Michael van Gerwen successfully defended his New Zealand Darts Masters title, crushing fellow Dutchman Raymond van Barneveld 8-1 in the final at Hamilton's Claudelands Arena tonight.
The match was a repeat of last year's decider, as van Barneveld, in his final year on the world tour, attempted to win a first title in New Zealand after reaching the final for the third time in the tournament's five-year history.
Van Gerwen rated his efforts on Friday night as "crap" after labouring to a 6-5 victory over Kyle Anderson, with the Australian missing four match darts. But the three-time world champion went from strength to strength tonight, starting with his quarter-final against Gary Anderson.
Van Gerwen trailed the Scotsman 5-4 but then reeled off three 11-dart finishes in four legs to surge to an 8-5 win, averaging an impressive 106.33, the only triple-figure average of the tournament.
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He then outclassed Rob Cross 8-3 in the semifinals before his 8-1 demolition of van Barneveld in the final to claim his 50th TV title.
Van Barneveld enjoyed plenty of support from the Hamilton crowd as he advanced to the final, beating Daryl Gurney 8-6 in the quarter-finals and James Wade 8-5 in the semifinals.
Like van Gerwen, van Barneveld also came close to a first-round defeat on Friday, beating Cody Harris 6-5 but only after the New Zealand No 1 had missed a match dart at the bullseye.
Kiwi Ben Robb's run ended with an 8-3 defeat to Cross in the quarter-finals. Cross, the 2018 world champion who last month took out the world matchplay title, raced to a 5-0 lead as Robb struggled to convert his doubles early on.
Robb averaged a respectable 96.48 — only slightly behind the 96.59 of Cross — but his checkout percentage was a more modest 25 compared with 57 for Cross, who went into the match as a $1.07 favourite.
Robb became just the second Kiwi to win a match in this tournament when he beat Australian Simon Whitlock 6-4 on Friday night.
No 1 seed Peter Wright fell to Wade 8-4 in their quarter-final.