The Gentle Mensur Suljovic returned to his homeland last weekend where he scooped the Austrian Darts Championship in Vienna after he beat Michael van Gerwen 8-7 in Sunday’s final at the Multiversum Schwechat.
The title is actually his first won in his home city and his third PDC European Tour title overall. He nearly disappointed his home crowd again, however, as his victory required an unlikely dramatic comeback from 6-3 down against the world number one.
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Suljovic overcomes deficit
Going into the weekend, MVG was the hot favourite to win his third PDC title in succession and 13th match victory in a row, after taking down back-to-back World Series events in Melbourne and New Zealand. All the more so after surging into an early 2-0 lead.
By leg six though, Suljovic had leveled things at 3-3 after taking full advantage of three missed Mighty Mike doubles. The closing of the gap however only served to anger MVG into life and he duly took the next three to move 6-3 up.
But then the world champion wobbled, missing four doubles in the tenth leg when it was Suljovic’s turn to take advantage. The Gentle pulled the game back level again after he cleared 121 and 86 to the delight of his Vienna support.
There was still time for MVG to go ahead once more, capitalising on a Suljovic miss at double 15 that would have completed a 150 checkout. Instead, Mighty Mike cleared up before Suljovic took the game to a decider by holding throw in leg 14.
Even then, in the final leg MVG hit a timely 180 to make it to a finish only to miss bull leaving Suljovic a chance on his return. The Gentle rounded off a memorable weekend back home after he checked out 70 on his favoured double 14 to lift the trophy and become only the sixth player to win three or more European Tour titles.
Suljovic had earlier in the weekend enjoyed wins over James Wilson, Ian White and Vincent van der Voort to move into the final, while van Gerwen racked up the scalps of Kyle Anderson, Jeffrey de Zwaan, Ricky Evans and Peter Wright respectively to reach the final.
European Darts Matchplay Betting Tips
Play now moves on to the European Darts Matchplay in Mannheim, the eleventh of thirteen events on the European Tour calendar. The action gets underway on Friday, September 6 at around 1200 GMT.
Last year’s tourney provided another win for Michael van Gerwen who defeated William O’Connor in the final and he is, of course, back to defend his title this weekend coming and is the 5/4 favourite with bookmakers Betway to do exactly that.
Rob Cross, James Wade and Glen Durrant will all return to European Tour action having sat things out in Vienna. Cross takes his place as the third favourite at 8/1, while Wade and Duzza are priced at 22/1 and 25/1 respectively.
Other UK Qualifiers include Jamie Hughes (50/1), Mark McGeeney (125/1), Simon Whitlock (66/1) and Michael ‘Bully Boy’ Smith (18/1), while Jeffrey de Zwaan (40/1) and Max Hopp (66/1) will line up as the European Qualifiers.
Other names to look out for include second favourite Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright who is fancied as a 7/1 shot, Gerwyn Price 20/1, Daryl Gurney 20/1, Ian White 18/1 and the week’s hero Mensur Suljovic who is listed as 20/1. Dave Chisnall (25/2), Adrian Lewis (50/1) and Nathan Aspinall (22/1) will also be taking part in Germany.
QUICK GLANCE AT EUROPEAN DARTS MATCHPLAY
Venue: Maimarkthalle, Mannheim
Dates: Friday 06.09.2019
Format: Best of 11- 15 legs
Current Champion: Michael van Gerwen
Where To Watch: PDC TV
When To Watch: (1200 & 1600 BST)