Reigning champion Van den Bergh eyeing another Copenhagen crown

Dimitri Van den Bergh (Taylor Lanning/PDC)

Dimitri Van den Bergh is eyeing a return to winning ways as he bids to retain his Nordic Darts Masters crown in Copenhagen this weekend.

Van den Bergh will be among the eight PDC stars vying for glory at Forum Copenhagen on January 20-21, in the third staging of the Nordic Darts Masters.

The Belgian produced a string of sublime performances to triumph on Danish soil in 2022, defeating Gerwyn Price, Michael Smith and Gary Anderson to claim the £20,000 top prize.

The 28-year-old added to his haul with victory in the inaugural Dutch Darts Masters just weeks later, before returning to the World Series fold in the PDC’s first visit to Bahrain last week.

“To represent the PDC on the World Series is an incredible honour, and it's something I love to do,” said Van den Bergh, who topped the World Series Order of Merit last year.

“I always want to produce my best so unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed with my performance in Bahrain, especially my finishing.

“My finishing really let me down, but all you can do is take it on the chin and come back stronger, and it would be incredible to retain my title this weekend.

“I have only managed to retain a title once in my professional career, so to do it at senior level would give me extra belief and show that I am part of the elite.”

Van den Bergh succumbed to World Champion Michael Smith in the quarter-finals of the Bahrain Darts Masters last week, spurning 26 darts at double in a narrow 6-4 defeat.

Smith went on to lift the title courtesy of an 8-6 victory over Price in Friday’s showpiece, and Van den Bergh could take on the Welshman in Saturday’s quarter-finals in Copenhagen.

However, the former World Matchplay champion has been handed a tough opening assignment against Latvian star Madars Razma, a World Grand Prix quarter-finalist back in October.

“You have to recognise that Madars Razma is a top-class player,” admitted Van den Bergh.

“I know he is amazingly good on the treble 19, he’s hit nine-darters on the ProTour, he can finish under pressure, so I know I have to be at my best from the start.

“I want to go up there and have some fun, but I want to do it with a focus and if I do that, hopefully I will keep him under pressure.”

The PDC’s World Series of Darts has helped to grow the game across the globe, and Van den Bergh has seen the sport’s popularity soar back home in Belgium over recent years.

This has been aided by broadcaster VTM acquiring rights to screen PDC televised tournaments, as well as last year’s hugely successful Belgian Darts Open on the European Tour.

Van den Bergh has been instrumental in this growth, creating history at Alexandra Palace just weeks ago by becoming the first Belgian player to feature in the Cazoo World Darts Championship semi-finals.

“It was massive in Belgium. It was a crazy experience,” revealed Van den Bergh, who is targeting further success in 2023.

“I came back home and everybody was recognising me and coming up to me and saying: ‘You’ve made history, you’re a history-maker in Belgium.’

“The reaction was huge and it’s so cool to have so much support, but at the end of the day I’m just a human being that is trying to be the best that I can be in the sport that I love.

“I hope I can keep building and keep believing in what I do. I obviously would like to have another big televised title and that’s one of the next dreams I have in my sights.

“The Dream Maker still has a lot of dreams to be made true, and I’m going to be working really hard to make that happen.”

The Nordic Darts Masters is being broadcast through Viaplay, via ITV4 in the UK, through the PDC's worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN, and on PDCTV (excluding Germany, Austria & Switzerland based subscribers).

Please note that Friday's first round coverage can be watched live by fans from the UK on PDCTV. ITV4 coverage of the first round will be shown delayed on Saturday January 21.

2023 Viaplay Nordic Darts Masters
January 20-21, Forum Copenhagen
Draw Bracket

(1) Michael Smith v Darius Labanauskas
Luke Humphries v Marko Kantele
(4) Peter Wright v Dennis Nilsson
Michael van Gerwen v Andreas Harrysson
(2) Gerwyn Price v Benjamin Drue Reus
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Madars Razma
(3) Rob Cross v Vladimir Andersen
Jonny Clayton v Daniel Larsson

Schedule of Play
Friday January 20 (1900 local time, 1800 GMT)

First Round
Luke Humphries v Marko Kantele
Jonny Clayton v Daniel Larsson
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Madars Razma
Gerwyn Price v Benjamin Drue Reus
Peter Wright v Dennis Nilsson
Michael Smith v Darius Labanauskas
Rob Cross v Vladimir Andersen
Michael van Gerwen v Andreas Harrysson