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German Darts Championship: Ricardo Pietreczko delights home crowd by claiming first ranking title

Ricardo Pietreczko produced a flawless display of finishing to win the Interwetten German Darts Championship in Hildesheim on Sunday with an astonishing 8-4 win over Peter Wright in the final.

The 28-year-old stunned World Champions Wright and Michael van Gerwen in Sunday night's final stages to claim his first ranking title in incredible fashion.

Pietreczko's success sees him become only the second German to win a European Tour title, emulating Max Hopp's 2018 achievement, while he also scoops £30,000 in prize money and claims a spot in November's Grand Slam of Darts.

He had begun the event in Friday's first round, battling through six matches to claim the title - hitting a perfect eight doubles from as many attempts in the final.

Pietreckzo also finished seven doubles from nine attempts in his semi-final with Van Gerwen, which he won with a ten-darter in the deciding leg.

"I have no words for this!" smiled Pietreczko, who had dropped to his knees celebrating the triumph.

"I've often dreamed of standing on that stage winning a title but to see it actually coming true is unbelievable.

"I didn't realise that I didn't miss a dart at a double [in the final], I was just so happy in the moment to have hit them. It was incredible to play in Hildesheim, I absolutely love it here.

"I know I can beat the best in the world and I try my very best to beat the best in the world. I'm over the moon, very happy to be in the Grand Slam."

Pietreczko had defeated Mickey Mansell in Friday's first round and averaged over 107 against fellow German Martin Schindler to book a spot in Sunday's latter stages.

He proved too strong for George Killington in the last 16 and then saw off Stephen Bunting 6-4 in a quarter-final tie where both players averaged over 100.

Pietreczko found the performance of his career against Van Gerwen in the semi-finals, averaging over 99 and finishing seven doubles from just nine attempts to delight the Halle 39 crowd.

He took out 104 to win the opening leg, landed an 11-darter to lead 3-2 and then moved to the brink of victory at 6-3.

Van Gerwen showed his class to level the game with three straight legs, punishing his opponent for failing to leave a double when needing 80 and 92 in two of those, only for Pietreczko to regain his composure in the decider, scoring 140, 180 and 145 before pinning double 18 for a ten-darter.

He won the final's opening four legs without reply, taking out 102 and a 13-darter, before responding to Wright's first leg with a 116 checkout to lead 5-1.

Wright took out a 13-darter and a 126 bull finish as well as double ten as he claimed three of the next five legs, but Pietreczko followed up checkouts of 74 and 108 with a 104 combination to secure the title.

Wright had begun his challenge on Saturday by defeating Masters champion Chris Dobey 6-2, and then overcame German prospect Nico Kurz 6-3 in Sunday afternoon's third round.

He finished six doubles from nine attempts in a clinical 6-4 quarter-final win over Damon Heta, and then produced his best display of the event to see off Luke Humphries 7-5 in the semis.

Wright opened with an 11-darter and led 3-0 before Humphries took out an 11-dart leg of his own to get off the mark and bullseye finishes of 135 and 84 as he pulled back to 4-3.

Crucially, Wright edged clear with another 11-darter, and though Humphries finished 84 again and landed a 13-dart leg to reduce the deficit to 6-5, the Scot wrapped up victory in 12 darts with a 116 checkout.

However, Wright fell one game short of claiming a ninth European Tour success, admitting: "It wasn't there in the final, I couldn't push him but fair play, he beat some fantastic players all the way through the tournament.

"I've played him before and he beat me up last time, I know how he can play. He's a fantastic player and it's great for darts."

Van Gerwen had won through a deciding leg twice earlier on Sunday in his bid to win a 37th European Tour title, edging past Joe Cullen and Gabriel Clemens before seeing Pietreczko claim their semi-final in dramatic fashion.

Humphries was bidding to follow up last week's BoyleSports World Grand Prix triumph with a second European Tour title of the year and a sixth in total.

The new world number four was outstanding with a 111.33 average in a third round whitewash of James Wade on Sunday afternoon, and he then missed double 12 for a nine-darter in a brilliant performance against Rob Cross in the quarter-finals.

Germany's Clemens saw off European Champion Ross Smith in the third round as he won through to the last eight, while Cross edged out World Champion Michael Smith in a deciding leg in the last 16.

Following the conclusion of the 2023 PDC European Tour season, the top 32 players from the final European Tour Order of Merit now progress to play in the Machineseeker European Championship from October 26-29 in Dortmund.

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