The necessary consistency is really not to deny Gabriel Clemens. Since his breakthrough four years ago, the Saarlander has risen to become the undisputed number one in Germany. He has firmly established himself in the top 32 in the world rankings and sensationally beat the reigning world champion Peter Wright at the 2021 World Cup. On a good day, Clemens is absolutely world class. Only the big hit, a title win on the circuit of the PDC, is still missing.
On Friday, at the Pro Tour in Barnsley, there was another chance to end the long wait. Not only did the German not give up a leg against Adam Hunt and Gordon Mathers in the first two rounds, he also produced the second-highest average of the day against Mathers with 114.15 points. Convincing victories against Geert Nentjes, Ryan Meikle and Daryl Gurney followed, and Clemens also survived the decisive leg against Nathan Aspinall in the semifinals, including a match dart against himself.
Everything seemed set in the sixth final of his career. But it should be his sixth defeat. A cracking one at that. Dirk van Duijvenbode didn’t give Clemens a chance. The Dutchman dominated the game from the start, played eleven darts, 15 darts and two 14 darts. With a 4-0 lead behind them, van Duijvenbode reduced the game a bit, but without letting Clemens come back.
The “German Giant” also missed his five arrows on the double fields. His opponent had the consistency that usually characterizes Clemens and used his third match dart for an 8:0 whitewash. The Dutchman collects 12,000 pounds for the success, Clemens at least 8,000 pounds.
“If you want to beat me now, you have to play well,” said van Duijvenbode after his victory and gave a foretaste of the World Matchplay. “In all other interviews I would have said ‘no’ but now I believe I am capable (of winning the World Matchplay).” The traditional Major at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens begins on July 16.
But before that, there are still three more tournaments on the Pro Tour until Monday. Three more chances for Clemens to shed his status as the highest ranking player without a PDC title (22nd place in the world rankings). And three more chances for a German triumph. The last was almost four years ago. Back then, the former child prodigy Max Hopp won a tournament on the Pro Tour. He is now only the German number four.