Daryl Gurney edged out Adrian Lewis in a first round thriller at the HappyBet German Darts Masters last night with a dramatic 6-5 win in Jena.
World number four Lewis travelled to Germany on a high following his nine-darter in the Betway Premier League on Thursday, but drew in-form Gurney in the tie of the first round.
The game lived up to its billing as the lead changed hands four times during the 11 legs, with Gurney landing six 180s and a 174 score only to come the width of a wire from defeat.
Gurney’s opening 14-darter was matched by Lewis as the Stoke ace moved 2-1 up, with legs of 11 and 13 darts from the Northern Irish ace moved him into a 3-2 advantage.
Lewis landed double ten and a 74 finish to regain the lead at 4-3, with Gurney then opening the eighth leg with six perfect darts as he levelled.
Gurney’s sixth 180 helped him to move 5-4 up, but he was left waiting on 40 as Lewis powered in a spectacular 144 finish to send the game into a decider.
Lewis – the German Darts Masters winner five years ago – was first to a finish in the final leg, only to miss three darts at double 12 and six to allow Gurney in to finish 75 on tops to edge the win.
“To play against Adrian and win, the score doesn’t matter,” said Gurney, who won his maiden Players Championship title last weekend. “The 144 was special, and I thought Adrian was going to beat me in the last leg.
“He missed and I took out the 75, and it’s unbelievable. I’m not here to make up the numbers, I’m here to try and win this and that’s the aim.”
Gurney now meets Jelle Klaasen in Sunday’s second round of the £135,000 tournament, with the 16 seeded players entering the action on the second of three days’ play at the Sparkassen-Arena.
Five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld was given a scare by Dutch newcomer Michael Plooy before progressing to take on Alan Norris in round two following a 6-4 win.
Plooy, making only his second European Tour appearance, led 1-0 and 3-1 before an 11-darter from Van Barneveld levelled and a 145 finish moved him ahead.
Plooy hit back in leg eight to level, but another 11-darter moved Van Barneveld 5-4 up and a 97 finish completed his win.
Reigning World Champion Michael van Gerwen will open his challenge against John Michael on Sunday evening, after the Greek ace hit four 180s in a 6-2 win over Robert Marijanovic.
Former European Tour winner Robert Thornton raced past Dirk van Duijvenbode with a 6-1 win to set up a second round tie with James Wade, finishing 127 and 100 in the game’s final two legs as he moved into the last 32.
Mervyn King began his challenge for a second European Tour title with a 6-3 win over Sven Groen, who led 3-2 before the Englishman levelled, hit two 13-darters to move clear and progressed to the last 32 – where he meets Cristo Reyes – with a fourth straight leg.
Germany’s Steffen Siepmann enjoyed a winning debut on the European Tour by defeating Andrew Gilding 6-4 to set up a second round tie with Joe Cullen, who won his first senior title at a Players Championship last Sunday.
Siepmann trailed 3-1 in the early stages, but capitalised on a below-par display from the former UK Open finalist to win four straight legs – including an 11-darter – as he led 5-3 before closing out the win on double four.
In a strong day for the Host Nation Qualifiers, Max Hopp defeated Robert Owen 6-3 with a 97 average as he moved through to face another Welshman, Gerwyn Price, in the last 32.
Hopp finished legs of 14 and 12 darts to lead 2-0 and also moved 5-1 up before Owen hit back by winning successive legs, only for a 95 checkout to secure the former World Youth Champion the win.
Dragutin Horvat held off Brian Woods’ fightback to claim a 6-3 victory, with the Englishman cutting the gap from 4-1 to trail by one leg only for missed doubles to cost him as he progressed to face Michael Smith.
Teenager Ted Evetts edged past Joe Murnan with a 6-4 win to book his spot against Stephen Bunting in Sunday’s second round.
Murnan took out 110, 106 and a 12-darter as he led 4-3, but Evetts secured a crucial break of throw in leg nine to move ahead before sealing the victory with a superb 12-darter.
Jamie Lewis came from 2-1 down to take a 6-3 win over Zoran Lerchbacher as he progressed to the second round in Germany, turning the game with a three-leg burst in mid-match to set up a tie with another Austrian, Mensur Suljovic.
Australia’s Kyle Anderson edged out Ronnie Baxter 6-5 to move through to a meeting with Steve West in round two following a tight contest in which he never trailed despite a 148 checkout from the veteran.
Sweden’s Daniel Larsson enjoyed a dream European Tour debut, whitewashing Justin Pipe 6-0 in the opening game of the tournament.
Missed doubles in three visits at the end of the opening leg from Pipe were punished as PDCNB qualifier Larsson took the lead, and he took the next three before making the former Austrian Darts Open winner pay for more misses in sealing his victory.
Rowby-John Rodriguez swept past Polish qualifier Krzysztof Ratajski 6-1, sharing the opening two legs before a 125 finish sparked a run of five straight legs as he took the win to move through and face Benito van de Pas.
Jonny Clayton capitalised on five missed match darts from Ronny Huybrechts in the deciding leg of their tight clash to claim a 6-5 win over the Belgian and set up a tie with Simon Whitlock.
Huybrechts finished 110, 108 and 128 as the opening ten legs went with throw, but he was unable to close out the win as Clayton clawed his way back in the decider to edge through on double 16.
Mark Webster hit back from 4-2 down to take a 6-4 win over Robbie Green as he moved through to play Peter Wright in the second round in Jena following a game where the lead changed hands three times.
After winning the opening leg, Green found himself 2-1 behind in the early stages before a three-leg burst moved him into the ascendancy, only for the left-hander to produce a key 161 checkout as he levelled before claiming the win.
Jeffrey de Graaf produced a remarkable comeback from 5-1 down to defeat Ricky Evans in a deciding leg in a thriller to open the evening session in Jena.
Evans raced into leads of 2-0 and 5-1, before a 91 finish sparked De Graaf’s challenge as he won three legs and then levelled with a 12-darter before hitting a 180 on his way to completing a memorable revival, creating a second round meeting with Ian White.