Last year’s finalists Michael van Gerwen and Peter Wright began their latest European Grand Prix campaigns with emphatic second-round victories, whist Mark Webster dumped out James Wade in a dramatic double-session of darts at the Glaspalast in Sindelfingen on Saturday.
World number one Michael van Gerwen began the defence of his European Darts Grand Prix title with a comfortable win over former World-Youth champion Keegan Brown. Van Gerwen raced into a 5-0 advantage, but Brown then landed a 120 finish to avert the whitewash and peg back to 5-2, until the Dutchman sealed victory with a 97.05 average.
Peter Wright began his assault for a third European Tour title of 2017 after beating James Richardson by the same scoreline. Snakebite was in clinical mood; averaging 100.60 and converting 66% of his attempts at double, to secure a comprehensive win and set up a last 16 tie against Daryl Gurney.
The Northern Irishman sealed his progression to Sunday’s third-round with a 6-4 victory against Scottish star John Henderson. ‘Super-Chin’ was averaging over 109 as he forged into a 3-1 advantage, but he was forced to fend off a spirited fightback from ‘Big John’, to close out a 6-4 triumph with a 99.57 average.
Mark Webster edged out his fellow left-hander James Wade in a highly-charged last-leg decider. Referee Russ Bray was forced to intervene after the match as some choice words were exchanged between the pair, after the Welshman had punished 14 missed darts at double from Wade to prevail with an 89.13 average.
Dave Chisnall continued his magnificent form to book a last 16 showdown with his Premier League rival Adrian Lewis. Chisnall averaged a phenomenal 112 and landed five maximums to defeat the veteran Matt Clark 6-3, whilst ‘Jackpot’ edged out his fellow Stoke star Ian White; sealing his progression with a solid 96.74 average.
Third seed Mensur Suljovic produced a clinical display to defeat Polish star Krzysztof Ratajski. The Austrian averaged 98.47 to record a 6-4 win and set up a third-round showdown with Joe Cullen. ‘The Rockstar’ breezed into round-three with a 6-1 win over Jonny Clayton; averaging 95.28 and converting 60% of his attempts at double.
German Darts Masters finalist Jelle Klaasen comfortably sealed his passage through to the last 16 with victory over his compatriot Dirk van Duijvenbode. Klaasen has reached at least the semi-finals in all three of the European Tour events in 2017 and punished an off-colour performance from Van Duijvenbode to triumph with a modest 81.57 average.
Rob Cross defeated Simon Whitlock for the second European Tour event in succession to set up a last 16 meeting against Steve West. Cross averaged 95.93 and boasted a checkout success rate of 50%, whilst West defied a 101.80 average from three-time European Tour winner Michael Smith to book his spot in round-three.
Alan Norris’ disappointing start to the 2017 European Tour continued, as he suffered deciding-leg heartbreak against in-form Dutchman Jan Dekker. Dekker averaged over 108 in his first-round demolition of James Wilson on Friday, before clinching a dramatic win over Norris with a sublime 160 outshot in the eleventh and deciding leg.
It was a mixed day for the Belgian duo of Kim Huybrechts and Dimitri van den Bergh. Huybrechts ended German hopes by averaging 92.13 to complete a professional win over Max Hopp, whilst Dimitri van den Bergh was dumped out after losing to Welsh number one Gerwyn Price; who averaged 96.67 to register a convincing win.
Elsewhere, recent German Darts Open finalist Benito van de Pas survived a scare to defeat Joe Murnan in a nerve-jangling deciding leg, whilst Finland’s Ulf Ceder continued his dream European Tour debut to stun Spanish star Cristo Reyes and set up a showdown with world number one Michael van Gerwen.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
HappyBet European Darts Grand Prix
May 5-7, Glaspalast, Sindelfingen, Germany
Saturday May 6
Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm local time, 12pm-4pm BST)
Jan Dekker 6-5 Alan Norris
Ulf Ceder 6-3 Cristo Reyes
Jelle Klaasen 6-2 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Rob Cross 6-3 Simon Whitlock
Dave Chisnall 6-3 Matt Clark
Joe Cullen 6-1 Jonny Clayton
Benito van de Pas 6-5 Joe Murnan
Kim Huybrechts 6-3 Max Hopp
Evening Session (7pm-11pm local time, 6pm-10pm BST)
Mark Webster 6-5 James Wade
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Steve West 6-5 Michael Smith
Daryl Gurney 6-4 John Henderson
Mensur Suljovic 6-4 Krzysztof Ratajski
Peter Wright 6-2 James Richardson
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Keegan Brown
Adrian Lewis 6-4 Ian White