Rob Cross produced a sensational display to dismantle two-time world champion Adrian Lewis in Leverkusen, as Peter Wright returned to form in emphatic style on a dramatic day of second-round action at the European Darts Open on Saturday.
Cross produced a majestic performance to thrash Adrian Lewis in a battle of the world champions at the Ostermann Arena. ‘Voltage’ appeared on course to threaten Michael van Gerwen’s record European Tour average of 117.94 at one stage, but a mediocre last leg saw his average dip to 107.44.
Nevertheless, it was still a mightily impressive performance from the current world champion. The pair exchanged holds in the opening two legs, before Cross dispatched successive ton-plus checkouts to establish a 3-1 cushion. He then recorded legs of 12 and 13 darts to move to the brink of victory, before rounding off the win via D8.
Peter Wright returned to form in sensational style; averaging 105.98 to defeat Luke Woodhouse 6-3 to set up a last 16 showdown against his fellow Scot John Henderson. ‘Snakebite’ came into this event on the back of three successive 7-1 defeats in the Premier League, but he kicked off his European Darts Open defence with a sumptuous display.
The world number two posted eleven 140’s, took out a brilliant 161 kill and converted 75% of his doubles to triumph. Woodhouse only missed one dart at double himself, but Wright was too strong; wrapping up victory with a clinical two-dart 78 combination.
Michael van Gerwen began his European Tour campaign by registering a hard-fought 6-3 win over Cameron Menzies. The Scottish star squandered early opportunities at double which proved costly, as ‘The Green Machine’ prevailed with a modest 94.82 average, the solitary maximum and a 33% checkout success rate.
Ron Meulenkamp caused one of the shocks of the tournament to dump out World Grand Prix champion Daryl Gurney in a topsy-turvy tussle. Meulenkamp missed 21 darts at a double but crashed in seven maximums to close out a 6-4 victory with an 89.67 average, as ‘Super-Chin’ averaged a modest 85.07 and missed 13 darts at double himself.
James Wade continued his impressive form to overcome 14th seed Jelle Klaasen. The pair each registered three maximums but Wade’s consistency won the day. The eight-time major winner averaged 94.38 and dispatched 40% of his attempts at double, as Klaasen was punished for squandering nine of his twelve darts at double.
Wade will take on third seed Michael Smith on Sunday afternoon, after the four-time European Tour winner defeated Darren Johnson 6-3 in the evening’s finale. Smith made a blistering start; opening up a 4-0 cushion with legs of 15, 14, 11 and 14 darts, before fending off spirited resistance from ‘Dynamite’ to prevail with a 99.48 average.
Mensur Suljovic fought back from 3-1 down to defeat former BDO star Jamie Hughes in an attritional tussle. ‘Yozza’ opened up with successive 14-darters and took out 107 to lead 3-1, but Suljovic reeled off four straight legs to gain control. Hughes fired in a stunning 11-darter to stay alive, before ‘The Gentle’ closed out the win inside 13 darts.
Simon Whitlock produced a clinical display of finishing to defeat Tytus Kanik 6-2. The Polish star averaged 94.75 compared to Whitlock’s 91.96, but the pair’s contrasting fortunes in the doubling department proved decisive. Kanik converted just two of his seven darts at double, whilst ‘The Wizard’ boasted a checkout success rate of 86%.
Whitlock will now take on Dave Chisnall in round-three, after ‘Chizzy’ eased past Marko Kantele on Saturday afternoon. Kantele was unable to replicate the performance that saw him dump out Vincent van der Voort in round-one, as Chisnall ran out a 6-1 winner after averaging 88.36 and firing in three 180’s.
Nevertheless, there were a number of seeded players dumped out on an eventful Saturday afternoon. Gerwyn Price’s miserable run of form continued, as the Premier League star was edged out by Richard North in a last-leg decider. ‘The Lionheart’ averaged 94.66, fired in three 180’s and sealed his progression with a classy 14-dart hold.
Ian White suffered a 6-1 drubbing against Justin Pipe in the opening match of round-two. ‘The Diamond’ was punished for several missed darts at double in the early stages and Pipe grew in confidence as the contest progressed; averaging 89.66, firing in two maximums and converting 55% of his attempts at double to cap off a solid display.
John Henderson produced a terrific display to dump out 15th seed Kyle Anderson. ‘The Highlander’ averaged 98.19, piled in four maximums and boasted a checkout conversion rate of 38%; sealing his progression with a 15-dart hold on tops.
Chris Dobey maintained his fine form to record a comfortable 6-2 victory over tenth seed Kim Huybrechts. Dobey reached just his second PDC Final in Milton Keynes seven days ago and ‘Hollywood’ conjured up finishes of 71, 76, 91 and 113 to prevail with an 89.88 average and a 60% checkout conversion rate.
Dobey will now take on Joe Cullen for a place in the quarter-finals, after ‘The Rockstar’ edged out former Lakeside finalist Danny Noppert in a dramatic deciding-leg clash. Noppert stormed into an early 3-0 lead and missed chances to go 4-0 ahead, but Cullen spurned four match darts for a 6-4 win, eventually holding his nerve to triumph on D1.
Alan Norris will play Michael van Gerwen in Sunday’s third-round, after seeing off quick-fire Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena in round-two. Norris has endured a difficult start to 2018, but capitalised on a profligate display from ‘The Machine Gun’ to seal his progression with an 89.70 average, three maximums and a 46% checkout success rate.
Finally, Mervyn King ended home hopes in Leverkusen by defeating host-nation qualifier Gabriel Clemens 6-2. Clemens showed glimpses of his ability by conjuring up a brilliant 139 checkout, but King was rock solid. The Norfolk veteran averaged 97.92, piled in four maximums and converted an impressive 75% of his shots at a double.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
2018 European Darts Open
Saturday March 24
Afternoon Session (1pm local time, 12pm GMT)
Ian White 1-6 Justin Pipe
Gerwyn Price 5-6 Richard North
Kyle Anderson 4-6 John Henderson
Dave Chisnall 6-1 Marko Kantele
Alan Norris 6-4 Jermaine Wattimena
Kim Huybrechts 2-6 Chris Dobey
Joe Cullen 6-5 Danny Noppert
Mervyn King 6-2 Gabriel Clemens
Evening Session (7.15pm local time, 6.15pm GMT)
Simon Whitlock 6-2 Tytus Kanik
Daryl Gurney 4-6 Ron Meulenkamp
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Cameron Menzies
Peter Wright 6-3 Luke Woodhouse
Rob Cross 6-1 Adrian Lewis
Jelle Klaasen 3-6 James Wade
Mensur Suljovic 6-4 Jamie Hughes
Michael Smith 6-3 Darren Johnson
Michael van Gerwen v Alan Norris
Simon Whitlock v Dave Chisnall
Ron Meulenkamp v Justin Pipe
Rob Cross v Richard North
Peter Wright v John Henderson
Joe Cullen v Chris Dobey
Mensur Suljovic v Mervyn King
Michael Smith v James Wade