Hobbling Van Gerwen opens German Darts Masters with a win

Michael van Gerwen defied an ankle injury to end the hopes of local prospect Martin Schindler at the German Darts Masters last night, as Peter Wright defied a superb fightback from Dragutin Horvat in Dusseldorf.

World Champion Van Gerwen travelled to the PDC World Series of Darts event in Dusseldorf despite suffering from bursitis in his left ankle, having previously overcome the problem during June’s World Cup of Darts to take the title.

He began his bid for glory at the Castello Arena with a 180 and a 124 finish in a 12-dart leg, and despite missing 13 darts at doubles in mid-game recovered to seal the win.

Berlin’s 21-year-old Schindler was in touch at 3-2, but double eight edged Van Gerwen clear before he recovered from a bounce-out to finish 107 with treble 19 and the bull to lead 5-2 before sealing the win on double 12.

Van Gerwen now takes on James Wade in Saturday afternoon’s quarter-finals, after the left-hander produced a stunning six from six on his doubles to defeat Kevin Munch 6-2.

The double top bed took a battering as Wade clinically saw off Munch to secure his quarter-final place, with the first seven legs of the contest ending on tops.

Wade moved 3-0 up before taking out 120 to continue his flawless finishing, with Munch finishing 60 on tops to hit back in leg five before Wade took out 102 on the same bed to move 5-1 up.

Munch then finished a 105 combination with 25 and two double tops to stay in the game, but Wade fired in his first 180 before pinning double 12 to seal victory with six doubles from as many attempts and a 101.90 average.

“I’m happy for a change,” admitted Wade. “The hunger is back and it’s the first time it’s been back for a long time, but I’ve been working hard and although it’s a big hill to climb I’m taking steps.”

Mensur Suljovic delighted the Castello Arena crowd with a 6-5 win over Kyle Anderson, as the Auckland Darts Masters winner saw his bid for further World Series of Darts glory ended by the Austrian despite a brave comeback.

A high-quality opening saw Suljovic’s 14-darter cancelled out by a 12-dart finish from Anderson, before the Champions League of Darts winner took tour of the next five to open up a 5-2 lead.

Anderson took out 96 for another 12-dart finish before double 16 broke to reduce the gap to 5-4 before taking out 68 to force a decider, only to see the Austrian land double 16 to finally close out the win.

“It was a crazy game,” said Suljovic. “I was so nervous at the end but I’m happy. Kyle is a great player but I’ve been in perfect form and it’s a good win.”

Suljovic now takes on world number three Peter Wright, who escaped with a 6-5 win from his tie with Dragutin Horvat after the qualifier came from 5-1 down to force a decider.

The Scot took out double eight, 96 and tops to win the first three legs, and also finished 130 on the bull and tops as he opened up a 5-1 lead.

Horvat landed two 180s as he pulled back to 5-3 before capitalising on a missed match dart from Wright to finish 64 as he won a third straight leg, and a brilliant 110 checkout took the tie into a decider.

Wright, though, was first to a finish as he left 56 after 12 darts, and after Horvat missed tops to claim a remarkable win the Melbourne Darts Masters finalist stepped in to scramble home double five.

“I felt good even when he came back at me,” said Wright. “He can play good darts and he showed that but I felt I had enough in the locker.

“Maybe I’m lucky to be through but I’d love to go on and win this now.”

Gary Anderson ended the hopes of German number one Max Hopp by claiming a 6-3 victory as he began his bid for a third World Series win of the year.

Hopp made an ideal start with a 180 and double 14 to win the opening leg, only for Anderson to respond with a 95 finish before finishing double ten and tops for a 3-1 lead.

Hopp took the fifth but missed his chance to level in the next before Anderson produced a brilliant 11-darter as he moved 5-2 up, and though six missed match darts allowed the German a brief reprieve, tops moved the Scot into the last eight.

Anderson now takes on Raymond van Barneveld in a rematch of August’s Perth Darts Masters final, after the Dutchman overcame Stefan Stoyke 6-3.

Three-time World Series finalist Van Barneveld claimed the first three legs with a strong start before holding off the German qualifier’s fightback to progress.

Stoyke took out two legs from three as he pulled back to 5-3, but two missed doubles in leg nine to continue his challenge allowed the Dutchman in on double eight to secure his spot in Saturday’s final stages.

Phil Taylor’s bid to say a competitive farewell to Germany with victory began as he defeated Robert Marijanovic 6-2.

Marijanovic took the tie’s opening leg, but missed double eight to double his lead as Taylor hit the same bed to both level and move ahead before finishes of 127, 62 and 76 moved the 57-year-old 5-1 up.

Marijanovic hit back in leg seven, but Taylor took out double four to complete the win, setting up a quarter-final tie with Daryl Gurney on Saturday afternoon.

World Grand Prix champion Gurney produced an assured display to whitewash German Superleague winner Maik Langendorf 6-0 in their first round tie.

Gurney opened the match with a 127 bull finish and took out 67 and double nine to lead by three legs, before punishing a total of eight misses by Langendorf in the next two as he moved 5-0 up, before double ten sealed the win.

“The scoreline was 6-0 but it didn’t feel that easy,” said Gurney. “Maik could have won a couple of the legs so I’m happy to get through it. I really enjoyed it and it was a good atmosphere, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

The tournament concludes on Saturday, with the quarter-finals in the afternoon session and the semi-finals and final in the evening session.

Coverage is live on Pro7 and Pro7Maxx in Germany, as well as on ITV4 in the UK, as well as through the PDC’s series of worldwide broadcast partners and through PDCTV-HD at www.pdc.tv.

2017 German Darts Masters
Friday October 20
First Round
Raymond van Barneveld 6-3 Stefan Stoyke
Daryl Gurney 6-0 Maik Langendorf
James Wade 6-2 Kevin Munch
Kyle Anderson 5-6 Mensur Suljovic
Gary Anderson 6-3 Max Hopp
Peter Wright 6-5 Dragutin Horvat
Phil Taylor 6-2 Robert Marijanovic
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Martin Schindler
Best of 11 legs

Saturday October 21
Afternoon Session (2pm local time)
Gary Anderson v Raymond van Barneveld
Peter Wright v Mensur Suljovic
Phil Taylor v Daryl Gurney
Michael van Gerwen v James Wade
Best of 19 legs

Evening Session (8pm local time)
Anderson/Van Barneveld v Wright/Suljovic
Van Gerwen/Wade v Taylor/Gurney
Best of 21 legs

Best of 21 legs

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