On Saturday, Dave Chisnall made an impressive start to his defence of the 2023 Blkläder Belgian Darts Open crown as Josh Rock came agonisingly close to a spectacular nine-darter in Wieze.
At the Oktoberhallen on Day Two of the £175,000 competition, 16 second-round matches were played over two sessions, and reigning champion Chisnall was one of the 12 seeds to advance to Sunday’s Finals Day.
Chisnall won the Dutch Darts Championship last weekend, building on his victory in the inaugural Baltic Sea Darts Open in February. He also started his quest for a third European Tour victory of 2023 with a 6-2 victory over Ricky Evans.
Evans defeated local favourite Kim Huybrechts in the first round of play on Friday, but he was unable to repeat the feat against second seed Chisnall, who posted a ton-topping average to advance.
After the Northern Irishman put on a remarkable performance to defeat Premier League star Chris Dobey 6-2, Chisnall will now face Austrian Darts Open runner-up Rock.
In the final leg of his match against the Masters champion, Rock missed double 12 for a nine-darter, but he started the following leg with seven perfect darts to win with a 107 average to Dobey’s 104.
Additionally, the top seed Luke Humphries and the three-time World Champion Michael van Gerwen secured their spots in the round of 16 by defeating Bradley Brooks and Jose de Sousa.
Former World Youth Champion Brooks attempted three tons-plus finishes against Humphries, but Humphries prevailed with a 102 average. Van Gerwen also averaged in the triple digits to defeat De Sousa, and she sealed the victory with a 12-dart hold.
Gabriel Clemens, who overcame a 5-2 deficit to advance with a 103 average and three 13-darters in the final innings, eliminated Peter Wright in a similar manner.
The prize for Clemens is a matchup against World Champion Michael Smith in the round of 16, who averaged 102 to extend his winning streak and dash the hopes of Belgium’s top player Dimitri Van den Bergh.
The only remaining Belgian in Wieze is Andy Baetens, and the Host Nation Qualifier opened Saturday’s second round play by thrashing UK Open champion Andrew Gilding 6-2.
Baetens advanced to the last 16 of a European Tour competition alongside Matt Campbell of Canada, who averaged 103 and finished a 6-3 victory over Joe Cullen with a stunning 167 checkout.
In the penultimate match of the day, Gary Anderson maintained his winning streak in Belgium by defeating his practise partner Ryan Searle 6-2 while averaging nearly 105.
Anderson scored first with a magnificent 140 checkout, setting the tone for an impressive performance in which he also hit four maximums and succeeded in six of his nine attempts at double.
The sixth seed Rob Cross defeated Switzerland’s Stefan Bellmont in his opener by winning five straight legs after falling behind 4-1, setting up a matchup between the Scot and Cross.
In spite of injury worries, Dirk van Duijvenbode defeated his idol in darts Raymond van Barneveld for the first time in his career, scoring a 6-3 victory by taking advantage of the double-double troubles of his fellow countryman.
After defeating former World Youth champion Ted Evetts in a tough match, Danny Noppert, a fellow countryman of Van Duijvenbode, will join him in the third round.
Noppert defeated Martijn Kleermaker 6-1 on Sunday after nailing six of his eight doubles attempts. He will now face eighth seed Nathan Aspinall in the third round.
Jonny Clayton defeated Keane Barry 6-3 earlier in the day to start his quest for a second European Tour victory of 2023. He advanced with a record-breaking average by producing 130 and 161 checkouts.
The Australian number one defeated Dutch qualifier Damian Mol by the same score, and will now play fourth seed Damon Heta for a spot in the quarterfinals.
At the Oktoberhallen, Martin Schindler also made steady progress by taking advantage of Daryl Gurney’s subpar performance to secure a 6-1 victory.
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