Danny Noppert admitted he was “proud” to produce his best-ever PDC performance in the World Series of Darts finals - and then book a Grand Slam place.
The Dutchman delivered a fine run to the final on home soil in Amsterdam, eventually losing out to Michael van Gerven 11-2 on Sunday night.
Noppie came through an epic day’s play including beating Ian White in the quarter-finals, finally sealing it after 12 missed match darts. Then he beat Dave Chisnall in a decider to line up the final against MVG.
He admitted: “I am very happy with getting to the final.
“It was great for me but in the end I just didn’t have enough and it was very tough against Michael.
“I have confidence and I hope this will help me in the future, I’m disappointed to lose but proud of the way I played this weekend.”
That victory for Noppert was also bad news for Mensur Suljovic, with the Dutchman qualifying for the 2019 Grand Slam of Darts at the expense of the Austrian.
Van Gerwen strutted to his 50th PDC title in some style, his toughest encounter coming on Friday night as he came from 3-1 down to overcome Gerwyn Price.
MVG also ended a good weekend for another Welshman Jonny Clayton 10-6 in the quarter-finals, Clayton having knocked out James Wade 6-5 in his opener.
However, Dutchman Noppert was the story of the weekend. Playing in his first PDC televised final, he started the brighter by clinching the opening leg but quickly faded.
Perhaps jaded from his epic last-leg Semi-Final victory over Chisnall, Noppert struggled to keep pace with MVG who was finding the treble 20 with ease - landing nine maximums in total.
A string of nine successive legs followed from the reigning World Champion, as he raced to within two of the title at the second interval.
Looking for a showpiece finish, Van Gerwen landed seven perfect darts and scored 499 in nine, before floundering on double-one, allowing Noppert to take out 42 to get a second leg on the board.
But the title was quickly sealed by Van Gerwen as he clinched the remaining two legs to add to his victories in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
He said: “It’s been another phenomenal tournament for me.
“The crowd here were fantastic, and I am very pleased to have produced a good performance for them and win myself another title”
“Danny also played a superb tournament and I am sure we will see more of him on the big stages in the future.”
Sunday November 3
Afternoon Session (1345 local time, 1245 GMT)
Mensur Suljovic 10-9 Krzysztof Ratajski
Michael van Gerwen 10-6 Jonny Clayton
Danny Noppert 10-9 Ian White
Dave Chisnall 10-8 Raymond van Barneveld
Evening Session (2000 local time, 1900 GMT)
Michael van Gerwen 11-4 Mensur Suljovic
Danny Noppert 11-10 Dave Chisnall
Michael van Gerwen 11-2 Danny Noppert
By Phil Lanning
Images courtesy of Kelly Deckers/PDC Europe