Brilliant Beaton on day one of the Baltic Sea Darts Open
On Day One of the Interwetten Baltic Sea Darts Open on Friday, Steve Beaton demolished Adrian Lewis with a 106 average, while Daryl Gurney edged Gabriel Clemens in a thrilling last-leg decider in Kiel.
The first day of the year’s first European Tour event featured 16 first-round ties spread across two sessions, with Beaton putting on the show of the day at the Wunderino Arena.
Beaton, the senior statesman in the inaugural event, averaged 106 and pinned 60% of his double attempts in a match in which all eight legs were won in 15 darts or less.
Beaton will face Premier League star Nathan Aspinall in the second round on Saturday, while Gurney will face top seed Luke Humphries following his 6-5 victory over Clemens.
Gurney took the early lead, leading Clemens 3-1, only for the German number one to respond with an 11-darter and a 144 finish to tie the game at four apiece.
However, in the final stages, the Northern Irishman held his nerve, surviving a match dart to secure only his second win in eight meetings against the World Championship semi-finalist.
Elsewhere, James Wade produced a typically efficient performance to come through a heavyweight first round tie against Raymond van Barneveld and set up a second round tussle against Peter Wright.
Van Barneveld drew first blood with a superb 121 finish, but Wade punished an inconsistent display from the Dutch veteran to book a date with two-time World Champion Wright on Saturday night.
Niko Springer delighted his home crowd to set up a fascinating second round fixture against World Champion Michael Smith, averaging 97 and landing five maximums to beat Jermaine Wattimena 6-4.
Lukas Wenig also advanced in spectacular fashion on Friday evening, converting a magnificent 160 checkout to seal a 6-1 victory over Ryan Meikle, setting up an all-German clash against Martin Schindler on Day Two.
Florian Hempel was unable to complete a hat-trick of German winners on the first day, falling 6-2 to Richard Veenstra, who converted six of his eight doubles attempts in a clinical performance.
Stephen Bunting had a strong start to his 2023 European Tour campaign, too, with 120 and 152 finishes to defeat William O’Connor 6-4 with a 97 average.
Bunting will face Van Gerwen in another high-profile match, while Ritchie Edhouse will face Dimitri Van den Bergh for a spot in the last 16 after defeating Shaun Wilkinson in his first match.
Graham Usher made a winning start on his European Tour debut, punishing Ryan Joyce’s subpar performance with a 6-3 victory, and his reward is a second round meeting with Gerwyn Price.
Earlier in the day, Lewy Williams won 6-3 over Dennis Nilsson with back-to-back 11-darters, as well as a spectacular 160 checkout in the first leg of the match.
Martijn Dragt won his first European Tour match in Friday’s curtain-raiser, defeating Ricky Evans 6-2 to advance to a match against fourth seed Rob Cross.
Mario Vandenbogaerde also won his first European Tour stage at the fifth attempt, converting 101 and 126 finishes to beat Niels Zonneveld in a hard-fought deciding-leg tie.
Former World Youth Champions Arron Monk, Keegan Brown, Bradley Brooks, and Ted Evetts also won during an entertaining afternoon session in Kiel.
Brown and Evetts advanced with 6-3 victories over Czech qualifier Filip Sebesta and Dutch debutant Jeroen Mioch, respectively, while Brooks swept past Josh Payne with a 6-2 victory.
Meanwhile, Monk landed five 180s and overcame 21 missed double darts to defeat Brendan Dolan in a last-leg shoot-out and book a Saturday afternoon clash with tenth seed Joe Cullen.
In Saturday’s second round, the 16 seeded players will compete, with top seed Humphries, world number one Smith, and Van Gerwen leading the way.
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