James Wade and Peter Wright were dumped out on the opening day of the 2019 Brisbane Masters after losing out to Damon Heta and Kyle Anderson respectively on a dramatic day at the BCEC on Friday.
The opening night of the PDC World Series of Darts event also saw Gary Anderson thrash Corey Cadby, while defending champion Rob Cross survived a major scare to edge out James Bailey in a deciding-leg.
However, the most eventful contest of the evening saw Kyle Anderson survive five match darts to dump out top seed Peter Wright, which sets up a quarter-final showdown against his World Cup partner Simon Whitlock in the process.
‘The Original’ took out eye-catching 110 and 156 finishes as he raced 3-0 ahead against a lacklustre Wright, but the Scot responded by winning five of the next six legs to lead 5-4. However, ‘Snakebite’ spurned five match darts in the final two legs, as Anderson converted a clinical 86 kill to triumph.
The 2017 Auckland Darts Masters champion now takes on his compatriot Simon Whitlock for a place in the last four, after ‘The Wizard’ eased past Brendon McCausland 6-1; averaging 87.58, landing three maximums and converting 29% of his attempts at double.
Nevertheless, the shock of the opening round saw DPA number one Damon Heta defeat 2018 World Series Finals winner James Wade in a nerve-shredding last-leg decider. Heta squandered 27 darts at double in a nervy tussle, before recovering from 5-3 down to send ‘The Machine’ crashing out.
Heta had darts to win each of the opening four legs, but missed doubles saw Wade level at two apiece. The nine-time major winner established a 5-3 cushion but Heta delivered a stunning 164 checkout in leg ten to force a decider, in which he pinned double ten to wrap up a famous victory.
“I have put the hours in and I think the world is my oyster and I am just going to go for it,” said last year’s Melbourne quarter-finalist. “There’s no two ways about it, I consider myself a chance against anyone. At the moment I feel like I am playing well and I think there’s more to come.”
Heta now meets Gary Anderson in Saturday’s quarter-finals, after ‘The Flying Scotsman’ produced a clinical performance to sweep aside Corey Cadby. The two-time world champion averaged 101.68 and missed just the solitary dart at double to record a 6-1 win against the former World Youth champion.
Defending champion Rob Cross survived a huge scare as he fought back from 4-2 down to defeat qualifier James Bailey in his opener. The World Matchplay champion missed 21 darts at double but still averaged 101.17 after producing a blistering display of scoring.
The 2018 world champion fired in five maximums and wrapped up the win in style, following up a majestic 177 with a classy 110 finish, with Bailey sat on 76 for the match. Cross’ reward is a last eight tie against five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld.
The Dutchman began his final competitive trip to Australia with a 6-2 win over New Zealand World Cup quarter-finalist Haupai Puha. The opening four legs were shared after some profligate finishing from Van Barneveld, but Barney reeled off the final four legs without reply to prevail with a 90.16 average.
World number one Michael van Gerwen kicked off his campaign with an emphatic whitewash win over Ben Robb. ‘The Green Machine’ wasn’t at his vintage best but bounced back from his World Matchplay disappointment in fine fashion; averaging 94.93 and boasting a 50% checkout success rate.
Van Gerwen will take on third seed Daryl Gurney for a place in the semi-finals, after the Northern Irishman fended off a late fightback from Koha Kokiri to book his place in the last eight. Gurney led 5-2 but Kokiri won back-to-back legs to reduce the arrears to 5-4, only for ‘Super Chin’ to triumph with a 16-dart hold in leg ten.
The 2019 Brisbane Darts Masters will conclude on Saturday as the remaining eight players do battle before a winner is eventually crowned. Following Peter Wright’s exit we’re guaranteed a new winner on the World Series circuit this year, as Cross bids to retain his title.
2019 Brisbane Darts Masters, in association with Pirate Life
Friday August 9
Raymond van Barneveld 6-2 Haupai Puha
Daryl Gurney 6-4 Koha Kokiri
Damon Heta 6-5 James Wade
Simon Whitlock 6-1 Brendon McCausland
Rob Cross 6-5 James Bailey
Michael van Gerwen 6-0 Ben Robb
Gary Anderson 6-1 Corey Cadby
Kyle Anderson 6-5 Peter Wright
Saturday August 10 (1900 local time)
Kyle Anderson v Simon Whitlock
Damon Heta v Gary Anderson
Rob Cross v Raymond van Barneveld
Daryl Gurney v Michael van Gerwen
K Anderson/Whitlock v Heta/G Anderson
Cross/Van Barneveld v Gurney/Van Gerwen
All best of 15 legs
Photo Credit: PDC/DartsPlace