Max Hopp makes history with German Darts Open triumph

Hopp proudly holds the trophy

Max Hopp created a slice of darting history as he became the first German winner of a PDC ranking title courtesy of a thrilling 8-7 victory over Michael Smith in the final of the German Open in Saarbrucken on Sunday.

After a spell in the darting doldrums, the 21-year-old came of age on home soil as he defeated three Premier League players en route to glory, coming from 5-2 and 6-3 down to edge a nail-biting decider.

Hopp, who had to win three qualifying matches on Thursday to secure his place in the event, sealed the deal in spectacular fashion with a 121 checkout on the bullseye.

Having kick-started his run with a 6-1 rout of Zoran Lerchbacher on Friday, Hopp then dumped out defending champion Peter Wright 6-4 in Saturday's Second Round.

The former World Youth Champion then came through a scrappy affair with Benito van de Pas on Sunday afternoon before dispatching Joe Cullen in the Quarter-Finals and pulling off a spell-binding 7-6 win over World Champion Rob Cross with a 100 average in the Semi-Finals.

Hopp completed the scalp of Rob Cross with a roof-raising 121 checkout on the bullseye, and that would prove to be a fairy-tale prequel to what was about to happen later in the evening.

It was Premier League star Smith who settled quickly into the final and opened up a 3-0 lead, but after missing double 14 for a 148 checkout, he allowed Hopp to get off the mark.

Hopp was then left to rue five missed darts at doubles as Smith took out 90 to restore a three-leg cushion, before the duo traded the next four legs to leave 'Bully Boy' leading 6-3.

Smith missed three darts at doubles to break in the tenth leg as Hopp held on double four, and after breaking throw via double six in the following leg, the German got himself back on level terms thanks to a 64 finish.

Smith steadied the ship by hitting double ten to make it 7-6 after Hopp had missed the bullseye for a 170 checkout, but the local favourite bounced back by converting double four to force a nail-biting finale.

The youngster fired in back-to-back 140s to leave 121, and with Smith waiting on 64, Hopp sensationally cleaned up 121 in the same fashion to his Semi-Final triumph to clinch the £25,000 title.

The victory all but guarantees a debut in July's World Matchplay for 'The Maximiser' as well as a place in the World Grand Prix and potentially the Grand Slam.

Smith was narrowly denied his fifth European Tour title, having seen off Jelle Klaasen, Mervyn King and Ian White on the final day of action.

Stoke ace White pulled off a magnificent 6-2 victory over world number one Michael van Gerwen to end the Dutchman's 20-match unbeaten run on the European Tour

White averaged 105.92, hit three 180s and finished six of his seven attempts at doubles to defeat MVG for the second year running in Saarbrucken, but he failed to replicate those heroics in the next round.

German Darts Open 2018 Results


Sunday April 15

Afternoon Session

Third Round
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Alan Tabern
Dave Chisnall 0-6 Ian White
Daryl Gurney 5-6 Mervyn King
Michael Smith 6-3 Jelle Klaasen
Max Hopp 6-4 Benito van de Pas
Joe Cullen 6-2 Daniel Larsson
Mensur Suljovic 5-6 Gerwyn Price
Darren Webster 4-6 Rob Cross
 
Evening Session 

Quarter-Finals
Michael van Gerwen 2-6 Ian White
Mervyn King 5-6 Michael Smith
Max Hopp 6-4 Joe Cullen
Gerwyn Price 1-6 Rob Cross

Semi-Finals
Ian White 1-7 Michael Smith
Max Hopp 7-6 Rob Cross

Final
Michael Smith 7-8 Max Hopp


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Max Hopp makes history with German Darts Open triumph

Max Hopp created a slice of darting history as he became the first German winner of a PDC ranking title courtesy of a thrilling 8-7 victory over Michael Smith in the final of the German Open in Saarbrucken on Sunday.

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