Gary Anderson edges Mensur Suljovic in a tie break classic to claim World Matchplay crown

Anderson clutches the Phil Taylor Trophy (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Gary Anderson held his nerve in a breath-taking tie break to record a 21-19 victory over Mensur Suljovic and become World Matchplay champion for the first time.

The Flying Scotsman denied the tenacious Austrian in a Winter Gardens epic to complete a prestigious career Triple Crown, adding to his brace of world titles and Premier League crowns.

Anderson looked on course to be cruising to the £115,000 top prize when he opened up leads of 15-11 and 17-13, but only for Suljovic to secure the next four legs on the spin to force a tie break.

Suljovic continued the fightback to move in front, but after taking the next two legs, an incredible twist then saw Anderson witness a match dart bounce out of the bullseye to allow Suljovic to make it 19-19.

Anderson, though, recovered superbly to clinch the following two legs to wrap up an unforgettable triumph with a 101 average and fourteen 180s.

"I'm delighted to win this magnificent tournament," said Anderson. "It was a struggle to win, as it always is against Mensur, and I think I rode my luck a bit tonight.

"When the bullseye to win it bounced out it was frustrating but I managed to regain my composure to win it.

"It's been nice to see Phil back in Blackpool this week and the crowd have been fantastic. This is a special place for me now and I'll look forward to coming back here next year to defend my title."

Suljovic saw his hopes of a first major ranking title fall agonisingly short as he looked to follow up his televised triumphs at the 2017 Champions League and 2018 German Masters.

"It was a brilliant feeling to play in this final - it was such a good game," said Suljovic.

"Thank you to everybody for the support, I loved playing here.

"Gary played brilliant, he was the best player in the tournament so it is OK to lose to him - he is a champion and I respect him."

The first four legs of the final were shared before Anderson kicked off the fifth with back-to-back 180s and took out 76 to take the lead.

Suljovic leveled with a 71 finish before Anderson took out 68, and after the Scot finished 84, 'The Gentle' replied with an 81 checkout to restore parity at five apiece.

The duo exchanged the next four legs before Suljovic produced the first ton-plus checkout of the match - a 118 - to edge 8-7 in front.

Anderson missed tops for a 143 checkout to allow Suljovic to go two clear, but four missed darts at doubles proved costly in the following leg as Anderson converted double eight to stay in touch at 9-8 adrift.

Suljovic kicked off the 18th leg with seven perfect darts but went on to lose it as Anderson levelled the contest before getting his nose back in front at 10-9.

Anderson helped himself to a fourth consecutive leg, and though Suljovic stopped the rot with an 11-darter, the UK Open champion took the next three legs without reply to make it 14-10.

Suljovic again closed the gap, and after Anderson took out 68, a 71 finish on the bullseye saw the Austrian ace reduce the deficit to 15-12.

Anderson produced successive checkouts of 105 and 77 to move to within two legs of the title at 17-13 but Suljovic began the fightback with an 81 checkout on the bullseye.

The world number six claimed a further two legs to apply more pressure at 17-16 behind before producing a magnificent 121 checkout on the bullseye to force overtime at 17-17.

Suljovic then posted double 14 to move within a leg of glory, and after Anderson responded with successive legs to wrestle back control, he then suffered an untimely bounce-out on the bull for a 121 match checkout and Suljovic punished to make it 19-19.

Two missed darts at doubles proved fatal for Suljovic as Anderson landed double eight, and the crowd favourite completed a remarkable victory with a 15-darter on double ten.

BetVictor World Matchplay 2018 Result


Sunday July 29

Final
Gary Anderson 21-19 Mensur Suljovic



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Gary Anderson edges Mensur Suljovic in a tie break classic to claim World Matchplay crown

Gary Anderson held his nerve in a breath-taking tie break to record a 21-19 victory over Mensur Suljovic and become World Matchplay champion for the first time.

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