PETER WRIGHT began his bid to win a fourth PDC European Tour event of 2017 with a 6-3 defeat of Krzysztof Ratajski in Saturday’s Gibraltar Darts Trophy second round.
The Scot has claimed victory in three of the opening four European Tour events this year, and is aiming to continue his success at the Victoria Stadium this weekend.
He opened his challenge in the second round by seeing off Polish qualifier Ratajski, who continued to impress as he maintained his strong form on the European Tour this year despite eventually losing out to the world number three.
Wright landed a 180 in a 14-darter to open the game and doubled his lead before missed doubles in the next two allowed Ratajski in to level.
Wright, though, restored his lead by following double 16 with an 80 finish, and though Ratajski responded by taking out 72, a 121 checkout and double eight sealed his third round spot.
“I feel comfortable in myself but I didn’t play very well,” said Wright. “It was very hard – Krzysztof has learned a lot since I played him last time.
“He played a lot better there and he put me under pressure, but the support of the crowd helped me through.”
Wright now meets Stephen Bunting in Sunday afternoon’s third round, with the former Lakeside Champion impressing with five 180s and a 108 finish in his 6-4 win over emerging left-hander Chris Quantock.
Bunting’s display included him missing double 12 for a nine-dart finish in the eighth leg, as he secured his spot in the last 16.
Former Gibraltar Darts Trophy champion James Wade was knocked out in a deciding leg by young Belgian Dimitri Van den Bergh.
The pair shared the opening eight legs before a 14-darter from Wade saw him break throw to lead 5-4, but two missed match darts at tops in the next allowed Van den Bergh to force a decider, which he won on double 14.
Van den Bergh now plays three-time European Tour winner Michael Smith, who impressed as he averaged 99.91, hit six 180s and six doubles from ten attempts in edging out Christian Kist 6-5.
Jelle Klaasen’s superb run on the European Tour – which has seen him reach one final and three semi-finals so far this year – came to an end as he went down 6-3 to a fine performance from Magnus Caris.
The Swede moved clear with a break of throw in leg four to lead 3-1 before finishes of 71 and 89 sealed his first appearance in the last 16 on the European Tour.
Caris now takes on another Dutchman, with Benito van de Pas hitting 50 percent of his doubles in a 6-1 win over Germany’s Martin Schindler, who was unable to recover from seeing his opponent move into a 5-0 lead.
Number two seed Mensur Suljovic began his challenge with a superb 103.94 average as he overcame a strong effort from Alan Tabern with a 6-4 victory n their meeting.
Suljovic now takes on Cristo Reyes, after the Spanish star produced a spirited fightback from 4-0 down against James Richardson to edge through in a deciding leg by punishing the Englishman for missed match darts.
Betway Premier League star Dave Chisnall defied finishes of 121 and 116 from Jonny Clayton before he prevailed 6-4 in their second round meeting.
Chisnall now takes on Rob Cross in the last 16, with the Hastings ace hitting six 180s before edging past Joe Cullen in a deciding leg.
Darren Johnson capitalised on 17 missed doubles from UK Open finalist Gerwyn Price during their clash as he claimed a 6-3 victory, taking out a key 130 bull finish on his way to setting up a third round tie with Alan Norris.
Norris – a European Tour winner last year – overcame some nervy doubling as he edged out Matt Clark 6-5 in their second round meeting.
Ian White sealed his 6-3 win over John Henderson with a 106 finish and now takes on James Wilson, who produced a key 118 finish in breaking the deadlock with Kim Huybrechts before he prevailed 6-4.
Simon Whitlock powered in a key 164 finish and hit six perfect darts in another leg as he defeated Steve Beaton 6-1, averaging 102 in a strong performance as he set up a third round tie with Northern Ireland’s Daryl Gurney.
2016 Dutch Darts Masters finalist Gurney took out three ton-plus finishes – including a 170 checkout – as he saw off Darren Webster 6-3, sharing the first six legs before pulling clear to claim the win.
The £135,000 tournament concludes on Sunday, with the third round in the afternoon session before the decisive evening session features the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.
The Gibraltar Darts Trophy will be broadcast online for PDCTV-HD Subscribers worldwide through www.livepdc.tv, and also streamed through a series of bookmakers’ websites.
Tickets for the Gibraltar Darts Trophy are still available through www.buytickets.gi, and will also be available at the Victoria Stadium on Sunday.
2017 Gibraltar Darts Trophy
Saturday May 13
Cristo Reyes 6-5 James Richardson
Daryl Gurney 6-3 Darren Webster
Alan Norris 6-5 Matt Clark
Benito van de Pas 6-1 Martin Schindler
Stephen Bunting 6-4 Chris Quantock
Magnus Caris 6-3 Jelle Klaasen
Michael Smith 6-5 Christian Kist
Rob Cross 6-5 Joe Cullen
Darren Johnson 6-3 Gerwyn Price
Mensur Suljovic 6-4 Alan Tabern
Dave Chisnall 6-4 Jonny Clayton
Peter Wright 6-3 Krzysztof Ratajski
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-5 James Wade
James Wilson 6-4 Kim Huybrechts
Ian White 6-3 John Henderson
Simon Whitlock 6-1 Steve Beaton
Sunday May 14
Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm local time, 12pm-4pm BST)
Peter Wright v Stephen Bunting
Darren Johnson v Alan Norris
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Michael Smith
Dave Chisnall v Rob Cross
Mensur Suljovic v Cristo Reyes
Benito van de Pas v Magnus Caris
James Wilson v Ian White
Simon Whitlock v Daryl Gurney
Evening Session (7pm-11pm local time, 6pm-10pm BST)
Wright/Bunting v Johnson/Norris
Van den Bergh/Smith v Chisnall/Cross
Suljovic/Reyes v Van de Pas/Caris
Wilson/White v Whitlock/Gurney
All games are the best of 11 legs