Austrian Darts Open: Suljovic into last 16 on home soil

Mensure Suljovic produced in another commanding performance in the second round of the Austrian Darts Open to keep home hopes alive in the European Tour event, as he was joined in the last 16 at the Salzburg Arena by big guns Phil Taylor, Simon Whitlock and Stephen Bunting.

Austrian ace Suljovic, who had edged out Dennis Smith in Friday’s first round, set the tempo straight from the off against Ian White by breaking throw in the first leg, and he then quickly raced into a 2-0 lead, having missed the bull for a 161 finish.

White bounced back by winning the next three legs, including 12-darter in the fifth leg as he moved ahead, but Suljovic answered straight away taking out a 104 finish in leg six to level the match at three-all.

A 13-darter in leg seven saw Suljovic break the White throw, and then the Austrian held his nerve to hold his throw in leg eight and put himself one leg away from a place in the last 16.

White looked in control in the ninth by hitting his fifth 180 of the match, but a missed dart at double top left the door open for his opponent, and the Austrian didn’t let his home support down by sealing his place in the third round with a double seven finish.

The opening match of day two saw Vincent van der Voort average 96.64 in his 6-2 victory over Justin Pipe, the 2012 Austrian Darts Open champion.

The Dutchman set the tempo of the match by breaking the Pipe throw in the first leg, only for Taunton man to bounce straight back to level the match. A 13-darter in the third leg saw van der Voort once again take the lead and then the Dutchman raced into a commanding 5-1 lead claiming the next three legs in a row.

Pipe went on to take the seventh leg, but van der Voort went to win the eighth leg and booked his place in the last 16.

Elsewhere in the afternoon session, Steve Beaton, Ronnie Baxter, Wes Newton, John Part and Brendan Dolan all booked their place in Sunday afternoon’s third round

The opening match of the evening session saw Benito van de Pas upset the odds by defeating the number six seed Kim Huybrechts 6-3.

The young Dutchman, who had defeated Irish ace William O’Connor in the first round, won the opening three legs of the match to put himself in a commanding position, but Huybrechts used his experience to bounce straight back and win the next three legs, including a 12-darter in the sixth leg.

The seventh leg seven saw van de Pas once again put himself in pole position, and then a 12-darter in leg eight, including back-to-back maximums, saw the 21-year-old move within one leg of victory, which was soon sealed with a 122 bull finish as he booked his place in the last 16 stage.

Jamie Caven produced one of the comebacks of the tournament in his 6-5 win over Terry Jenkins, who had averaged 108.5 in his first round win and looked to be cruising at 4-1 up against the Derby ace, but a 129 checkout in the sixth leg saw Caven close the gap to two legs at 4-2.

The next two legs went with the darts to see Jenkins move one leg away from a last 16 place, but then Caven turned on the style to win the next three legs and secure a 6-5 victory, including a 156 finish in the tenth leg.

In the clash of the evening, Stephen Bunting put Dave Chisnall to the sword by overcoming the Premier League star 6-1. The opening two legs went with the darts, but then Bunting turned on the style to claim five successive legs, hitting an impressive eight maximums and a 146 finish in leg six to end with an average pf 108.35 in his victory.

Robert Thornton used his experience to overcome Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-5 to set up a last 16 clash against another home favourite, Suljovic.

The Austrian youngster won three of the opening four legs to race into a 3-1 lead, but then the Scotsman bounced back by winning four of the next five to leave himself one leg away from victory.

World Cup representative Rodriguez then held his nerve to hold his throw in the tenth leg to see the match go into a final leg decider, but it wasn’t to be for the youngster with Thornton using all his experience to book himself a place in the last 16.

After winning a fifth tournament of 2014 in Coventry last weekend, Gary Anderson was hoping to claim another major title, but Andy Smith ran out a 6-2 winner over the former Premier League champion.

Elsewhere Phil Taylor eased past Alex Roy to set-up a last 16 match against Simon Whitlock, who defeated John Henderson 6-4, while the final match of the second round saw World Championship finalist Peter Wright average 102.95 in his 6-3 win over Michael Smith to set up a third round clash with Steve Beaton.

The day also saw Dean Winstanley receive a bye into the third round, after reigning Austrian Darts Open champion Michael van Gerwen was forced to withdraw from the tournament with a recurrence of an ankle injury.

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