HOPP KO’D BY HENDERSON IN GERMAN DARTS OPEN
JOHN HENDERSON ended Max Hopp’s reign as German Darts Open champion with a superb 6-3 victory in Saturday’s second round at the Saarlandhalle as Michael van Gerwen made a winning start to his challenge for a 31st European Tour title.
Former World Youth Champion Hopp had claimed his maiden senior title with victory in Saarbrücken 12 months ago and was seeded tenth as he opened his title defence against Scottish qualifier Henderson.
The young German took the opening leg, only for Henderson to land an 11-darter and a 140 finish amongst four straight legs to take command.
Hopp finished 114 and a 13-darter as he stayed in the hunt at 5-3, but was left waiting on a checkout in leg nine as Henderson powered home a 160 combination to seal his third round place.
“I hit the big scores and the finishes at the right times,” said Henderson. “I feel I can play a lot better than that but it’s so good to get over the finishing line against a great player like Max.
“He’s a lovely lad, a great darts player and has got a super future in front of him. It was a great game to play in and I’m so grateful of getting through.”
Henderson will now face a a third round tie with Adrian Lewis, who produced a brilliant display of finishing to defeat James Richardson 6-3, landing combinations of 146, 96, 84 and 78 as he took out six doubles from nine attempts.
World Champion Michael van Gerwen cruised past World Youth Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh despite a below-par display in which the Dutchman missed 22 darts at a double in a 6-1 win.
Van Gerwen will now contest an all-Dutch last 16 contest with Raymond van Barneveld, who prevailed 6-5 in a thriller against Jermaine Wattimena.
Van Barneveld swept into an early 4-1 lead as he continued the form which had seen him defeat home favourite Gabriel Clemens in Friday’s first round.
Wattimena hit back and punished three missed match darts in leg ten to take the tie all the way, but the five-time World Champion claimed the decider to create a mouth-watering third round game.
“I felt so comfortable in the first couple of legs but then Jermaine came back,” said Van Barneveld. “I believe in my set-up now, I believe what I can do and I’m really happy to go to the last 16 tomorrow.
“I didn’t play many Euro Tours lately but I’m enjoying it and hopefully tomorrow against Michael we’ll have a good game.”
In-form James Wade survived six missed match darts from Luke Humphries as he battled back from 5-2 down to book his spot in Sunday’s finals day.
The pair traded early 11-darters before the Newbury youngster took out 149 as he moved to the brink of victory, only for Wade to claw his way back into the contest before claiming the deciding leg.
Wade now plays Nathan Aspinall in round three, after the UK Open champion claimed his first career win over Jonny Clayton with a 6-3 success in their tie.
World number two Rob Cross averaged over 102 with a fine 6-4 win over Chris Dobey, who hit back from 2-0 down to level but saw the 2018 World Champion prove too strong by sealing the win with an 11-darter.
“It was a topsy-turvy game,” said Cross. “I’ve averaged 102 and didn’t feel like I got out of third gear, which is a good thing.”
Cross’ third round opponent will be Joe Cullen, who dropped just one leg against Jerry Hendriks and sealed a 6-1 victory with a 126 bullseye finish.
Grand Slam of Darts champion Gerwyn Price came from 3-1 and 4-2 down to claim a deciding-leg win over Steve Beaton, who was unable to follow the heroics of his nine-darter in Friday’s first round.
Beaton followed two early 103 finishes with a 167 checkout to lead 5-4 without missing a dart at a double, but Price finished a 12-darter to level and then took out 119 to book his third round spot.
Price now plays Jamie Hughes, who reeled off three straight legs from 4-3 down against Simon Whitlock to claim a strong victory, ending with an average of over 99.
Former German Darts Open winner Peter Wright maintained his 100% record against Steve Lennon with a 6-2 defeat of the Irish ace, averaging almost 102 in the process.
Wright will face Dave Chisnall in the third round, with the St Helens coming from 2-0 down to see off Ted Evetts 6-3 in their Saturday contest.
2018 Dutch Darts Championship winner Ian White began his bid to win a second European Tour title in impressive style with a 6-3 defeat of Jeffrey de Zwaan.
A 108 finished from the Dutch youngster was not enough as White finished back-to-back 12-darters as he completed the win with a 101 average.
White now plays Darren Webster, who enjoyed a 6-3 win over Vincent van der Meer after a fast start saw him claim the opening three legs without reply to put himself in command.
Mensur Suljovic edged past Mickey Mansell by proving too strong in the deciding leg of their tight contest, as the Austrian set up a third round tie with Daryl Gurney.
Recent German Darts Championship winner Gurney took the opening four legs of his tie with David Pallett before sealing a 6-2 win with a 121 bullseye checkout.
The German Darts Open concludes on Sunday, with the afternoon session’s third round followed in the evening by the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.
Coverage will be available in PDCTV-HD at video.pdc.tv and through a series of bookmakers’ websites worldwide.
2019 German Darts Open
Saturday April 27
Darren Webster 6-3 Vincent van der Meer
Jamie Hughes 6-4 Simon Whitlock
Joe Cullen 6-1 Jerry Hendriks
Daryl Gurney 6-2 David Pallett
Adrian Lewis 6-3 James Richardson
Gerwyn Price 6-5 Steve Beaton
Ian White 6-3 Jeffrey de Zwaan
James Wade 6-5 Luke Humphries
Dave Chisnall 6-3 Ted Evetts
Nathan Aspinall 6-3 Jonny Clayton
Rob Cross 6-4 Chris Dobey
Peter Wright 6-2 Steve Lennon
John Henderson 6-3 Max Hopp
Mensur Suljovic 6-5 Mickey Mansell
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Raymond van Barneveld 6-5 Jermaine Wattimena
Sunday April 28
Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 GMT)
Gerwyn Price v Jamie Hughes
Rob Cross v Joe Cullen
Adrian Lewis v John Henderson
Ian White v Darren Webster
Peter Wright v Dave Chisnall
Mensur Suljovic v Daryl Gurney
James Wade v Nathan Aspinall
Michael van Gerwen v Raymond van Barneveld
Evening Session (1915 local time, 1815 GMT)
Price/Hughes v Cross/Cullen
Lewis/Henderson v White/Webster
Wright/Chisnall v Suljovic/Gurney
Wade/Aspinall v Van Gerwen/Van Barneveld