MICHAEL VAN GERWEN has been the king of European Darts for the last couple of years.
The world number one has dominated the PDC’s European Tour and, quite fittingly, won the European Championship in 2014 and 2015.
With the world’s best player aiming for a treble in Hasselt, Belgium this weekend, let’s take a look at his previous performances in the tournament, which first took place in 2008.
van Gerwen did not feature in the inaugural staging of the event, which saw Phil Taylor defeat Adrian Lewis in the final.
The Dutchman made his debut in 2009 as a European qualifier and defeated his good friend Vincent van der Voort in the opening round before losing out to eventual runner-up Steve Beaton, with Taylor again coming out on top.
In 2010, van Gerwen enjoyed a first round win against Germany’s Tomas Seyler but fell at the second round stage again, this time losing out to Colin Lloyd as Taylor collected his third straight title.
A year later, van Gerwen lost to Ronnie Baxter in a thrilling opening round clash, where both players averaged over 101. Taylor triumphed once again.
2012 saw van Gerwen enter the tournament in hot form and he defeated Andy Smith in round one but was edged out in an exciting contest against Dutch compatriot Raymond van Barneveld, losing 10-9 despite an average of almost 104. Simon Whitlock, who van Gerwen faces in round one of this year’s event, won his first major title that weekend.
In 2013, van Gerwen entered as the number two seed and was able to progress past the second round for the first time with wins over Kurt van de Rijck and Mervyn King. He then defeated Jelle Klaasen with a near 105 average in the quarter-finals but was denied in the semis by Lewis, who went on to beat Whitlock in the final.
The following year saw then World Champion van Gerwen enter as the number one seed for the first time and he lived up to his ranking, enjoying victories against Justin Pipe, Brendan Dolan and Dave Chisnall, who he averaged 111 against, before doing this…
… in his semi-final success against van Barneveld. He went on to claim the title for the first time with a 11-4 final victory over Terry Jenkins.
Last year, van Gerwen began his title defence with a win against Jeffrey De Zwaan before easing past Cristo Reyes and Chisnall to reach the semi-finals. There, he defeated Peter Wright before sensationally coming back from 10-7 down to win the final 11-10 against Gary Anderson.
This year’s tournament sees a record £100,000 on offer for the winner as van Gerwen looks to make it three on the spin.
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