SUPER SULJOVIC'S GERMAN DARTS MASTERS GLORY

MENSUR SULJOVIC overcame Dimitri Van den Bergh 8-2 to claim glory in the German Darts Masters in front of a record-breaking 20,000 fans at the Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen on Friday.

The Austrian star claimed only the second televised title of his career as he claimed glory on the PDC World Series of Darts circuit for a first time.

Both Suljovic and Van den Bergh had battled through the 16-player field to reach the final on a bumper day in front of a world record crowd, before the Champions League of Darts winner took the £20,000 title.

Suljovic followed up his 6-2 first round victory over Robert Marijanovic with a narrow 8-7 quarter-final defeat of World Champion Rob Cross.

He then swept past reigning champion Peter Wright with an 8-2 semi-final triumph and maintained that dominant form throughout the decider with Van den Bergh.

Finishes of 109 and 100 gave Suljovic an immediate lead in the final, with Van den Bergh taking the third leg before the Austrian followed an 80 checkout with finishes of 13 and 11 darts to lead 5-1.

Double 16 saw Van den Bergh hit back in leg seven, but Suljovic posted a fifth 180 of the final in an 11-darter to move 6-2 up.

Double eight moved Suljovic to the brink of glory, and he sealed the title with a 76 finish ending, typically, on his favourite double 16.

"It's a great feeling for me and I'm really happy," said Suljovic. "Dimitri is a brilliant player and it was a long day, but I did well.

"The crowd was brilliant and to win this tournament makes me so happy. People have been playing really well against me recently but I had a good feeling and it was a great day."

Van den Bergh enjoyed the most memorable run of his emerging career on a superb day of darts, which began with a 109.98 average in a brilliant 6-0 whitewash of Martin Schindler.

He then defeated Michael van Gerwen for the first time with an 8-3 quarter-final triumph, before claiming a maiden defeat of Gary Anderson in the semi-finals by following finishes of 111 and 124 with an 11-darter in their deciding leg.

"It's one of the best days of my life, it's unbelievable," said Van den Bergh. "I have to thank the PDC and the crowd and I'm thankful to have been in the final.

"I've learned a lot and it means so much to me. It's a huge step for me and I'll keep believing. What I've shown today is all the things I've been working in and I'm happy with the result.

"Winning against Michael and Gary is something I've been dreaming of, but these things happen when you keep believing."

Anderson overcame emerging German Gabriel Clemens and World Championship semi-finalist Jamie Lewis on his way to the last four, while Wright defeated Dragutin Horvat and Raymond van Barneveld on the day.

Van Gerwen overcame top-ranked German Max Hopp 6-4 in the first round, with Van Barneveld whitewashing Manfred Bilderl, Cross being a 6-4 winner over Stefan Stoyke and Lewis coming from 3-0 down to edge past Nico Kurz.

The one-day tournament had seen the Veltins Arena turned into a "Darts Music Arena", which included a performance from German stars Culcha Candela as part of the day's entertainment.

The German Darts Masters was the first of six global events being held on the PDC's World Series of Darts circuit this year.

The second U.S. Darts Masters will be held in Las Vegas in July as the World Series of Darts returns to action, before heading to Shanghai to complete a double-header.

August then sees tournaments being held in Auckland, Melbourne and Brisbane before the season-ending World Series of Darts Finals see the stars compete in Vienna in November. For tickets, see www.pdc.tv/tickets.

2018 German Darts Masters
First Round
Raymond van Barneveld 6-0 Manfred Bilderl
Jamie Lewis 6-5 Nico Kurz
Mensur Suljovic 6-2 Robert Marijanovic
Gary Anderson 6-2 Gabriel Clemens
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-0 Martin Schindler
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Max Hopp
Peter Wright 6-1 Dragutin Horvat
Rob Cross 6-4 Stefan Stoyke

Quarter-Finals
Gary Anderson 8-6 Jamie Lewis
Dimitri Van den Bergh 8-3 Michael van Gerwen
Peter Wright 8-7 Raymond van Barneveld
Mensur Suljovic 8-7 Rob Cross

Semi-Finals
Dimitri Van den Bergh 8-7 Gary Anderson
Mensur Suljovic 8-2 Peter Wright

Final
Mensur Suljovic 8-2 Dimitri Van den Bergh