Baetens ‘Beasts’ His Way to Lakeside Glory

Red Dragon Darts

Number 1 seed and bookies favourite Andy Baetens was crowned WDF world champion on Sunday evening as he defeated Dutchman Chris Landman 6-1.

Landman may have pulled off two impressive scalps over former world champions in Jelle Klaasen and Neil Duff, but his run had simply petered out by the final, as Baetens steam-rollered to victory.

The opening leg also marked the first break of throw, an unorthodox double 19 enough for Andy to get first blood.

Despite making the final, Chris Landman had been less than efficient at times on doubles through the week. And it was doubles which proved his maker in leg 2, as Baetens took another game.

The set was soon the Belgian’s, despite a 180 each from the pair. Set 2 had a distinct double 20 theme, the red bit proving lethal for Baetens as he pinned it in three consecutive legs to double his lead.

Landman now found himself up against it. After trading legs, a 12 darter proved just the ticket to take a 2-1 lead, Landman finally looking on the brink of his first set. Not quite. A brilliant 170 from Andy Baetens, the first to fall this week, levelled proceedings at 2-2, before he took the decider. Time for Landman to have to try even harder.

Digging in, ‘The Countryman’ took the first two legs to make sure it wasn’t home time quite yet. The number 1 seed earned a reprieve in leg 3, but Landman knuckled down, two 140s and a ton helping him on his way before cleaning up from 121 in two visits. 3-1 it was.

To truly capitalise on his set win, Landman had to be sure to convert it into a second. After sharing the opening two legs, errors in the third leg denied Landman the chance of an early lead. Baetens seized and the set soon followed.

Landman was not going to repeat past mistakes, and took an early break of throw in set 6. The set however took a change of direction, Baetens winning the next two legs before Landman rued an inopportune bounceout at the start of leg 4. The set was Baetens’s, the lead increasingly unassailable.

A break of throw followed in leg 1 of the seventh set, matched by a hold in leg 2. Double 20 had been a good friend to ‘The Beast from the East’, and it proved so one crucial more time. The title, deservedly, was Andy’s.

“I have dreamed a long time for this, for over 10 years, so to finally be world champion I am so happy,” he told presenter Jo Ankier following the final.

“I have practiced for 3 or 4 hours every day for the last few months. I had a lot of confidence and I knew my opponents needed a really good performance to beat me.”

“Chris is a very good player and PDC Pro Tour finalist, so I am very happy to win.”

In victory, Andy becomes the first Belgian world champion of any code, following up on a very impressive season on the floor for the WDF.


Images: Chris Sargeant/ WDF


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