TON-PLUS AVERAGES FOR ASPINALL & DOBEY IN SINDELFINGEN OPENERS
NATHAN ASPINALL and Chris Dobey were the top performers on the opening day of the European Darts Grand Prix as they impressed with first round wins in Sindelfingen.
UK Open champion Aspinall averaged almost 103 in a 6-1 victory over Kim Viljanen to set up a tasty tie with Germany’s Max Hopp on Saturday in a repeat of the 2015 World Youth Championship final.
Aspinall opened the tie with a 180, finished 115 for a 12-darter to win the opening leg and led 5-0 before the Finnish qualifier responded, but an 82 bullseye combination sealed a comprehensive win.
“I had a tough first game but I settled in from the start and played well,” said Aspinall. “I felt really relaxed.
“I’ve got some history with Max, obviously he beat me in the youth final so it would be nice to get one back on him in his home country. If I play my game, I’ll win.”
Dobey, meanwhile, was in sensational form with a 6-0 whitewash of Madars Razma, averaging 103.66 as he restricted the Latvian to just one dart at a double.
Dobey, who had just one leg above 15 darts, now takes on Players Championship Finals winner Daryl Gurney in round two.
Steve Beaton opened his bid to win a second Sindelfingen title with a 6-4 win over Stephen Bunting in a battle of former Lakeside Champions.
Beaton, who landed a nine-darter on the European Tour last month, now plays Mensur Suljovic and said: “I knew I had to play well and I felt it was a good game.”
World Youth Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh completed a 6-1 win over Austrian qualifier Michael Rasztovits with a 120 finish in a strong display from the Belgian.
Van den Bergh now plays Ian White, who has reached the final of the German Darts Open and Austrian Darts Open in the past two weekends before losing out on both occasions to Michael van Gerwen.
Van Gerwen’s second round opponent on Saturday will be Brendan Dolan, who landed six doubles from nine attempts in a 6-2 defeat of German qualifier Michael Rosenauer.
Jeffrey de Zwaan took out finishes of 156, 121 and 112 in his 6-2 victory over Swiss qualifier Stefan Bellmont, moving him through to face 2018 World Champion Rob Cross in round two.
Jamie Hughes set up a tasty second round tie with Adrian Lewis by seeing off Ricardo Pietreczko 6-1, taking out a 151 finish during the contest as he moved into the last 32.
Ross Smith defied a 157 checkout from Pero Ljubic to pull clear from three-all to claim a 6-3 win in their contest, setting up a second round meeting with Jonny Clayton.
James Richardson will now play Mervyn King after winning five legs from six to come from 2-1 down and defeat Matthew Edgar 6-3 in their first round contest.
Krzysztof Ratajski came from 4-2 down to maintain his unbeaten record against Robert Owen with a fourth successive 6-4 win over the Welshman, moving himself through to a tie with Michael Smith.
Dutchman Niels Zonneveld enjoyed a debut win on the European Tour, seeing off German qualifier Michael Hurtz 6-4 as he now progresses to play Peter Wright in round two.
Mark McGeeney also claimed victory on his European Tour debut, defeating Josh Payne 6-3 by winning four of the final five legs to set up a round two meeting with Joe Cullen.
Vincent van der Voort came from 3-1 and 4-2 down to defeat Dave Prins 6-4, as the former Austrian Darts Open winner moves through to play Darren Webster.
Gavin Carlin moved through to play Gerwyn Price with a 6-3 defeat of Dragutin Horvat, defying finishes of 113 and 104 from the Host Nation Qualifier.
Keegan Brown overcame stern resistance from European Tour debutant Daniel Klose, who hit back from 3-1 down to level after six legs before the former World Youth Champion pulled clear to complete a 6-3 victory.
Ryan Searle took out finishes of 110, 119 and 112 in his 6-4 win over Lakeside Champion Glen Durrant, and now receives a Bye in the second round following the withdrawal of James Wade.
The European Darts Grand Prix continues on Saturday with the second round across two sessions in Sindelfingen, before the £140,000 event concludes on Sunday.
Watch through video.pdc.tv throughout the weekend, as well as through a series of bookmakers’ websites worldwide.
2019 European Darts Grand Prix
Friday May 10
Ross Smith 6-3 Pero Ljubic
James Richardson 6-3 Matthew Edgar
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-4 Robert Owen
Niels Zonneveld 6-4 Michael Hurtz
Nathan Aspinall 6-1 Kim Viljanen
Mark McGeeney 6-3 Josh Payne
Brendan Dolan 6-2 Michael Rosenauer
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-1 Michael Rasztovits
Vincent van der Voort 6-4 Dave Prins
Chris Dobey 6-0 Madars Razma
Gavin Carlin 6-3 Dragutin Horvat
Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-2 Stefan Bellmont
Keegan Brown 6-3 Daniel Klose
Steve Beaton 6-4 Stephen Bunting
Jamie Hughes 6-1 Ricardo Pietreczko
Ryan Searle 6-4 Glen Durrant