Adrian Lewis suffered a shock first-round exit against Yordi Meeuwisse on a dramatic opening day at the German Darts Grand Prix, as James Wade, Stephen Bunting and Chris Dobey all impressed in Munich on Saturday evening.
However, the biggest story of the opening day was the shock departure of two-time world champion Adrian Lewis, who relinquished a 5-2 cushion against an inspired Meeuwisse. Jackpot spurned four match darts in the closing stages, as Meeuwisse completed the comeback and prevailed with a 94.92 average.
The Dutchman established an early 2-1 cushion, before Lewis reeled off four straight legs to move to the brink of victory. However, Meeuwisse produced a stunning burst to secure one of the biggest victories of his career- winning the last four legs in 10, 15, 15 and 12 darts, having survived match darts in legs nine and ten.
James Wade continued his fine form to ease past Madars Razma 6-2. ‘The Machine’ reached the semi-finals in Leverkusen last week and produced another clinical display to kick off his campaign in Munich; averaging 96.79 and converting 50% of his attempts at double to set up a second-round clash against Jelle Klaasen.
Chris Dobey defied a partisan crowd to dump out home hero Martin Schindler in a thriller. Schindler claimed the opening leg, before Dobey rattled off legs of 15, 12, 13, 12 and 13; including finishes of 150 and 164 in successive legs. ‘The Wall’ reduced the arrears to 5-4, but Dobey held his nerve to peg tops and prevail with a 99.40 average.
Former Lakeside world champion Stephen Bunting stormed into the last 32 with a 6-0 whitewash win over host-nation qualifier Christian Goedl. ‘The Bullet’ averaged 101.33, crashed in four maximums and converted 66% of his attempts at double to cap off the performance of the day, which sets up a second-round tie against 12th seed Ian White.
Jonny Clayton will face world champion Rob Cross in round-two, after surviving a major scare to edge out home favourite Rene Berndt. The Welshman missed 22 darts at double throughout the contest, but held his nerve in the decider to prevail with a 93.87 average and two maximums.
Danny Noppert defeated Krzysztof Ratajski in a battle of the former BDO major winners to set up a second-round tussle against Premier League star Mensur Suljovic. ‘Noppie’ dominated the scoring stakes but squandered 22 darts at double, but he still ran out a convincing 6-3 winner, after an off-colour Ratajski averaged a miserly 79.86.
Steve Lennon defeated Nathan Aspinall in a high-quality first-round contest to set up a meeting with world number one Michael van Gerwen in the last 32. Aspinall averaged 102.15- the third highest first-round losing average in European Tour history- as Lennon prevailed with a 99.95 average, three 180’s and a 43% checkout success rate.
Home favourite Max Hopp landed two crucial bull finishes to defeat Austrian ace Rowby-John Rodriguez and delight the partisan Munich crowd. Hopp pegged a 92 finish on the bull to restore parity at four apiece, before converting an 84 kill to prevail 6-4 with an 87.48 average and a 50% checkout conversion rate.
Former World Youth champion Keegan Brown will take on Simon Whitlock in round-two, after defeating Maik Langendorf 6-3. With the scores locked at three apiece, Brown conjured up a magical 140 checkout which kicked off a run of three straight legs as he sealed his progression with an 89.66 average.
Development Tour winner Luke Humphries will take on Gerwyn Price in round-two, after defeating William O’Connor 6-2 in the tournament’s curtain-raiser. Humphries averaged 95.08, fired in four maximums and dispatched 43% of his double attempts, punishing an abject 18% conversion rate from the Irishman.
Josh Payne took out two huge ton-plus checkouts and survived one match dart to edge out Michael Rasztovits in a topsy-turvy tussle. The Austrian piled in three maximums but Payne dispatched finishes of 86, 146 and 160 to lead 5-4, before pegging D10 with his fifth match dart, after Rasztovits also missed one match dart at tops in the decider.
Alan Tabern fought back from 5-2 behind to edge out Jermaine Wattimena in a nervy affair. The St Helen’s star missed 12 of his first 14 attempts at double but rallied impressively; reeling off four straight legs to triumph with his eighth match dart, after ‘The Machine Gun’ also spurned three darts for victory in the decider.
Darren Webster will face ninth seed Dave Chisnall on Sunday afternoon, after recording an emphatic 6-2 win over Jan Dekker. ‘The Demolition Man’ dominated the scoring stakes throughout; affording Dekker just three darts at double. The Dutchman avoided the whitewash having trailed 4-0, with Webster averaging 91.78 to Dekker’s 91.88.
Antonio Alcinas produced a clinical display of finishing to dump out James Wilson in Munich. ‘The Jammie Dodger’ was plagued by a number of bounce-outs and missed 12 of his 14 attempts at double, whilst Alcinas averaged 89.29 and converted finishes of 116, 81 and 70 to book a second-round tie against 16th seed Alan Norris.
Steve West reeled off five successive legs to ease past Paul Rowley on Saturday afternoon. Rowley led 2-1 but was punished for an extremely profligate display which saw him miss 17 of his 19 darts at double. West was well below-par himself, but still triumphed with a modest 79.03 average.
Ryan Meikle also breezed through to round-two after securing a 6-2 victory over Scott Taylor. Taylor fired in three maximums but converted just two of his fourteen attempts at double and Meikle took full advantage. The Suffolk ace boasted an impressive 50% checkout conversion rate and will face fifth seed Daryl Gurney for a place in the last 16.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
2018 German Darts Grand Prix
Saturday March 31
Luke Humphries 6-2 William O’Connor
Max Hopp 6-4 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Danny Noppert 6-3 Krzysztof Ratajski
Steve Lennon 6-4 Nathan Aspinall
Keegan Brown 6-3 Maik Langendorf
Ryan Meikle 6-2 Scott Taylor
Steve West 6-2 Paul Rowley
Darren Webster 6-2 Jan Dekker
James Wade 6-2 Madars Razma
Alan Tabern 6-5 Jermaine Wattimena
Josh Payne 6-5 Michael Rasztovits
Chris Dobey 6-4 Martin Schindler
Toni Alcinas 6-2 James Wilson
Stephen Bunting 6-0 Christian Goedl
Jonny Clayton 6-5 Rene Berndt
Yordi Meeuwisse 6-5 Adrian Lewis