Michael van Gerwen beat a resurgent Raymond van Barneveld to win the New Zealand Masters and claim back-to-back World Series titles.
The brilliant Dutchman, who survived four missed match darts from Kyle Anderson on day one, was a player transformed on Finals Day as he beat Gary Anderson and Rob Cross before his final success over Barney.
Van Gerwen had been without a televised title since the Premier League in May but in the final qualifying event of the World Series he ensured he goes into the second half of the season in fine form.
“I am so happy to win this title in Hamilton, it has been a phenomenal tournament and the crowd has been amazing,” said Van Gerwen.
To play a final against Raymond is always an honour. Raymond has been good for darts, like Maradona was good for football but now Messi has taken over. It’s the same in darts now.
MVG on RVB
“I told my wife before I left three weeks ago, I am going to win two of the three events whilst I’m away and I’m so happy to have done that.
“Mentally I am the strongest player, I know how good I am and no bad game will ever change that. I can never be perfect all the time, I am not a robot but I know how strong I am and I know I am the best right now.”
The return to form of Van Barneveld was impressive and thanked the PDC for his opportunity on the Antipodean leg of the series.
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In his final World Series appearance, it was a third final in five years in New Zealand for Van Barneveld, whose focus now switches to ending his career on a high.
His run to the final should ensure him one of the eight qualification players for the Finals in Amsterdam in November where he will be assured of a hero’s reception – while he will also hope for success on the regular tour events as he seeks the necessary ranking points to move back up the rankings having slipped to 35.
“I have had an amazing week and I just want to say thank you to the PDC and all the staff for making this a fantastic trip.,” said Van Barneveld.
“There is a lot left to play for this year so it is time to go home, rest and get ready for the rest of the year.”
Thanks to @OfficialPDC @TargetDarts all the Sponsors and promoters and ofcourse my fans ! You are amazing. I am grateful. And will forever be ! pic.twitter.com/9Q3NjtyAdD
— Raymond v Barneveld (@Raybar180) August 24, 2019
However as the big prizes prepare to be handed out, Van Gerwen looks once again to be timing his return to form perfectly after his triumph in front of 4,000 fans at the Claudelands Arena in Hamilton.
Despite a shock second-round exit at the World Matchplay, he has already claimed a third world title on New Year’s Day and a fifth Premier League title at The O2 to go with The Masters and six other Players Championship and European Tour titles in 2019.
His form in beating Anderson, Cross and Van Barneveld will serve notice ahead of the busy second half of the season with a host of titles up for grabs.
A scintillating 8-5 win over Anderson, a repeat of their last-eight clash in Melbourne a week earlier, was bookmarked by an average in excess of 106 and he was in similar mood to rack up an 8-3 win over Cross, the 17th time in 20 meetings he has beaten Voltage.
In the final Barney missed three darts at doubles in the opening two legs to allow his countryman to open up an early advantage and Van Gerwen powered his way to a 5-0 lead.
Van Barneveld took out double 10 in the sixth leg to stop the rot but three legs followed in quick succession for Van Gerwen to emerge victorious.