PETER WRIGHT won his first World Series of Darts title with an 11-4 defeat of Phil Taylor in Saturday’s German Darts Masters final at Dusseldorf’s Castello Arena.
The world number three and UK Open champion has lost out twice previously in finals on the World Series circuit to Taylor, including in Melbourne in August, but took the £20,000 title with a gritty display.
Wright had survived match darts against Dragutin Horvat and Mensur Suljovic in his opening two matches, before overcoming Raymond van Barneveld 11-9 in the semi-finals.
He then saved his best performance for the final as he wiped out the memory of losses to Taylor in Yokohama and Melbourne with a clinical performance.
Wright made a superb start to the final, taking out 116 for a 12-darter in the opening leg and double 12 for a 13-darter to lead 2-0.
Taylor hit back in leg three, but Wright pushed into a 5-1 lead with three successive legs only to see his advantage halved as the 57-year-old took back-to-back legs.
Wright, though, claimed a break back with a 66 finish before hitting a third 180 of the game in a 12-darter as an 81 checkout saw him restore a four-leg lead at 7-3.
A 61 finish moved Wright five legs clear and he landed a 180 and tops to move 9-3 up, with the pair trading 14-darters as the Scot moved to the brink of a victory which he sealed with another 12-dart leg on double ten.
Wright ended the final with a 102.25 average and finished an impressive 11/19 doubles as he avenged losses to Taylor in the World Matchplay and Melbourne Darts Masters finals with a memorable triumph for his 11th tournament win of 2017.
“It’s wonderful and I’m delighted,” said Wright. “It means a lot to beat Phil and I’ve also wanted to win a World Series title so it’s a tick in the box.
“I’ve learned from the defeats my other finals against Phil and I got lucky today. I’ve had the advantage of playing many European Tour events and playing three or four times in a day.
“I normally find on these events over long days that I get a second wind, and when you’re up on stage and the crowds get behind you it spurs you on and you wake up, and try not to let them down.
“It’s very hard and Phil’s concentration levels weren’t quite as sharp when he got to the final. Phil was tired but he still doesn’t give up or hand it to you on a plate, and that’s why he’s the best in the world.
“To play him, you’re still in awe of what he’s done and where darts has come to – we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Phil so it’s special.”
Wright added: “When I changed darts during the game against Mensur, that was a brand new set of darts. They’re worth £20,000 now!”
Taylor had been aiming to win his ninth World Series title as he overcame Daryl Gurney 10-7 in the quarter-finals and then proved too strong for James Wade with an 11-7 semi-final triumph, despite finishes of 104 and 158 from the left-hander.
“It’s been a long day for me and it was hard for me,” said Taylor. “I tried my best but Peter’s finishing was fantastic and he deserved to win.
“I’m 57 and it’s caught up with me now – I can’t do three games in one day. It’s so difficult now, like a footballer trying to compete against a younger person – you want to do it but you can’t.
“The fans were fantastic all weekend and it was very touching and heart-warming for me. I’ve loved every minute of it.”
Wade had benefitted from the withdrawal of World Champion Michael van Gerwen on Saturday morning, due to an ankle injury, with a walkover into the semi-finals but showed some superb finishing during an encouraging return to form in Germany.
Van Barneveld, meanwhile, progressed to the last four by defying three bullseye finishes from Gary Anderson with a 10-8 as he avenged August’s defeat to the Scot in the Perth Darts Masters final.
The German Darts Masters concluded the year’s seven international World Series of Darts events, ahead of next month’s season-ending Ladbrokes World Series of Darts Finals in Glasgow.
The Ladbrokes World Series of Darts Finals will be held from November 3-5 at the Braehead Arena. For tickets, call 0844 499 1700 or visit www.braehead-arena.co.uk.
2017 German Darts Masters
Saturday October 21
Gary Anderson 8-10 Raymond van Barneveld
Peter Wright 10-9 Mensur Suljovic
Phil Taylor 10-7 Daryl Gurney
James Wade Bye (Michael van Gerwen withdrew through injury)
Best of 19 legs
Raymond van Barneveld 9-11 Peter Wright
James Wade 7-11 Phil Taylor
Best of 21 legs
Peter Wright 11-4 Phil Taylor
Best of 21 legs