Ruthless Michael van Gerwen began his challenge to win a sixth European Tour title of 2017 with a 111 average as he whitewashed Richard North in the HappyBet German Darts Grand Prix second round.
World Champion Van Gerwen marked his return to action following a month’s break for the birth of his daughter by winning last weekend’s Dutch Darts Masters title in Maastricht, and laid down a marker in Mannheim with a nine-minute rout of the qualifier.
Van Gerwen landed 180s in the opening two legs as finishes of 13 and 14 darts gave him command, before taking out 69 and 112 to complete 15-dart legs.
A 13-darter moved Van Gerwen 5-0 up before he completed a stunning display by landing a third maximum in an 11-dart finish to set up a third round meeting with Gerwyn Price.
“It’s been a great last month and I’m really enjoying myself, and you could see that in my game last week,” said Van Gerwen. “I played really well in Maastricht and I hope I can continue the good form.
“I’ve got the spirit and good motivation at the moment. You always need to be critical of yourself – I had two legs where I had some 57s and 59s, but for the rest I’m doing quite well and that’s what I like to do.”
Welshman Price was a 6-3 winner against leading Polish ace Krzysztof Ratajski, who led 3-2 only for missed doubles in two successive legs to allow the UK Open finalist to start a run of four straight legs as he swept to victory.
Auckland Darts Masters champion Kyle Anderson posted his fifth successive average of over 100 on the European Tour with a brilliant display to defeat Kim Huybrechts 6-4.
The Australian twice hit six perfect darts as he hit back from an early 2-1 deficit to land seven maximums and end with a 102.17 average – despite missing 15 darts at doubles.
Anderson now takes on Dutch ace Jelle Klaasen in the third round, with the former Lakeside Champion enjoying a 6-4 win over Jamie Bain in their tie on Saturday.
Scottish qualifier Bain hit back from 2-0 down to lead 3-2, but Klaasen dominated the second half of the game to progress.
Number two seed Peter Wright saw his bid to win a fifth European Tour event of the year ended by Ronny Huybrechts, who hit six doubles from eight attempts in a superb 6-2 success over the Scot.
Huybrechts’ win keeps alive his hopes of qualifying for next month’s Unibet World Grand Prix as he set up a showdown with Vincent van der Voort, who also has his eyes on snatching a Dublin spot.
The Dutchman was a 6-5 winner in a dramatic clash with Mervyn King, averaging 101 as he hit back from 5-2 down before surviving three missed match darts from his rival in the deciding leg.
Daryl Gurney took out six doubles from ten attempts as he averaged 98 in a strong 6-1 win over former World Youth Champion Keegan Brown.
The Northern Irish ace now plays Ian White, who defied ton-plus finishes of 104, 105 and 156 from Jermaine Wattimena before sealing a 6-4 victory over the Dutchman with a 120 checkout.
Austria’s Mensur Suljovic – who became a father for a second time last month to daughter Ema – swept past Irish ace Mick McGowan with a 6-1 victory and now takes on 2017 shooting star Rob Cross.
Cross impressed once again by averaging 104 and taking out finishes of 150, 112 and 104 amongst 6/8 on his doubles to defeat Jan Dekker 6-3.
Benito van de Pas was also in clinical mood as he overcame Jamie Caven 6-3, finishing 6/9 on his doubles after opening the game with a 104 checkout to set up a tie with Darren Webster, who knocked out seeded Alan Norris 6-3.
Joe Cullen produced a hugely impressive 108.30 average and hit four 180s and half of his darts at a double in a superb 6-3 win over Tony Martinez, the Belgian debutant who had won through to the second round.
Cullen now plays Michael Smith, who defied seven 180s and a missed match dart from Jamie Lewis before escaping with a 6-5 win from a thriller with the Welsh youngster.
Smith – whose partner is expecting their second child – is aiming to follow up May’s Gibraltar Darts Trophy win with a fifth career European Tour win on Sunday.
“My partner was due to give birth a few days ago so I’m waiting for a message that she’s gone into labour!” admitted Smith.
“The only thing I’ve come here for is to win the tournament and I’ve done it four times before, so I don’t see why I can’t make it a fifth tomorrow.”
Former World Youth Championship finalist Nathan Aspinall also finished six doubles from nine attempts as he defeated Dave Chisnall 6-2
Aspinall now meets former European Championship winner Simon Whitlock, who was a 6-2 winner against Sweden’s Daniel Larsson to begin his bid to claim a second European Tour title.
The £135,000 tournament concludes on Sunday, with the afternoon session’s third round followed in the evening session by the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final at the Maimarkhalle in Mannheim.
Coverage is available through PDCTV-HD at www.pdc.tv and through a series of bookmakers’ websites worldwide.
HappyBet German Darts Grand Prix
Saturday September 9
Ian White 6-4 Jermaine Wattimena
Joe Cullen 6-3 Tony Martinez
Benito van de Pas 6-2 Jamie Caven
Rob Cross 6-3 Jan Dekker
Nathan Aspinall 6-2 Dave Chisnall
Vincent van der Voort 6-5 Mervyn King
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Krzysztof Ratajski
Jelle Klaasen 6-4 Jamie Bain
Darren Webster 6-3 Alan Norris
Kyle Anderson 6-4 Kim Huybrechts
Mensur Suljovic 6-1 Mick McGowan
Ronny Huybrechts 6-2 Peter Wright
Michael van Gerwen 6-0 Richard North
Daryl Gurney 6-1 Keegan Brown
Michael Smith 6-5 Jamie Lewis
Simon Whitlock 6-2 Daniel Larsson
Sunday September 10
Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm local time, 12pm-4pm BST)
Mensur Suljovic v Rob Cross
Daryl Gurney v Ian White
Darren Webster v Benito van de Pas
Ronny Huybrechts v Vincent van der Voort
Simon Whitlock v Nathan Aspinall
Michael Smith v Joe Cullen
Kyle Anderson v Jelle Klaasen
Michael van Gerwen v Gerwyn Price
Evening Session (7pm-11pm local time, 6pm-10pm BST)
All games are the best of 11 legs. Sunday’s games are played in draw bracket order.