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JOY FOR SULJOVIC AS INTERWETTEN AUSTRIAN DARTS OPEN GETS UNDERWAY

Mensur Suljovic raised the roof with victory over Ricky Evans on the opening day of the 2023 Interwetten Austrian Darts Open in Graz on Friday.

Austrian darts icon Suljovic defeated Evans 6-4 to the delight of the crowd in the Steiermarkhalle to set up a second round showdown with Peter Wright on Saturday.

The winner of a European Tour event in Vienna in 2019, Suljovic sealed victory over Evans with a 116 checkout, having trailed 4-3 in his bid to add further honours to his CV.

“It was so difficult for me,” Suljovic reflected. “I put myself under so much pressure to make it through the first round in front of my home fans.

‘Now I hope I can relax a bit more tomorrow. I’m playing Peter Wright in front of a sold out crowd, it does not get any better than that!”

The opening day of the year’s fifth European Tour event saw 16 first round ties played across two sessions, with the winners progressing to face one of the 16 seeded players in Saturday’s second round.

Earlier in the day, Hannes Schnier became the first Austrian to advance to round two with a 6-5 win over Jeffrey De Zwaan.

It was a first victory on a European Tour stage in almost five years for Schnier, who will face Thursday’s Cazoo Premier League night winner Nathan Aspinall in round two.

Another Premier League star, Masters champion Chris Dobey, made it safely through, averaging over 100 in a 6-3 defeat of Vitezslav Sedlak.

John Henderson enjoyed a winning return to European Tour action, beating debutant Dylan Slevin 6-4 to set up a meeting with reigning champion Michael van Gerwen.

Meanwhile, World Champion Michael Smith will begin his campaign against Germany’s Ricardo Pietreczko, who claimed a 6-4 win over Cameron Menzies – despite the Scot landing a 170 checkout.

Daryl Gurney’s persistence on the European Tour paid off with a 6-3 win over Stephen Bunting, and he will now take on top seed Luke Humphries.

Veteran duo Raymond van Barneveld and Simon Whitlock enjoyed victories over Brendan Dolan and Kim Huybrechts respectively, while last weekend’s Players Championship event winner Krzysztof Ratajski scored a 6-2 win over Owen Roelofs.

The 16 seeded players enter the fray in Saturday’s second round, three of the world’s top four Van Gerwen, Smith and Wright amongst the names in action.

The tournament is being broadcast live on Viaplay, DAZN and PDCTV (excluding Germany, Austria and Switzerland) and through bookmakers’ websites worldwide.

2023 Interwetten Austrian Darts Open

Friday April 21

First Round

Afternoon Session

Nick Kenny 6-4 Madars Razma

Mickey Mansell 6-1 Dmitrijs Zukovs

Krzysztof Ratajski 6-2 Owen Roelofs

Ricardo Pietreczko 6-4 Cameron Menzies

Luke Woodhouse 6-3 Marcus Haider

Maik Kuivenhoven 6-5 Bradley Brooks

Hannes Schnier 6-5 Jeffrey De Zwaan

John Henderson 6-4 Dylan Slevin

Evening Session 

Matt Campbell 6-5 Ian White

Jelle Klaasen 6-5 William O’Connor

Simon Whitlock 6-4 Kim Huybrechts

Raymond van Barneveld 6-3 Brendan Dolan

Ryan Meikle 6-3 Rowby-John Rodriguez

Daryl Gurney 6-3 Stephen Bunting

Chris Dobey 6-3 Vitezslav Sedlak

Mensur Suljovic 6-4 Ricky Evans

Saturday April 22

Second Round

Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 BST)

Andrew Gilding v Matt Campbell

Josh Rock v Krzysztof Ratajski

Dave Chisnall v Mickey Mansell

Damon Heta v Luke Woodhouse

Rob Cross v Maik Kuivenhoven

Joe Cullen v Nick Kenny

Nathan Aspinall v Hannes Schnier

Jonny Clayton v Jelle Klaasen

Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 BST)

Danny Noppert v Chris Dobey

Dirk van Duijvenbode v Ryan Meikle

Ryan Searle v Raymond van Barneveld

Peter Wright v Mensur Suljovic

Luke Humphries v Daryl Gurney

Michael Smith v Ricardo Pietreczko

Michael van Gerwen v John Henderson

Martin Schindler v Simon Whitlock

Sunday April 23

Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 BST)

Third Round

Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 BST)

Quarter-Finals

Semi-Finals

Final

Sunday’s games played in Draw Bracket order

Photo credit Jan Edegger/PDC Europe

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