Van Gerwen wins in Singapore
Michael van Gerwen won the inaugural Singapore Darts Masters with an 11-8 victory in the final over Simon Whitlock on Saturday night at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
After an excellent semi-final against James Wade - which saw the Dutchman prevail 11-9 despite the left-hander posting a 104.94 average - van Gerwen was the usual firm favourite heading into the final as he went on to claim his third World Series of Darts title, adding to back-to-back Dubai Darts Masters victories.
Earlier in the evening, the first semi-final involving Whitlock and Dave Chisnall got off to a flyer with both players averaging over 105 after just three legs, with both taking out a ton-plus finish in the process.
True to form between these two players, the game remained tight throughout, before Whitlock opened up a two-leg lead going into the second break. And that was the continuing story as Whitlock began to put clear daylight between himself and Chisnall, streaking into a 10-4 lead.
Chisnall - who had knocked out Phil Taylor in Friday's quarter-finals - delayed the inevitable to win a further two legs, but it was Whitlock who ultimately won out to book his place in the final, taking out double ten to finally seal the win.
In the second semi-final, Wade and van Gerwen traded blows to share the first four legs. Van Gerwen got off to a shaky start, missing six attempts at a double in the opening leg, but recovered to take out two ton-plus finishes in order to head into the first break 3-2 up.
Van Gerwen picked up where he left off following the break, winning the next two legs with ton-plus finishes, but Wade fought back to make it 5-5, including a superb 121 checkout as he levelled against the World Champion.
The next mini-session was equally as tight. Van Gerwen quickly reeled off two consecutive legs to go 7-5 up, but Wade returned to take the next three legs to lead 8-7.
The game of the tournament continued to be finely balanced, with back to back maximums as it stood at 8-8 and it was van Gerwen who took that leg to move 9-8 ahead.
Despite having the lower average, van Gerwen took his tenth leg against an inspired Wade, who was averaging just under 105 and was on top form once again as he made it 10-9.
However, it was the world champion who ultimately won out in a game that featured 11 maximum scores to set up the final against Australian ace Whitlock.
Van Gerwen wasted no time in racing to a 3-0 lead, but Whitlock wasn't about to make this final a foregone conclusion, taking out 122 before sealing the next leg to head into the first break just one leg behind.
Whitlock continued his form in the next mini-session, winning two of the next three legs to level at four-all, before van Gerwen found his form once more and took the next two to head into the second break 6-4 up, landing an 11-darter in the process.
Despite faltering after the restart, the Dutchman regained his composure to give himself a 9-6 lead and sign off for the third break by mouthing "I love you" to his new wife Daphne in the crowd, with the pair having travelled to Singapore directly from their honeymoon in Bali.
Van Gerwen then nailed a 170 finish to lead 10-7, and despite one final leg going to Whitlock, the World champion was all business as he claimed the Singapore Darts Masters title 11-8.
After being asked how it felt to win the inaugural tournament, van Gerwen said: "That feels great, there's a big market for darts in Asia and we've all done a great job to bring the sport to the people over here. This means a lot to me, it's a fantastic win.
"Simon never gave up - he never does - so you have to try 200 percent when you play him. It's been great here in Singapore, I'd like to thank the fans and everyone who bought a ticket, but I was here for one thing only, to win the trophy."