Van Gerwen stunned by Cullen in Germany

“It’s amazing to pick up this title in front of a crowd, we all miss the fans,” says Cullen

Last Updated: 26/10/20 12:38pm

Joe Cullen defeated Michael van Gerwen 8-5 in the final of the International Darts Open
Joe Cullen defeated Michael van Gerwen 8-5 in the final of the International Darts Open

Michael van Gerwen was stunned by Joe Cullen in the final of the International Darts Open as the Yorkshireman claimed his second European Tour title in Riesa, Germany, on Sunday.

Cullen defeated Van Gerwen 8-5 in the final of the 2019 European Darts Matchplay last September, and repeated the trick by winning by the same scoreline at the Sachsenarena in front of the German fans.

The win also means Cullen tops the final 2020 European Tour Order of Merit and heads into the European Championship as number one seed.

“It was the same scoreline as last time [the 2019 European Darts Matchplay] but the difference this time was Michael just didn’t get going,” Cullen admitted.

“It was lucky for me that he didn’t, because if he did, then it would’ve been a different game.

“I didn’t think I was too great either. It is a confidence-builder but I honestly don’t think I played well this tournament.

“That said, the closest I came to losing was against Ross [Smith] in the quarter-finals. I just did enough to win every game.

“It’s amazing to pick up this title in front of a crowd, we all miss the fans.”

Cullen both out-scored and out-finished the world No 1 in the final, ending the match with an average of almost six-points more than his opponent.

Van Gerwen, who had grown into the tournament after two below-par displays in his first two matches, got off to an ideal start with a 116 checkout, but it was Cullen who struck the first break of throw with a 13-dart leg to take a 4-2 lead.

It was a lead Cullen never came close to relinquishing as he held throw three times without Van Gerwen attempting a double to break, before producing a 14-dart break of throw in the final leg, pinning double top to seal the ÂŁ25,000 top prize.

Van Gerwen ends the year without a European Tour title to his name and is seeded fifth for the European Championship.

The Dutchman took to Twitter afterwards to give full credit to Cullen but admitted he was ‘bitterly disappointed’.

“Driving home bitterly disappointed with myself. My finishing wasn’t good enough and what I expect of myself,” said the world No 1.

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Source : Sky Sports