Anderson and Suljovic spoke to Sky Sports' Rod Studd after their marathon match
Gary Anderson said he “rode his luck” in edging out Mensur Suljovic 21-19 to lift the World Matchplay title in one of the greatest games ever seen at the Winter Gardens.
In a marathon final – the longest ever seen in the tournament’s 25-year history – Anderson survived a sensational fightback from Suljovic to clinch his maiden World Matchplay title and complete the Triple Crown of darts.
The two-time world champion averaged 101.41 and crashed in 14 maximums en route to victory, as Suljovic suffered defeat despite posting an astonishing 104.43 average including 14 maximums and two ton-plus checkouts.
Speaking to Sky Sports’ Rod Studd after his epic victory, Anderson admitted he was struggling to put the contest into words.
“I don’t know. It was a struggle. I always struggle against Mensur once he gets on his game,” he said.
“I watched him last night and said if he plays like that, it’s going to be a roll-over but 180s and 140s tonight, plus the good old bullseye.”
Anderson’s reference to the bullseye came after he suffered an unbelievable bounce out on the bull with a dart for the title and a 20-18 victory, before Suljovic capitalised magnificently with an 11-darter to prolong the contest.
However, the fourth seed reacted superbly, firing in a 14-dart leg to break straight back, before finally holding his throw to seal the deal, and Anderson insisted he had no option but to respond.
“I had to [keep going]. When you hit a shot like that and it falls out – twice earlier on in the game I had a bullseye and they fell out – but I got away with it. I rode my luck today,” he said.
Anderson also becomes just the third player to complete the Triple Crown – following in the footsteps of Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen – by winning the World Championship, Premier League and World Matchplay titles.
Taylor was part of Sky Sports’ commentary team for this year’s tournament and Anderson teased that ‘The Power’ could return to Blackpool in a bid to reclaim The Phil Taylor Trophy next year.
“It’s been nice to see Phil this week. I’ve not seen him for a good five to six months but great to see him back in Blackpool where he belongs, but I reckon next year he’ll be back for it. I think he’ll come out of retirement,” he quipped.
However, while Anderson secured the title, Suljovic won the hearts of the Winter Gardens crowd after producing an inspired display – posting his first ever ton-plus average at the World Matchplay.
Despite the defeat, the Austrian was in positive spirits in his post-match interview. “It’s a brilliant feeling. Thank you to the crowd. Thank you everybody. It was such a good game,” Suljovic said.
“Gary Anderson is the best guy in the tournament. I see Gary was playing brilliantly on the doubles but my doubles were not coming and I was thinking ‘Come on Mensur,’ but Gary played brilliantly tonight. Respect to Gary Anderson. He is a brilliant player.”
‘The Gentle’ also came close to registering an incredible nine-darter. He posted seven perfect darts, but his eighth dart at treble 15 agonisingly drifted into the treble ten.
If Suljovic had completed the perfect leg he’d have earned a share of the £45,000 Anderson received for his nine-dart heroics against Joe Cullen, a fact he hilariously pointed out to the Scot.
“I was thinking maybe half-and-half on the nine-darter but no I missed that treble 15,” he joked.
However, Anderson admitted he wouldn’t have begrudged the Austrian a share of the spoils.
“It would have been a nice share,” Anderson said.
“Like Mensur said, the crowd here – with the heatwave over the last seven or eight days – have been fantastic.
“I will be looking forward to it next year when I’m coming up that M5, M6 and M4 but it’s been a good year. I’ve played some good darts – struggled a wee bit, pinched a few but it’s still gone.”
2:15 Here's the best of the action from what has been a memorable World Matchplay in Blackpool
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