Bunting ends seven-year wait for Van Gerwen victory in Kiel

Stephen Bunting ended a seven-year wait for victory over Michael van Gerwen on Day Two of the Interwetten Baltic Sea Darts Open in Kiel on Saturday.

Bunting defeated Van Gerwen 6-4 in their second round meeting at the Wunderino Arena to book his place in Sunday’s Finals Day.

A thrilling contest saw Van Gerwen miss double 12 for a nine-dart finish in the seventh leg, though the Dutchman pinned double six with his next dart to take a 4-3 lead.

But a hat-trick of legs from Bunting earned him a rare win over the world number three, who suffered defeat in his opening match on the 2023 European Tour.

“If you want to win tournaments like this in front of great crowds you need to be beating people like Michael van Gerwen,” Bunting reflected.

“It was a great game. If he hit the nine-darter it probably would’ve changed the game.

“I’ve put a lot of effort in and I’m playing as well as anyone at the moment.

“The record [against Van Gerwen] was in the back of my mind, but I’m playing better than ever and this result shows that.”

Day Two of the year’s opening European Tour event saw 16 second round ties played across two sessions, with the winners progressing to Finals Day.

Steve Beaton continued his fine form with a surprise 6-5 defeat over Premier League ace Nathan Aspinall.

On the back of a 106 average in his first round win over Adrian Lewis, Beaton trailed throughout the contest with Aspinall, but his persistence was rewarded as he battled his way to a deciding leg victory.

Further upsets on Day Two saw world number six Rob Cross and UK Open champion Danny Noppert crash out at the hands of Martijn Dragt and Keegan Brown.

Dragt secured the biggest win of his career, dumping out fourth seed Cross in a dramatic last-leg decider, while Brown punished a below-par display from Noppert, winning four consecutive legs to celebrate a resounding 6-3 win.

Peter Wright got the better of James Wade 6-3 in a star-studded battle, while World Champion Michael Smith defied a hand injury to see off German prospect Niko Springer 6-4.

Welsh Premier League stars Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton secured their places in the last 16 thanks to comfortable wins over Graham Usher and Ted Evetts.

Dimitri Van den Bergh reeled off four consecutive legs from 3-2 down to defeat Ritchie Edhouse in his opener, fending off a blistering start from the Enfield ace to triumph with a 97 average.

Martin Schindler ran out a 6-4 winner over Lukas Wenig in a battle between two of Germany’s top talents.

Third seed Damon Heta and Dave Chisnall both averaged over 100 in comprehensive victories over Bradley Brooks and Lewy Williams respectively.

Luke Humphries, a winner of four European Tour titles in 2022, made a strong start to his campaign with a 6-1 demolition of Daryl Gurney.

Joe Cullen, Dirk van Duijvenbode and Ryan Searle also progressed to Finals Day in Kiel.

Sunday’s final day of action sees the last 16 seeded take place in the afternoon, before the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final in the evening.

Live coverage of all 2023 European Tour events will be streamed through Viaplay in the UK, the Netherlands, Poland and all Nordic & Baltic countries, and through DAZN for viewers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Coverage will also be shown on PDCTV and through bookmakers’ websites worldwide.

PDCTV subscription options include Event Pass and Day Pass packages, as well as Annual and Monthly Subscriptions.

Click here to view stats from all matches.

2023 Interwetten Baltic Sea Darts Open
Saturday February 25
Second Round
Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 GMT)
Ryan Searle 6-1 Mario Vandenbogaerde
Martijn Dragt 6-5 Rob Cross
Dave Chisnall 6-2 Lewy Williams
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-3 Ritchie Edhouse
Joe Cullen 6-4 Arron Monk
Damon Heta 6-2 Bradley Brooks
Keegan Brown 6-3 Danny Noppert
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-3 Richard Veenstra

Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 GMT)
Steve Beaton 6-5 Nathan Aspinall
Jonny Clayton 6-1 Ted Evetts
Gerwyn Price 6-2 Graham Usher
Luke Humphries 6-1 Daryl Gurney
Michael Smith 6-4 Niko Springer
Peter Wright 6-3 James Wade
Stephen Bunting 6-4 Michael van Gerwen
Martin Schindler 6-4 Lukas Wenig

Photo credit Jonas Hunold/PDC Europe

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