sport

Van Gerwen wins in style

Michael van Gerwen hit a nine-dart finish and a 170 checkout in defeating Dave Chisnall 6-1 in the final of Sunday's second UK Open Qualifier.

The Dutch youngster claimed his first full PDC ProTour victory since 2009 with the triumph in Crawley, with the 6,000 prize money sealing his place in June's UK Open televised finals and putting him in a strong position to reach July's World Matchplay.

However, the manner in which van Gerwen took the win showed flashes of the brilliance which brought him to prominence as a teenager back in 2006.

The 22-year-old had defeated Bristol's Steve Brown and recent Tour Card winners Stuart Kellett and Richie Howson before hitting top gear in his last 16 contest with Jamie Caven, winning 6-2 and taking the final four legs in 11, 12, 11 and 15 darts.

He then powered past World Championship finalist Andy Hamilton 6-2 in the quarter-finals and whitewashed Simon Whitlock 6-0 in the semis, before claiming the title in style.

After taking the opening leg of the final in 13 darts, he broke Chisnall's throw on tops before the St Helens man took out 85 on the bull to win the third.

Van Gerwen's reply was senational, as he hit 180 and 177 before finishing 144 on double 12 for a nine-dart finish - his first since the 2006 Masters of Darts in Holland - to lead 3-1.

Chisnall missed double eight for a 123 finish in the next, with van Gerwen posting double four to move 4-1 up and then brilliantly taking out 170 for a 12-darter, after Chisnall missed the bull for a 121 checkout.

The youngster then sealed a brilliant win on double six, finishing the final with an average of 108.03.

"It's very special for me," said van Gerwen, who has shown new found confidence since winning four PDC Unicorn Youth Tour events in 2011.

"To win a tournament with a nine-darter and a 170 finish is great. I know I can play like this but you have to do it when it counts in tournaments, and I'm very proud that I did today.

"In the last four games I played very well against four players who are all in the top 32 and brilliant players, so if you do that then you can win anything.

"I played well in the Grand Slam of Darts and World Championship at the end of last year, and the Youth Tour was great for me.

"In the three ProTour events so far this year my scoring's been great but in all three matches I lost, I've missed lots of match darts, but I hit my doubles at the right time today.

"I hope I can continue this now and this is a big step for me."

Chisnall had won his maiden PDC ProTour title in Crawley last year, but had to settle for the 3,000 runner-up cheque following the defeat to van Gerwen.

Chisnall had defeated three other Dutchman during the event, Mareno Michels, Roland Shcolten and Vincent van der Voort, as well as seeing off Spain's Antonio Alcinas, Steve Farmer and Michael Mansell.

Van der Voort showed that he has recovered from the stomach bug which struck him during the Netherlands' run to the World Cup of Darts semi-finals last weekend by reaching the last four in Crawley.

He was joined in the semis by in-form Australian Whitlock who was also in the last four of the World Cup, drew with Raymond van Barneveld as the Premier League Darts began on Thursday and reached the same stage in Saturday's UK Open Qualifier.

Swindon's Johnny Haines reached the quarter-finals for the first time in the PDC since earning his Tour Card at Qualifying School last month, and was joined in the last eight by Scholten, Hamilton and Andy Smith.