Former European Tour winners James Wade, Vincent van der Voort and Mervyn King triumphed on an eventful opening day of the European Darts Open, as James Richardson produced the performance of the first-round in Leverkusen.
Eight-time major winner James Wade kicked off his campaign by thrashing former Austrian Open winner Justin Pipe. Wade, who came through the UK qualifiers to seal his spot in Leverkusen, averaged 90.34 to ease through; setting up a second-round clash against his fellow Premier League star Dave Chisnall.
James Richardson produced the performance of the opening-round to thrash former Lakeside world champion Mark Webster 6-2. ‘Ruthless’ lived up to his nickname; averaging 101.24, landing two maximums, registering 11 scores of 140+ and converting 46% of his double attempts to set up a second-round tie against Benito van de Pas.
Huddersfield star Peter Jacques won six of the final seven legs to stun Australian ace Kyle Anderson in a high-quality contest. Anderson averaged 100.72 and registered five 180’s, but it was to no avail as Jacques recovered from 2-0 down to triumph 6-3; averaging 97.79 and taking out a nerveless 120 finish in the process.
Vincent van der Voort will meet his best friend Michael van Gerwen in round-two after easing past Spanish star Cristo Reyes, who had reached the semi-finals in the previous two European Tour events. Van der Voort averaged 91.96, posted two maximums and boasted a 67% checkout success rate to round-off a clinical display.
Mervyn King continued his fine form to defeat Finnish ace Kim Viljanen- a quarter-finalist at last weekend’s Austrian Darts Open. The opening four legs were shared, but King averaged 93.80 and piled in four maximums to win four of the five remaining legs, to create a second-round meeting against Ian White.
Former Lakeside world champion Christian Kist produced a solid performance to ease past Austrian star Zoran Lerchbacher. Kist averaged 90.70, fired in two maximums and posted a 50% checkout success rate to record a 6-2 victory; setting up a second-round showdown against another Austrian, in the shape of third seed Mensur Suljovic.
Kist’s Dutch counterpart Jerry Hendriks will take on Daryl Gurney in round-two, after defying two magnificent finishes from European Tour debutant Christian Bunse to battle through. The German qualifier piled in 145 and 104 finishes, but Hendriks converted 55% of his attempts at double to prevail 6-4 with an 84.30 average.
Mark Walsh rolled back the years to defeat former World-Youth finalist Nathan Aspinall in the opening game of the tournament. Walshie converted finishes of 116 and 118 in successive legs en route to an emphatic 6-2 victory, as Aspinall was punished for converting just two of his fourteen attempts at double.
Former European Tour finalist John Henderson reeled off four consecutive legs to ease past Ray Campbell and set up a second-round clash against Kim Huybrechts. The opening four legs all went against throw, before the Scotsman took command; finishing with an impressive 97.19 average.
Robbie Green defied a partisan home crowd to edge out German World Cup star Martin Schindler in an eleven-leg nail-biter. ‘Kong’ averaged 86.76 and posted three maximums, but his finishing was the decisive factor. He produced stunning 126 and 115 checkouts and boasted a brilliant 75% checkout success rate to book his spot in round-two.
Krzysztof Ratajski reached the second-round of a European Tour event for the fifth time this year, after recording a comprehensive 6-1 win over Mark Barilli. The Polish star averaged 95.97 and converted 60% of his shots at double to triumph, which all but seals his qualification for the European Championship in October.
Host Nation Qualifier Steffen Siepmann reached the last 32 for a second time on the European Tour this year, edging out quick-fire Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena in a topsy-turvy deciding leg tussle. Wattimena dominated the scoring stakes, but Siepmann dispatched finishes of 100, 107 and finally 96 to prevail in dramatic fashion.
Robert Allenstein won through to the last 32 for the second time in four European Tour appearances as he won his all-German clash with Dragutin Horvat 6-3. Allenstein averaged 87.67 and landed four maximums; sealing victory with a 103 finish to move through and face Rob Cross in round-two.
Belgian hotshot Dimitri van den Bergh breezed into round-two with a comprehensive whitewash victory against Matt Clark. ‘The Dream-Maker’ averaged 93.94, landed the solitary maximum and converted 43% of his attempts at double, as he prepares to take on Simon Whitlock on Saturday afternoon.
Devon Petersen survived a major scare to defeat Richard North in the evening’s finale. Petersen spurned seven match darts but earned a reprieve, after the Hampshire ace had missed a host of opportunities to lead 5-3. The South African will now take on Jelle Klaasen for a place in Sunday’s last 16.
Former UK Open giantkiller Aden Kirk triumphed on his European Tour debut- edging out Dutch qualifier Michael Plooy in a tense last-leg decider. Kirk, who defeated Phil Taylor & Peter Wright en route to reaching the UK Open last 16 back in 2014, averaged five points less than his opponent, but held his nerve to seal victory via D4.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
HappyBet European Darts Open
Friday June 30
Mark Walsh 6-2 Nathan Aspinall
James Richardson 6-2 Mark Webster
John Henderson 6-2 Ray Campbell
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-1 Mark Barilli
Steffen Siepmann 6-5 Jermaine Wattimena
Aden Kirk 6-5 Michael Plooy
Robbie Green 6-5 Martin Schindler
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-0 Matt Clark
James Wade 6-1 Justin Pipe
Jerry Hendriks 6-4 Christian Bunse
Christian Kist 6-2 Zoran Lerchbacher
Peter Jacques 6-3 Kyle Anderson
Mervyn King 6-3 Kim Viljanen
Vincent van der Voort 6-2 Cristo Reyes
Robert Allenstein 6-3 Dragutin Horvat
Devon Petersen 6-5 Richard North