Dutch stars set up Dublin clash

Reigning partypoker.com World Grand Prix champion Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld set up an all-Dutch second round clash in Dublin with victories over John Part and Stuart Kellett last night.

World number two van Gerwen opened the defence of his title with a brilliant 2-0 win over two-time finalist John Part, averaging 104.47 in a fine display in his first round clash in the double-start event at the Citywest Hotel.

He hit two 12-dart legs in taking the first set without reply, and though Part moved 2-1 up in the second, the Dutch star posted a key double ten to level and sealed victory in style by hitting a 180 and a 171 in a 13-darter in the set’s deciding leg.

“It’s a very good win for me, and to start with a 104 average is amazing,” said van Gerwen. “The first set was great and I was very happy with that, but to win the game was the most important thing, and I’ve settled into the tournament now.

“It’s good for my confidence to win this game 2-0 because John’s a fabulous player and there was a lot of pressure on the game.”

Van Gerwen added: “I’m really looking forward to the second round against Raymond. He beat me in the Grand Slam of Darts final last year but I’ve won the last few games on stage, and we always have good matches.”

Van Barneveld was also a straight sets winner as he defeated Stuart Kellett, although the outcome of their game eventually hinged on the deciding leg of the first set.

The five-time World Champion had moved 2-0 up early on, only for Kellett to hit a 111 finish as he hit back to level – but he crucially missed one dart for the set at tops to allow van Barneveld to steal in on double 16.

The Dutch legend, who had won Sunday’s Players Championship in Dublin as an ideal warm-up for this event, then swept through the second set without reply, hitting two 180s in a 12-darter and finishes of 118 and 94 to move into the last 16.

“I’m really happy with the win,” said van Barneveld. “Every round now is like a final and I knew this wouldn’t be easy because Stuart beat me two weeks ago in Germany, and I was ready for him.

“I was so comfortable in the first two legs, but Stuart played a good two or three legs, but I hit a good finish to win the first set and that was important.”

World number three Adrian Lewis was a deciding-leg winner against Brendan Dolan in the night’s only game which went to sudden-death.

Lewis took the first set 3-1 before the 2011 finalist hit back to level by winning the second set in five legs – but Lewis crucially took the third set’s decider, hitting a key 177 in the process, as he progressed.

“It’s really good to be through and I enjoyed that,” said Lewis. “I think Brendan’s one of the most underestimated players in the top 16 and, in my opinion, he’s in the top eight so I knew how tough it would be.

“In the first couple of sets I wasn’t quite getting my starting doubles but later on I started hitting tops straight off, and I’m happy with that.”

Lewis now meets Justin Pipe, who overcame Andy Smith in two sets in their first round game, edging a nervy opening set 3-2 before hitting a 160 finish as he raced through the second without reply.

“The double-start is a massive challenge and it’s a relief to be through,” said Pipe. “My finishing was great but I wasn’t as happy with my starting, and I felt that I took too long to settle in.

“I was a bit nervous, which is really strange, and I know I’ll have to play better on Thursday.”

Andy Hamilton, the number six seed, produced a flawless display of finishing as he hit six doubles from as many attempts in his fine 2-0 win over Kim Huybrechts.

Hamilton took out 120, 118 and 96 in taking the first set 3-1, and then finished 96 and 132 to move 2-0 up in the second, with Huybrechts’ double top only stemming the tide before the UK Open finalist hit the same bed to seal a clinical win.

“I’m really pleased with that,” said Hamilton, who now plays Kevin Painter. “I had to concentrate on my finishing against Kim because if you give him a chance, he’s a front-runner and he likes to get on a roll.

“I had to stop his momentum, and to finish like I did shows what I can do. With how I started, he was always on the back foot and I’m happy with that.

“I’m looking forward to playing Kevin. We both love the big stage and I’m sure it will be a great game.”

Painter booked his second round spot by dropping only one leg in a convincing victory over Richie Burnett, who was a semi-finalist two years ago.

“I’m delighted to get through the first round because it’s a tough format and I was playing against a class player,” said Painter. “You just want to get the job done, and luckily for me it went quite well.

“My starting doubles were good and that’s vital in this format. I thought I played well in the first set and I did the damage there.”

2012 World Grand Prix finalist Mervyn King was dumped out of the event with a straight sets loss to resurgent Wayne Jones, who only booked his place in the tournament with two recent ProTour semi-finals but completed a confidence-boosting win with a 130 checkout.

“Things have been going well for the last four weeks and, after the past eight months I’ve had, I’m really feeling confident and things are going well again,” said Jones.

“I’ve won some good games, beaten some great players and got my confidence back. I’ve been really consistent over the last two or three weeks, and I’m absolutely delighted.

“It was totally unexpected to win in straight sets, but it was an okay performance – not great. I had a few chances and took them.”

Jones’ second round game will see him come up against number seven seed Dave Chisnall, a double ProTour winner last month, after the St Helens ace’s three-set victory over Stoke’s Ian White.

“It’s good to get through that because Ian’s a good player,” said Chisnall. “We both started well and scored well, and it came down to finishing in the end – we let each other in a couple of times

“In the last three months I’ve practised really hard on doubles as that’s what’s been costing me matches, so it’s good to see it pay off – and anything can happen now.”

Wednesday sees the opening four games from the second round take place at the Citywest Hotel, headlined by ten-time World Grand Prix champion Phil Taylor’s clash with Paul Nicholson.

Irish hero Connie Finnan, who knocked out Terry Jenkins on Monday, plays two-time winner James Wade, while number four seed Simon Whitlock takes on Ronnie Baxter and 2012 semi-finalist Wes Newton meets Gary Anderson, who had the first round’s highest average.

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