Cullen claims second European Tour title after superb victory against Van Gerwen in International Darts Open Final

Joe Cullen has added a second European Tour title after defeating Michael van Gerwen in a magnificent display in the International Darts Open Final.

Cullen won through in an 8-5 win with four 180's and 53% on the doubles, with the World Number One down at 35% with a 91 average.

He won by the same scoreline and defeating the same opponent in claiming his maiden European Tour title last September at the European Darts Matchplay. He will also be top seed for the European Championship next weekend.

Van Gerwen took the first leg on his throw with a 116 checkout as he looked to send a message early doors. This continued with MVG going 180-136 to begin Cullen’s throw and he left 100 but he missed the opportunity to break on double 20 which allowed Cullen to hold.

Van Gerwen left himself 60 on his throw but missed it. Cullen though couldn’t pounce despite a 130 set up shot to leave 95. This meant MVG hit double 10 move 2-1 in front.

Van Gerwen missed double 20 to break from a 78 checkout and Cullen hit 36 to make it 2-2 and hold his throw in the early going. It was Cullen’s turn to go for a break as he missed bull for a 170 but with Van Gerwen not able to pin 107, ‘The Rockstar’ was back for 25 which he pinned to go 3-2 up.

A hold on double 16 saw Cullen take a two leg gap at 4-2 up. Van Gerwen missed 92 aiming to hit two double 18’s but Cullen only left 140 which meant MVG came back to hold on double nine.

A 180 and double eight saw Cullen extend this lead to 5-3 as he used his break to go three away. MVG hit double 10 to hold and go one behind once more.

Could he attack the Cullen throw to put it back on throw? It was a poor leg to begin from the Bradford ace but a timely 180 saw him well ahead leaving 59 which he pinned. They were both on 152 on Van Gerwen’s throw but the World Number One left 62 which he pinned to hold.

The crowd whistled on 97 and Cullen didn’t hit it but he did on double seven last dart in hand next time to go one away at 7-5 up. A 180 on Van Gerwen’s throw put Cullen first to a finish and with the former on 114, it was now or never. He couldn’t leave a shot though and Cullen was left 57 to win which he pinned to become champion.

International Darts Open 2020 Schedule - Evening Session

Quarter-Finals

Michael van Gerwen (102.18) 6-3 (99.79) James Wade

Krzysztof Ratajski (102.29) 5-6 (99.63) Mensur Suljovic

Ross Smith (100) 4-6 (99.02) Joe Cullen

Michael Smith (98.55) 6-1 (93.12) Danny Noppert

Semi-Finals

Michael van Gerwen (88.91) 7-6 (92.01) Mensur Suljovic

Joe Cullen (96.14) 7-3 (89.96) Michael Smith

Final

Michael van Gerwen (91.37) 5-8 (97.32) Joe Cullen

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