MVG wins on Day 1 of the PDC Summer Series.
World Number One Michael Van Gerwen was the victor in winning Players Championship 9 on Wednesday defeating Peter Wright 8-7 in the decider, in a repeat of the most recent World Championship final, which of course was won by Wright.
After one hundred and fifteen days since the last PDC Tour, the sport’s elite returned to competitive action as the 1st of five Players Championship events, known as the Summer Series, began in Milton Keynes.
Only one hundred and seventeen of the Tour Card Holders could compete in the return to darts with eleven PDPA Associate Members stepping in for those who were absent.
All the players as well as officials arrived at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes on Tuesday and all took a COVID-19 test. A slight delay to Wednesday’s play as the usual tournament start of 12pm was delayed to 2:30pm due to a number of players waiting to see if they had tested positive or negative .
Luckily, all 229 players, staff and officials tested negative, so all players were allowed to play and all officials were allowed to do their job.
Michael Van Gerwen began the day as the Number 8 seed but that didn’t stop him dispatching Irish Youngster Ciaran Teehan (6-1) in his opening round match before surviving a scare against Scotsman William Borland (6-5) , with Willie missing a dart a tops to secure a huge win. In his Round 3 match, Van Gerwen came up against Callan Rydz and again he survived another scare, only defeating the North-East youngster (6-4) by producing an average of 106.2, with Rydz averaging almost 107!
Van Gerwen reached the Semi Finals quite comfortably in dropping only a sinle leg in wins over Jamie Hughes and Danny Noppert respectively before coming up against German Gabriel Clemens, who recently signed with Target Darts. Van Gerwen controlled the whole match and came out a (7-3) victor with an average of 106.8 to set up a clash with Wright in the final.
The final began with five straight holds of throw, with Van Gerwen winning the odd amount, before a (12 dart break) in the sixth leg, finishing with a 130 checkout saw him take control of the match. Van Gerwen moved further ahead (5-2) up before Wright rattled off five straight legs to go within one of victory. Van Gerwen used all his experience by winning the remaining 3 legs and denying Wright a single dart at the outer ring, finishing the match with a clinical fifteen dart leg.
World Champion Peter Wright came into the day by using glasses for the very first time in tournament play. He began the day with a(6-5) scare against Dutchman Ron Meulenkamp before defeating Derk Telnekes and James Wilson respectively to reach the Last 16 stage. At that stage, he took on, former World Champion, Rob Cross and saw him off (6-2), before defeating fellow Premier League star Glen Durrant (6-3) with an average of 108.5 to reach the Semi Finals. At that stage, he took on Krzysztof Ratajski, who had already picked up a title in 2020 by winning PC4 in February. Wright saw off the Polish Eagle quite comfortably (7-2) despite both averaging over 105, with Wright’s average closer to 106.
Despite not picking up the title on Day 1, it is a positive return to action for the World Champion, who will still be a firm contender to pick up a title in the coming days.
There were Quarter Final runs as well for former Premier League players Mensur Suljovic and Dave Chisnall and there was a surprise package on the day as one of the Associate Members Eddie Lovely reached the last sixteen in seeing off Adrian Lewis, Gavin Carlin and Michael Smith on route.
There were also early exits for major champions Gerwyn Price and Nathan Aspinall as well as two-time World Champion Gary Anderson.
The Summer Series continues on Thursday with Players Championship 10 with a number of players still hoping to book a spot at the Betfred World Matchplay later this month.
Players Championship 9
Danny Noppert 6-3 Stephen Bunting
Michael Van Gerwen 6-1 Jamie Hughes
Mensur Suljovic 6-5 Darren Webster
Gabriel Clemens 6-5 Steve Beaton
Peter Wright 6-2 Rob Cross
Glen Durrant 6-5 Jason Lowe
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-2 Eddie Lovely
Dave Chisnall 6-1 Ricky Evans
Michael Van Gerwen 6-0 Danny Noppert
Gabriel Clemens 6-2 Mensur Suljovic
Peter Wright 6-3 Glen Durrant
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-3 Dave Chisnall
Michael Van Gerwen 7-3 Gabriel Clemens
Peter Wright 7-2 Krzysztof Ratajski
Michael 8-7 Peter Wright.
Pics Taylor Lanning (unless stated) .