Hard going for top pair in opening round of German Darts Masters

Michael van Gerwen and Adrian Lewis had to overcome some nervy moments before beginning their bids to win the German Darts Masters in Sindelfingen with victories last night.

World number two Van Gerwen, a European Tour winner in Dusseldorf in May, was a 6-4 winner over World Youth Championship finalist Ricky Evans in their first round encounter at the Glaspalast.

Van Gerwen looked set to romp into the last 32 of the £100,000 event when he raced into a 4-0 lead, only for Evans to win three of the next four in hitting back to trail just 5-3.

He then won a fourth leg as his fightback continued, but van Gerwen edged the tenth leg on tops to progress to a second round clash with Wayne Jones, who saw off Ross Smith 6-4 earlier in the day.

“I think I played well early on but the first game in any tournament is always difficult so I’m pleased to win,” said van Gerwen. “I had some good moments and I know I can improve, but getting through to Saturday is the most important thing.

“I’d love to win this tournament and I’ve been practising hard, so I hope I can show everyone my best form over the weekend.”

Last year’s German Darts Masters champion Lewis produced a similar display to van Gerwen before he overcame German qualifier Michael Hurtz 6-3.

European Champion Lewis led 2-0 and 5-1 before Hurtz, aided by a 136 checkout, hit back to cut the deficit to two legs, only for Lewis to land a timely 180 and double five to seal his win.

“At 5-1 up I was cruising and I took my foot off the gas a little bit, but Michael took out some good shots and the 136 was great,” said Lewis. “I’m glad that I got the win because I made it tough in the end.”

In-form world number seven Dave Chisnall had fewer problems as he averaged 100.20 in a 6-0 whitewash of German debutant Dirk Becker, as he began his bid to win a second successive European Tour event following his triumph in Hildesheim a fortnight ago.

Chisnall now meets world number nine Justin Pipe in today’s second round, with the Taunton ace coming from 2-0 down to defeat Joe Murnan 6-2.

Australian ace Simon whitlock was a 6-3 winner over Austrian qualifier as he set up a second round meeting with World Youth Champion Michael Smith, who produced a 6-4 comeback win over Colin Osborne.

Wes Newton, who won the most recent European Tour event staged at the Glaspalast over Easter, defeated Dutch youngster Ryan De Vreede 6-3, despite the qualifier hitting two ton-plus finishes, as the Fleetwood ace set up a last 32 clash with Maik Langendorf, the Austrian who held off Arron Monk’s comeback from 5-0 down to win their game in a deciding leg.

World number five James Wade also edged through with a 6-5 victory over Kevin McDine as he made his return from suspension.

The left-hander made a superb start by taking a 2-0 lead with back-to-back 14-dart legs, but was punished for missed doubles as McDine moved into a 5-2 lead, only to miss nine match darts in the remaining legs as Wade sneaked through.

“It was a rollercoaster,” admitted Wade. “It was hard work. Maybe Kevin deserved to win but he didn’t take his chances and I hit my doubles at the right times and I did enough.”

Wade now meets Paul Nicholson in the second round, with April’s European Darts Open runner-up seeing off Mark Lawrence 6-3 with a strong display.

Five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld defeated emerging talent Josh Payne 6-4 and now plays March’s UK Masters runner-up Stuart Kellett, who overcame Alan Tabern 6-3.

UK Masters champion John Part saw his hopes of winning a second European Tour title of the year dashed as he lost out 6-5 to Paul Amos, who now meets another former World Champion in Steve Beaton, who whitewashed Mick Todd with an impressive 100 average.

Former Premier League Darts champion Gary Anderson was also in good form as he edged out Andy Jenkins 6-5, despite the Portsmouth ace landing a 156 checking during a high-quality contest.

Anderson’s second round opponent, Andy Hamilton, was also pushed all the way before he overcame Michael Mansell 6-5, with the Northern Irish ace coming from 3-0 down to lead 4-3 at one stage.

Jamie Caven also held off a fightback before edging an 11-leg thriller, with Steve Brown coming from 5-3 down to force a decider in their contest before the Derby thrower sealed the win with a 14-darter.

Caven now meets Terry Jenkins, who was a 6-1 winner against German debutant Peter Schoffmann, while defeats for Max Hopp and Tomas Seyler mean that the home quintet of players were all knocked out in yesterday’s first round.

Hopp was a 6-2 loser against Robert Thornton, with the former UK Open champion taking out 120 and 112 in their clash, while Seyler was whitewashed by Brendan Dolan.

Dolan now plays Ian White – who claimed his maiden PDC ranking title last Sunday – in the second round following the Stoke ace’s narrow 6-5 defeat of Croatian qualifier Dragutin Horvath, while Thornton will meet Welsh ace Richie Burnett, who was a 6-4 comeback winner against Ireland’s Willie O’Connor.

Dutch ace Vincent van der Voort took out a 141 finish during his 6-3 win over Northern Ireland’s Daryl Gurney, and he now meets Colin Lloyd, the former World Matchplay champion who checked out 112 and 102 in his 6-1 win over ex-World Youth Champion James Hubbard.

Belgium’s Kim Huybrechts dropped only one leg in his win over Darren Johnson as he set up a second round clash with Holland’s Mareno Michels, who came from 2-0 down to win six successive legs against Andy Smith.

Strong wins for Mervyn King and Ronnie Baxter, against Michael Rasztovits and Dennis Smith respectively, mean that they will meet at the last 32 stage today, with Peter Wright and Jamie Robinson completing the second round line-up.

Wright was a narrow 6-5 winner against Jelle Klaasen, while Colchester-based qualifier Robinson defeated Mark Walsh by the same scoreline – echoing his run to the last 16 at the Glaspalast over Easter when he enjoyed two other deciding-leg wins.

The defeats for Mansell, Gurney and O’Connor mean that the qualifying race for the two places reserved for ProTour Order of Merit Qualifiers from Ireland and Northern Ireland in next month’s partypoker.com World Grand Prix now cannot change, with Connie Finnan and Mansell set to compete at the Citywest Hotel.

Today’s German Darts Masters second round will be played across two sessions at the Glaspalast in Sindelfingen from 1pm local time.

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