Michael van Gerwen battled through the pain barrier to defeat German World Cup star Martin Schindler on the opening night of the inaugural German Darts Masters, as Peter Wright survived one match dart to set up a quarter-final showdown against Mensur Suljovic in Dusseldorf.
Van Gerwen was visibly struggling with an ankle injury, but he battled through the pain barrier to defeat Martin Schindler 6-2. ‘The Green Machine’ was far from his vintage best but still produced the odd glimpse of brilliance; taking out a brilliant 107 on the bull after a first-dart bounce-out, as he triumphed with a 96.83 average and three maximums.
Mensur Suljovic fended off an inspired fightback from Kyle Anderson to set up a quarter-final showdown with Peter Wright on Saturday afternoon. ‘The Gentle’ led 5-2 and appeared poised to close out a convincing win, but Anderson reeled off three straight legs to force a decider, only for the Austrian to hold his nerve in an edgy final leg.
Suljovic capitalised on missed doubles from ‘The Original’ to establish a 5-2 cushion, but the Australian registered three legs on the spin in just 39 darts to force a decider. However, with Anderson sat on tops, Suljovic landed D16 with his last dart in hand to prevail with a 96.97 average, four maximums and a 55% checkout conversion rate.
The Champions League of Darts winner will meet UK Open champion Peter Wright in the quarter-finals, after the world number three survived a match dart to sneak past an impressive Dragutin Horvat. Snakebite led 5-1 at one stage, but Horvat fought back superbly, only to spurn one match dart at tops in a nail-biting deciding leg.
Snakebite lost his focus in a bizarre seventh leg; missing three big numbers as Horvat reduced the arrears to 5-2. The German qualifier then dispatched a 13-darter, before converting finishes of 64 and 110 to force a decider. However, Horvat missed tops for a 106 kill in the decider, as Wright sank D5 to triumph with a modest 92.75 average.
James Wade returned to winning ways with an impressive 6-2 win over qualifier Kevin Munch. The German acquitted himself well on home soil, averaging 90 and taking out an unorthodox 105 finish (25, D20, D20), but ‘The Machine’ lived up to his nickname in Dusseldorf.
Wade averaged 101.02, took out two ton-plus checkouts and converted all six of his attempts at double to cap off a clinical display and set up a quarter-final clash against world number one Michael van Gerwen.
Two-time world champion Gary Anderson marked his return to competitive action with a hard-fought 6-3 win over home favourite Max Hopp. Anderson had been absent for over five weeks after his partner Rachel gave birth to their second child Cheylea a fortnight ago, but he was still too good for the German number one.
Anderson struggled to produce his prolific trademark scoring, but the former World-Youth champion was unable to capitalise, averaging a modest 81. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ squandered five match darts in the eighth leg, but although Hopp reduced the deficit to 5-3, Anderson found tops moments later to close out victory with a 90.51 average.
The Scot will take on Raymond van Barneveld for a place in the semi-finals, after the legendary Dutchman kicked off the tournament with a comfortable 6-3 win over Stefan Stoyke. The five-time world champion made a blistering start; storming into a 3-0 lead with an average of over 107, with Stoyke languishing in the mid 60’s.
The German qualifier grew into the contest, winning three of the next five legs and conjuring up impressive 11 and 12 darters in the process. However, he spurned two darts at tops to reduce the arrears to 5-4 and Van Barneveld capitalised; pegging D8 to prevail with a 90.11 average, two maximums and a 43% checkout success rate.
Phil Taylor kicked off his final appearance on German soil with an emphatic 6-2 victory over Robert Marijanovic. The qualifier clinched the opening leg via D10, but the 16-time world champion won six of the next seven legs to seal his progression; averaging 92.45, posting the solitary maximum and dispatching 43% of his attempts at double.
‘The Power’ will now face World Grand Prix champion Daryl Gurney, who breezed through with a whitewash win over Maik Langendorf. Langendorf qualified for this event by topping the German superleague rankings, but averaged just 77 and missed all eight of his darts at double as ‘Super-Chin’ triumphed with a 91.09 average.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
2017 German Darts Masters
Friday October 20 (8.15pm local time, 7.15pm BST)
First Round x8
Raymond van Barneveld 6-3 Stefan Stoyke
Daryl Gurney 6-0 Maik Langendorf
James Wade 6-2 Kevin Munch
Kyle Anderson 5-6 Mensur Suljovic
Gary Anderson 6-3 Max Hopp
Peter Wright 6-5 Dragutin Horvat
Phil Taylor 6-2 Robert Marijanovic
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Martin Schindler
Best of 11 legs
Saturday October 21
Gary Anderson v Raymond van Barneveld
Peter Wright v Mensur Suljovic
Phil Taylor v Daryl Gurney
Michael van Gerwen v James Wade