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  • Martin Schindler 'Happiest Man On Earth' After Claiming First Career European Tour Title In Germany

Martin Schindler 'happiest man on earth' after claiming first career European Tour title in Germany

Martin Schindler revealed he is one of the 'happiest' men on earth after beating Gerwyn Price to win the NEO.bet International Darts Open on Sunday.

Schindler, spurred on by a bumper crowd at the WT Energiesysteme Arena, denied Price a record-extending fifth International Darts Open crown, running out an 8-5 winner to become the third German player to win a senior PDC title.

The 27-year-old – a steward on the PDC European Tour a decade ago – was overcome by emotion on a night which also saw him crowned as Germany’s new number one.

Having eased past his compatriot Jan Dueckers in Friday’s first round, Schindler sealed his spot in Finals Day with a superb 6-3 success against Joe Cullen, averaging 105 in the process.

The 27-year-old then won through contrasting encounters against Dutch duo Richard Veenstra and Danny Noppert, and he sealed his place in Sunday’s showpiece with a resounding 7-3 win over Chris Dobey.

This set up a fascinating showdown against Price, who was chasing a third consecutive title in Riesa, having also lifted this title in 2018, 2019, 2022 and 2023.

Price dominated the opening exchanges, kicking off the contest with six perfect darts and drawing first blood with an 11-dart break, on his way to establishing a 2-0 lead.

Schindler responded with three straight legs to seize the initiative, although the pendulum continued to swing as Price hit back with legs of 15 and 13 darts to edge 4-3 ahead.

However, the diminutive German restored his lead with clinical 80 and 120 checkouts, and after winning a scrappy tenth leg via double two, he fired in a magnificent ten-darter to move to the brink of victory.

Price preserved his hopes with a brilliant 12-dart hold, but Schindler wasn’t to be denied, taking out 48 in two darts to clinch his maiden senior title on home soil.

"My knees are shaking right now," claimed a tearful Schindler, who climbs to a career-high of world number 22.

"It's just crazy. I've been playing this tour for seven to eight years now. It's been such a long journey, and now I'm standing here with one of these beautiful trophies.

"I could never have dreamed of this ten years ago, but I have worked so hard for this, I've invested so much and right now, I might just be the happiest man on earth.

"I want to be one of the best dart players in the world, and when you win a title on the European Tour, I think you are one of the best.

"My main priority for me was to improve my ranking for the World Matchplay and the World Grand Prix and that went completely to plan. I'm so happy about that, and I'm so happy to win this trophy."

Price had won 20 of his last 21 matches at this event prior to this weekend, and he continued his incredible record in Riesa to pocket the £12,000 runner-up prize.

The Welshman fended off a resilient Brendan Dolan in his second round tie on Saturday, before powering in an astonishing 115.74 average – a new tournament record – to dispatch Ricardo Pietreczko in round three.

Price then fought back from 5-2 down to deny Ross Smith in the last eight – aided by a sensational 161 skin-saver in leg nine – and he followed this up with a hard-fought victory over Stephen Bunting in the semi-finals.

“I’m a little bit disappointed in myself,” reflected Price, who was featuring in his tenth European Tour final.

“I felt I should have won this game, but fair play to Martin, he’s a fantastic player and he played well there.”

Photo Credit: Jonas Hunold/PDC Europe

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