave 90 in the 20th leg, only to see van Gerwen produce a killer 129 checkout on the bull to force a decider.
Wright's two 140s were bettered by a 180 from van Gerwen as he left 50 after nine darts, and when the home favourite was unable to take out 121, the Dutchman stepped in to land double 16 for an 11-darter and glory.
Wright has previously lost to van Gerwen in the World Championship, Dubai Darts Masters and UK Open finals, and admitted: "It was a good final and I really enjoyed it - and I'm getting closer.
"The 129 was a fantastic shot and Michael played brilliantly in the last leg, and that's why he's number one in the world.
"Michael's a different class above everyone else at the moment, and for me to get that close, having been using these darts for a few weeks, I'm pretty happy and it won't be long before it's my turn.
"I'm pushing Michael and it was good to give him a game because the last time we played I didn't, and there's more to come from me. The support was incredible and I can only thank the fans for their support."
Wright had earlier defeated 16-time World Champion Phil Taylor 11-9 in another thrilling contest, taking a 6-3 lead in mid-game and holding off the Stoke legend's fightback to close out the win.
Van Gerwen had been unstoppable in his 11-5 semi-final win over Adrian Lewis, hitting a 108 average and nine 180s in a stunning display.
Lewis - August's Auckland Darts Masters champion - averaged over 100 himself after averaging 105 in his quarter-final win over Terry Jenkins, and admitted: "I lost to the best player in the world at the minute and he was just too good tonight.
"I missed a few doubles early on and he got ahead of me, but I really enjoyed the tournament and it's been another learning curve for me. I'm putting a lot of work in at the moment and the results will start to come."
Unibet World Series of Darts Finals
Sunday November 22
James Wade 6-10 Peter Wright
Phil Taylor 10-3 Stephen Bunting
Adrian Lewis 10-6 Terry Jenkins
Raymond van Barneveld 8-10 Michael van Gerwen
Best of 19 legs
Phil Taylor 9-11 Peter Wright
Adrian Lewis 5-11 Michael van Gerwen
Best of 21 legs
Peter Wright 10-11 Michael van Gerwen
Best of 21 legs
PHIL TAYLOR, Peter Wright, Michael van Gerwen and Adrian Lewis produced outstanding displays to progress to the semi-finals of the Unibet World Series of Darts Finals on Sunday afternoon.
Taylor, who won three of the international World Series events in Japan, Perth and Sydney earlier in 2015, continued his challenge to claim the £30,000 first prize in Glasgow with a clinical 10-3 quarter-final win over Stephen Bunting.
Taylor took the opening five legs without reply and also led 7-1 as a 121 checkout saw him pull clear, and though Bunting hit a 128 bullseye finish in a brief rally, the 16-time World Champion proved too strong.
Taylor now faces Peter Wright in the semi-finals as the tournament's decisive final session kicks off on Sunday evening, and is aiming to go all the way to another victory at the Braehead Arena.
"Going 5-0 up was important but Stephen didn't give up," said Taylor. "He's a good player and a good lad and he's getting back to his best.
"It's a great challenge tonight and I'd love to win this title."
Wright also averaged over 100 as he defeated James Wade 10-6 in their last eight contest, although the Scottish-born ace did much of the damage as he led 5-1 and 9-3.
Wade checked out 161, 96 and tops to win three legs to reply, but Wright - June's Japan Darts Masters runner-up - followed an eighth 180 with a 74 checkout as he secured his last four spot.
"I've played James a lot this year and he's playing some fantastic darts, but he missed some doubles today and I took advantage of it," said Wright.
"He was coming back and I know how he can reel off the legs, so I was happy to get over the winning line."
World number one Michael van Gerwen's bid to win a third successive televised tournament saw him come from 8-6 down to win 10-8 in a high-quality contest with Dutch rival Raymond van Barneveld.
Van Gerwen took out finishes of 146 and 126 as he shared the opening eight legs, before van Barneveld's 127 bull checkout helped him to break throw as he moved 7-4 up.
Van Gerwen's ten-dart finish was followed by another bullseye from van Barneveld as he took out 81 to lead 8-6, only for van Gerwen to turn the game on its head with legs of 13 and 12 darts before punishing single misses from his rival in the next two to seal victory with a 106.42 average.
"Raymond played well but I felt more comfortable as the game went on and I'm really happy with how I played," said van Gerwen, who won the Dubai Darts Masters title in May.
"The 106 average was massive but I needed to do that and I hope I can carry this on in the semi-finals and final."
Lewis, meanwhile, was back to his brilliant best as he averaged over 105 in a 10-6 win over Terry Jenkins, who had knocked out World Champion Gary Anderson on Saturday and landed eight 180s in another strong display.
Lewis, though, took six legs from seven as he turned an early 2-1 deficit into a 7-3 lead, before holding off Jenkins' rally to close out the win and progress to a clash with van Gerwen.
"Terry was hitting 180s pretty much every time I looked up and he was at his best there, so I'm happy to get over the line," said Lewis.
"I finished number two in the World Series rankings and I've done half of the job, now it's time to finish it off tonight."
James Wade v Peter Wright
1-0 - Wright hits the game's first 180, but misses the bull to finish 121 to allow Wade in, and the left-hander takes out a two-dart 100 checkout.
1-1 - Wright finishes 80 on tops to level matters.
1-2 - Wade fires in a 177 and Wright posts a 180, and when the left-hander misses two darts at tops, the colourful Scot steps in to finish 79 in two darts on double 11 for a break of throw.
1-3 - Wright lands another 180, and when Wade misses double 12 to finish 141 the Japan Darts Masters runner-up takes out double ten.
1-4 - Wade hits his first 180, but double 16 sees Wright win a fourth straight leg.
1-5 - Wright opens with a 180 before finishing double 16 for a 14-darter to move four legs clear.
2-5 - Wright misses two darts at double 18, allowing Wade in on double ten to hit back.
2-6 - Wright takes out 52 on double 16 to restore his lead.
3-6 - Double 12 sees Wade respond once more.
3-7 - Wade open with a 180, but misses six darts at double top, ten and five to allow Wright in on double ten to regain his cushion.
3-8 - Wright takes out a fine 121 checkout on double 18.
3-9 - Wright hits a fifth 180 of the game before double eight moves him a leg away from the semi-finals.
4-9 - Both players land 180s before Wade takes out a brilliant 161 checkout to keep his challenge alive.
5-9 - Wade's revival continues as he takes out 96.
6-9 - Wright hits an eighth 180, but misses two match darts at double 12 as Wade lands tops to take a third successive leg.
6-10 - Wright finishes 74 on double 16 to seal his semi-final spot.
Phil Taylor v Stephen Bunting
1-0 - Bunting misses double 12 for a 144 finish, and Taylor takes out tops to break throw immediately.
2-0 - Bunting opens with a 180, but double 12 sees Taylor move two legs up.
3-0 - Taylor lands a maximum and double ten to claim another break.
4-0 - Bunting scores 180 and 171 but misses three darts at doubles, allowing Taylor in on double four to claim a fourth straight leg.
5-0 - Taylor sets up a possible nine-darter with two 180s, and though he is unable to complete a perfect leg he returns to post double 16 for a 12-darter to claim a fifth straight leg.
5-1 - Bunting matches Taylor's six perfect darts with two maximums, before winning the leg on double 16 to claim his first leg of the game.
6-1 - Taylor breaks throw in reply by hitting double 16.
7-1 - Taylor takes out 121 on double eight to move six legs clear.
7-2 - Bunting finishes 128 on the bull to reply superbly.
8-2 - Taylor completes a 13-darter on double 16, moving two legs away from the semi-finals.
8-3 - Bunting hits back by finishing double six.
9-3 - Double 16 sees Taylor move a leg away from the win.
10-3 - Bunting hits his fifth 180 of the gane, but misses double 16 and Taylor steps in to finish 103 as he claims the win, ending the game with a 104.18 average and ten doubles from 14 attempts.
Adrian Lewis v Terry Jenkins
0-1 - Jenkins opens with a 180 and finishes 97 with a single 19, double 19, double top combination.
1-1 - Jenkins adds another maximum, but Lewis finishes double 16 to level.
1-2 - Double four sees Jenkins edge back ahead.
2-2 - Lewis opens with a 180 before finishing double six for a 14-darter.
3-2 - Jenkins fires in a 180, but Lewis takes out 100 on tops for a 12-darter to claim the first break of throw and move ahead.
4-2 - Tops sees Lewis move two legs clear.
4-3 - Both players land 180s before Jenkins responds by finishing 62 on double 16 to win his first leg in four.
5-3 - The pair trade 180s once more, and Lewis lands double two to move halfway to victory.
6-3 - Jenkins fires in his sixth 180 of the game, but missed doubles allow Lewis in on tops to move three legs clear.
7-3 - Lewis hits a fourth maximum before another double top finish sees him extend his cushion.
7-4 - Jenkins opens with 180 and 140 before hitting tops to respond.
8-4 - Lewis finishes double 16 to restore a four-leg lead.
9-4 - Lewis fires in a 180 in an 11-darter as tops moves him a leg away from the win.
9-5 - Once again the players both hit a 180 in the leg before Jenkins finishes 76 in the bull to keep his hopes alive.
9-6 - Jenkins takes out 57 on tops to continue his fightback.
10-6 - Lewis hits his seventh 180 before finishing 56 on tops to seal a superb victory, ending with a 105.19 average.
Raymond van Barneveld v Michael van Gerwen
1-0 - van Gerwen misses double seven for a break of throw, and van Barneveld takes out double eight for the opening leg.
1-1 - van Gerwen takes out a superb 146 finish on double 13 to level.
1-2 - The world number one opens with a 180 before finishing double 16 for a 14-dart leg to break throw.
2-2 - van Barneveld lands a 180 before finishing 62 on double 16 to break back.
3-2 - van Barneveld initially misses tops for a 142 finish before returning on double ten to regain the lead.
3-3 - van Gerwen finishes 65 on tops to level.
4-3 - van Barneveld posts a 180 and double eight to edge back in front.
4-4 - A 180 and a 126 checkout see van Gerwen hit back once more.
5-4 - van Gerwen hits a 180 to leave 86, but misses two darts at doubles as van Barneveld returns on double 16 to hold throw.
6-4 - van Gerwen fires in a 174 score, but van Barneveld finishes a superb 127 on the bull for a break of throw to move two legs clear.
7-4 - Both players land 180s before double ten moves van Barneveld three legs clear.
7-5 - The pair each hit maximums for a second successive leg, with van Barneveld wiring double 18 to finish 76 as van Gerwen takes out double 16 to hit back.
7-6 - van Gerwen hits a 180 and adds a 168 before landing double eight for a superb ten-darter to break throw.
8-6 - van Gerwen fires in a 171 score, but van Barneveld hits the bull to take out 81 as he breaks back to regain some breathing space.
8-7 - van Gerwen opens with 180 and 140 before finishing double 16 for a 13-darter.
8-8 - van Gerwen finishes 116 on double 18 for a 12-darter to level the contest.
8-9 - van Barneveld misses tops for a 142 checkout, and van Gerwen takes out 57 on tops to break throw, win his third straight leg and move a leg away from victory.
8-10 - van Barneveld opens up with 140 and 180, but misses double eight to finish 96, and van Gerwen hits the same bed to complete a brilliant victory, averaging 106.
Phil Taylor v Peter Wright
0-1 - Double six gives Wright the opening leg with a break of throw.
0-2 - Wright doubles his lead by taking out 76 on double eight.
1-2 - Taylor lands a 180 and double 16 to win his first leg.
1-3 - Taylor opens with a 180, but misses four darts at doubles to allow Wright back in on double six.
2-3 - Taylor kicks off with a 177 score before punishing Wright's missed bullseye by landing double eight.
2-4 - Taylor is unable to take out 91 to punish Wright's initial error on a 106 finish, as the Scottish-born ace returns on double 16.
3-4 - Taylor powers in a second 177 of the game before hitting double 16 to respond.
3-5 - Wright fires in a 180 before hitting double eight to restore his lead.
3-6 - Taylor is unable to capitalise on Wright's missed bull as the colourful ace returns on double eight to break throw.
4-6 - Taylor fires in a 171 score to leave 36, and when Wright misses two darts at double eight to create a four-leg gap, the Stoke star steps in on double 18 to break back.
5-6 - Wright hits a 180, but Taylor lands double 16 as he cuts the gap to just one leg.
5-7 - Double ten sees Wright edge away.
6-7 - Taylor hits two 180s in successive as Wright also hits a maximum, before the Englishman takes out 100 on tops for an 11-darter.
6-8 - Taylor this time opens with a 177 before Wright lands a 180, and when the 16-time World Champion misses two darts at tops for another 100 checkout, Wright finishes 116 on tops to regain his lead.
7-8 - Wright kicks off with a 180 but is unable to break throw as Taylor finishes double four.
7-9 - Double top sees Wright move two legs away from victory.
8-9 - Taylor finishes 80 on double ten to stay in touch once more.
8-10 - Wright finishes 56 on tops to move a leg away from the final.
9-10 - Both players hit 180s to leave finishes, but Wright misses two darts at double 12 for the win before Taylor steps in on tops to save the match.
9-11 - Taylor is unable to finish 109 to force a deciding leg, and Wright lands tops to move into the Unibet World Series of Darts Final.
Adrian Lewis v Michael van Gerwen
0-1 - Lewis fires in an early 174 before missing three darts at doubles, allowing van Gerwen in on double 19 to claim the opener.
0-2 - van Gerwen takes out 74 on tops to double his lead.
0-3 - van Gerwen fires in two 180s in the leg before punishing Lewis for missing the bull by taking out double ten for an 11-darter.
1-3 - Lewis takes out 56 on tops to win his first leg.
1-4 - van Gerwen lands another maximum before finishing 130 on double five to restore his three-leg lead.
1-5 - Tops sees van Gerwen move four legs clear.
2-5 - van Gerwen misses the bull to finish 124, and Lewis takes out 74 on double 16 to hit back.
2-6 - The world number one opens with a 180 before finishing 101 on double 16.
2-7 - van Gerwen's superb finishing continues with a bullseye, double top combination.
2-8 - van Gerwen lands a 180 and tops as he pulls six legs clear of his opponent.
3-8 - van Gerwen misses tops and Lewis takes out 80 to respond with his third leg.
3-9 - van Gerwen's sixth 180 sets up an 84 finish as he moves two legs away from the final.
4-9 - Both players land 180s before Lewis finishes 61 on tops to win a fourth leg of the game.
5-9 - Lewis breaks throw as both players land 180s before van Gerwen's missed bull allows his rival in to hit tops.
5-10 - Lewis misses double five to finish 85, and van Gerwen takes out 60 on tops as he moves to the brink of victory.
5-11 - van Gerwen opens with his ninth 180 before landing double ten to secure an outstanding win.
Peter Wright v Michael van Gerwen
0-1 - van Gerwen hits the final's first 180 before both players initially miss double 12 and six, allowing the Dutchman back in on double three to break throw immediately.
0-2 - The world number one hits another maximum before finishing 68 on double two to move two legs up.
0-3 - van Gerwen takes out 70 on double eight with a two-dart combination to break throw again.
0-4 - Wright opens with a 180 but misses top for a 116 finish, and van Gerwen takes out 78 to continue his brilliant start.
1-4 - Wright claims his first leg of the game by finishing 32.
2-4 - van Gerwen opens with a maximum but misses two darts at double 16 and eight, and Wright steps in with a brilliant 121 bull finish for a 12-darter.
3-4 - Wright's revival continues as he lands a 180 and an 86 finish to claim a third straight leg.
4-4 - Wright levels by hitting another 180 and double 12.
5-4 - Wright misses the bull to finish 170, but returns to take out double eight to amazingly move in front with a fifth successive leg.
5-5 - van Gerwen hits back brilliantly by checking out 170.
6-5 - Wright opens with a 180 before finishing tops to move back ahead.
6-6 - Wright misses three darts at double across two visits to punish van Gerwen's five misses, as the Dutchman returns on double one to level.
7-6 - van Gerwen misses double 16 to finish 152, and Wright hits the same bed to edge back ahead.
7-7 - van Gerwen lands a 180 before missing a dart at a double, but Wright wires double 12 for a 101 finish to allow the Dutchman back on double ten.
7-8 - van Gerwen wrestles back the lead with a break of throw, hitting another 180 before landing tops.
8-8 - Wright hits back immediately by finishing 116 on tops to break and level.
9-8 - Double 16 sees Wright regain the lead.
9-9 - van Gerwen hits a 180 before finishing 62 on double 16 to square the match - effectively creating a best-of-three leg tie.
10-9 - van Gerwen misses two darts at double 14 to take out 85, and Wright finishes a third-dart double nine as he moves to the brink of his first televised title.
10-10 - Wright hits a 180 to leave 90, but can only watch on as van Gerwen finishes 129 on the bull to force a deciding leg for the title.
10-11 - Wright kicks off with two 140s and van Gerwen lands a 180, with Wright unable to finish 121 before van Gerwen steps in to finish 50 for an 11-darter to claim the victory.
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