Peter Wright produced a classy game to deny Michael van Gerwen a first title of 2021 as he scooped his third victory of the year in yesterday’s Players Championship 20.
Wright had ended the year’s second and fourth blocks of PDC Super Series action with titles in recent months. He repeated the trick in Coventry as he landed another £10,000 top prize.
Wright produced four ton-plus averages in his seven wins on the day but reserved his best performance for the final in a high-quality contest with Van Gerwen.
Finishes of 84, 74, and 64 helped Wright into a 3-0 lead, with Van Gerwen needing a 130 finish for a 12-darter to hit back in leg four.
Wright punished a miss at the bull from the Dutchman to restore his cushion with a 12-darter in leg five. Van Gerwen opening the next with seven perfect darts only to see his rival finish 324 in six darts with a 180 and a 144 checkout.
Double 16 saw Van Gerwen claim a second leg, but Wright took out 87 for a 12-darter, double 11 to capitalize on two further misses from the three-time World Champion, and a 71 finish to complete a brilliant display-ending with an average of almost 109.
Wright also defeated Boris Krcmar, Steve Brown, Martijn Kleermaker, Daryl Gurney, Danny Noppert, and James Wade during the day, and heads into the Betfred World Matchplay full of confidence.
After the match, Wright said: “Beating Michael means a lot and to beat the players I did on the way through is great.”
“I had some loose darts and missed so many doubles as well against people, but it’s nice to win.”
𝗪𝗥𝗜𝗚𝗛𝗧 𝗜𝗦 𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗖𝗛𝗔𝗠𝗣𝗜𝗢𝗡
Peter Wright beats Michael van Gerwen 8-2 to win a third ProTour title of the year.
The wait for a title in 2021 for Michael van Gerwen goes on…
108 average in the final too, to Van Gerwen's 106. Incredible standard 👏 pic.twitter.com/3qYKUlYJQe
— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) July 8, 2021
Wright continued his tinker-man style by using a new gold-coated set of darts on his way to victory, and he is now targeting World Matchplay glory with the set-up.
“I only got the gold darts on Wednesday morning, I like these darts, they’re new and I love them – the way they look in the board as well,” Wright added.
“I feel like I want to play proper darts, I didn’t want to show too much before Blackpool, I can win it.”
Peter Wright ends Martijn Kleermaker’s World Matchplay hopes as he reaches the Last 16 at Players Championship 20, with a 6-5 victory and an average of 95.8! #PDCSuperSeries @Charlie10644202 @lukejones5 @ChopsyChazza @TonyDJTStanding @Joe_1879 @HighRollerRadio pic.twitter.com/H8uB3VEajG
— Joe Williams (@Joewillo180) July 8, 2021
The end of Van Gerwen’s run
Van Gerwen won through to his second Players Championship final of 2021 and averaged 113 in a victory over John Henderson as well as over 100 in wins over Chris Dobey and Michael Smith – winning both matches in a deciding leg.
He also defeated Adam Gawlas, Dave Chisnall and Jose de Sousa and averaged 106 in the final, but remains without a tournament win since November’s Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals.
— Michael Van Gerwen (@MvG180) July 5, 2021
While the previous three days had seen victories for players from outside the world’s top 16; Stephen Bunting, Chris Dobey, and Ross Smith. The sport’s top names showed their quality on Thursday.
Reigning UK Open champion Wade and Grand Slam of Darts champion De Sousa reached the semi-finals, with World Champion Gerwyn Price amongst the quarter-finalists.
Dimitri Van den Bergh won through to the last 16 before losing to De Sousa in another high-quality battle in the final ranking event before beginning his World Matchplay title defence in Blackpool.
Thursday’s event also saw Kim Huybrechts and Gabriel Clemens both land nine-darters, taking the total of perfect legs landed during PDC Super Series 5 to five across the four days.
Players Championship 20 was also the final tournament before the cut-off for World Matchplay qualification. The 32-player field was confirmed ahead of the tournament’s return to the iconic Winter Gardens.
The PDC ProTour returns on August 2-3 with a Players Championship double-header in Milton Keynes.
Kim Huybrechts landed a nine-dart finish to conclude his first-round win over Dirk van Duijvenbode.
Gabriel Clemens hit a nine-darter in the third leg of his first-round game with Jelle Klaasen.
🚨 𝙉𝙄𝙉𝙀-𝘿𝘼𝙍𝙏𝙀𝙍 🚨
Gabriel Clemens missed Double 12 for a 141 finish in the previous leg but he follows that with perfection as he pins his first ever PDC nine on that same checkout!
Practise makes perfect. pic.twitter.com/2WRkQbGTi9
— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) July 8, 2021
Round-Up of the Players Championship 20 results
Thursday, July 8, Coventry Building Society Arena
Jose de Sousa 6-2 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Chas Barstow 6-4 Brendan Dolan
Michael Smith 6-4 Krzysztof Ratajski
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Dave Chisnall
Gerwyn Price 6-2 Martin Schindler
James Wade 6-1 Eddie Lovely
Peter Wright 6-4 Daryl Gurney
Danny Noppert 6-4 Ryan Searle
Jose de Sousa 6-3 Chas Barstow
Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Michael Smith
James Wade 6-3 Gerwyn Price
Peter Wright 6-3 Danny Noppert
Michael van Gerwen 7-2 Jose de Sousa
Peter Wright 7-2 James Wade
Peter Wright 8-2 Michael van Gerwen