By Phil Lanning
DANCING Dimitri Van den Bergh admits he’s “riding the wave” in an impressive debut Premier League campaign.
The barnstorming Belgian picked up his first Players Championship title with a classy 8-7 defeat of Dirk van Duijvenbode as PDC Super Series 3 came to a close in Niedernhausen on Tuesday.
The World Matchplay champion and two-time World Youth Champion has previously lost out twice in ProTour finals, but nailed the £10,000 top prize in Players Championship 12.
Van den Bergh, 26, is clearly on-fire right now and was delighted to finally end his ProTour hoodoo.
He said: “I came here from day one to be my best and to be fair I also performed. I just know that it doesn’t matter who you play on these Pro Tours all of them are great players. They can all play a 100 average. Oh my god, I’m happy, that’s for sure.
“In the final I didn’t really put him under pressure. But for some reason I couldn’t really step up like I can. But the last leg I think I played really well there. Finally that first win on the Pro Tours. Get in.
“I’m proud and happy to finally get that first win on the ProTour. It’s something I didn’t expect, but it happened.
“It’s all about the hard work. I played so good in the beginning of the day, so strong, but the longer the day took I felt that my game was going down.
“It’s one of those days that you didn’t expect to win, but you are winning. I came here and I’ve done my best, but I also performed.”
Van den Bergh is currently in second place in the Premier League, only on leg difference behind top of the table Nathan Aspinall, when the next block of matches starts on May 5.
He added: “I’m in a good position. I never expected myself to be in the position that I am, but I’m enjoying the moment and riding the wave.
“Everybody wants to be in the Premier League, I am and I’m just loving the experience.”
Former UK Open and World Grand Prix winner Robert Thornton reached his first semi-final on the circuit for almost two years with some fine darts on Tuesday.
A PDPA Associate Member who was given the chance to top up the field of 128 players in Niedernhausen, he overcame Premier League star Aspinall and Sunday’s winner Michael Smith on his way to the last four, as well as averaging 105 in a victory over Martin Schindler.
Daryl Gurney was a quarter-finalist for the second time in 2021, while Scott Mitchell reached the last eight for a second successive day and Simon Whitlock overcame Michael van Gerwen during his run to the same stage.
The day also featured a fourth nine-darter in as many days, as Krzysztof Ratajski achieved perfection during his first round win over Keane Barry.
Images by Taylor Lanning.