SUPERB SCHINDLER LIFTS MAIDEN PDC TITLE IN RIESA

Martin Schindler produced a stunning performance to end Gerwyn Price’s dominance in Riesa and secure NEO.bet International Darts Open glory on home soil on Sunday.

Schindler, spurred on by a bumper crowd at the WT Energiesysteme Arena, denied Price a record-extending fifth International Darts Open crown, running out an 8-5 winner to become the third German player to win a senior PDC title.

The 27-year-old – a steward on the PDC European Tour a decade ago – was overcome by emotion on a night which also saw him crowned as Germany’s new number one.

Having eased past his compatriot Jan Dueckers in Friday’s first round, Schindler sealed his spot in Finals Day with a superb 6-3 success against Joe Cullen, averaging 105 in the process.

The 27-year-old then won through contrasting encounters against Dutch duo Richard Veenstra and Danny Noppert, and he sealed his place in Sunday’s showpiece with a resounding 7-3 win over Chris Dobey.

This set up a fascinating showdown against Price, who was chasing a third consecutive title in Riesa, having also lifted this title in 2018, 2019, 2022 and 2023.

Price dominated the opening exchanges, kicking off the contest with six perfect darts and drawing first blood with an 11-dart break, on his way to establishing a 2-0 lead.

Schindler responded with three straight legs to seize the initiative, although the pendulum continued to swing as Price hit back with legs of 15 and 13 darts to edge 4-3 ahead.

However, the diminutive German restored his lead with clinical 80 and 120 checkouts, and after winning a scrappy tenth leg via double two, he fired in a magnificent ten-darter to move to the brink of victory.

Price preserved his hopes with a brilliant 12-dart hold, but Schindler wasn’t to be denied, taking out 48 in two darts to clinch his maiden senior title on home soil.

“My knees are shaking right now,” claimed a tearful Schindler, who climbs to a career-high of world number 22.

International Darts Open Riesa 2024

“It’s just crazy. I’ve been playing this tour for seven to eight years now. It’s been such a long journey, and now I’m standing here with one of these beautiful trophies.

“I could never have dreamed of this ten years ago, but I have worked so hard for this, I’ve invested so much and right now, I might just be the happiest man on earth.

“I want to be one of the best dart players in the world, and when you win a title on the European Tour, I think you are one of the best.

“My main priority for me was to improve my ranking for the World Matchplay and the World Grand Prix and that went completely to plan. I’m so happy about that, and I’m so happy to win this trophy.”

Price had won 20 of his last 21 matches at this event prior to this weekend, and he continued his incredible record in Riesa to pocket the £12,000 runner-up prize.

The Welshman fended off a resilient Brendan Dolan in his second round tie on Saturday, before powering in an astonishing 115.74 average – a new tournament record – to dispatch Ricardo Pietreczko in round three.

Price then fought back from 5-2 down to deny Ross Smith in the last eight – aided by a sensational 161 skin-saver in leg nine – and he followed this up with a hard-fought victory over Stephen Bunting in the semi-finals.

“I’m a little bit disappointed in myself,” reflected Price, who was featuring in his tenth European Tour final.

“I felt I should have won this game, but fair play to Martin, he’s a fantastic player and he played well there.”

Bunting reeled off four straight legs from 4-2 adrift to deny world number one Luke Humphries in the last 16, and he survived a match dart in his quarter-final tie against Ritchie Edhouse in his run to the semi-finals.

Dobey also continued his fine form with a semi-final showing, after averaging 111.19 in his second round victory over Krzysztof Ratajski on Saturday.

The former Masters champion then whitewashed home favourite Gabriel Clemens to progress to the last eight, where he averaged 104 in a 6-2 thrashing of Ryan Searle.

Searle came through deciding-leg ties against Daryl Gurney and Damon Heta in his run to the quarter-finals, while Edhouse dumped out Premier League duo Michael Smith and Rob Cross to reach the same stage.

Noppert – a Players Championship winner on Tuesday – swept aside World Matchplay champion Nathan Aspinall in his last 16 encounter, while Ross Smith battled back to defeat Cameron Menzies earlier in the day.

The PDC European Tour continues from April 19-21 with the NEO.bet European Darts Grand Prix in Sindelfingen. For tickets, visit the PDC Europe website.

The tournament will be broadcast live on PDCTV, exclusively on DAZN in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, through Viaplay in various territories and through bookmakers’ websites worldwide.

NEO.bet International Darts Open

Sunday April 14

Afternoon Session

Third Round

Martin Schindler 6-1 Richard Veenstra

Danny Noppert 6-2 Nathan Aspinall

Ryan Searle 6-5 Damon Heta

Chris Dobey 6-0 Gabriel Clemens

Stephen Bunting 6-4 Luke Humphries

Ritchie Edhouse 6-4 Rob Cross

Gerwyn Price 6-3 Ricardo Pietreczko

Ross Smith 6-4 Cameron Menzies

Evening Session

Quarter-Finals

Martin Schindler 6-5 Danny Noppert

Chris Dobey 6-2 Ryan Searle

Stephen Bunting 6-5 Ritchie Edhouse

Gerwyn Price 6-5 Ross Smith

Semi-Finals

Martin Schindler 7-3 Chris Dobey

Gerwyn Price 7-5 Stephen Bunting

Final

Martin Schindler 8-5 Gerwyn Price

Photos credit Jonas Hunold/PDC Europe

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