Jonny Clayton

ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - APRIL 20: Jonny Clayton of Wales celebrating during the 2023 Cazoo Premier League Darts Night 12 match between Chris Dobey of England and Jonny Clayton of Wales on April 20, 2023 in Rotterdam, Netherlands (Photo by Marcel ter Bals/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Jonny Clayton Proves Too Tough For Rock As The Ferret Digs In To Win In Austria

By David Williams

Jonny Clayton secured his second Interwetten Austrian Darts Open championship and his first PDC ranking title since October 2021, beating Josh Rock 8-6 in a high-quality and dramatic match in Graz.

Welsh star Clayton defeated Jelle Klaasen, Damon Heta, Joe Cullen, and Daryl Gurney to reach the final, where he faced Rock.

The 22-year-old won the first leg but The Ferret responded with four consecutive legs, including a 121 checkout and a 12-dart break.

Rock fought back to cut the deficit to 4-5 and even tied it at 6-6. However, Clayton held his nerve to win the final two legs and claim the championship.

“I think Graz is very kind to me. I love this place,” said Clayton, who received the £30,000 prize and the green jacket given to the champion of the Austrian Darts Open.

“The crowd have been fantastic. They’ve been behind me all tournament and now I’ve got another green jacket. What more can I ask for?

“The support is unreal. I was a working man playing darts as a hobby. Now it’s my profession and with a crowd like this behind me, I can’t ask for anything more – it is absolutely fantastic.”

Rock, who beat reigning champion Michael van Gerwen and home favorite Mensur Suljovic on his way to the final, performed well but couldn’t overcome Clayton in the end.

“Jonny took his chances when he had to, but I reached my first semi-final and final on the same night [on the European Tour], so I cannot complain. I’m happy,” said Rock.

Van Gerwen, who had won this event every year since 2016, was defeated by Rock in the quarter-finals.

Daryl Gurney was the other losing semi-finalist, and home favorite Suljovic made it to the quarter-finals, beating Peter Wright and Michael Smith along the way.

The next event in the PDC European Tour will be the Dutch Darts Championship in Leeuwarden from April 28-30, with 48 players competing in the tournament.

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