Smith and Sedlacek shine on day one of the Czech Darts Open.
On Day One of the Gambrinus Czech Darts Open in Prague, local favourite Karel Sedlacek triumphed in a thrilling comeback, while Ross Smith, Jose de Sousa, and Steve Beaton also advanced.
16 first-round matches of the £175,000 tournament were played on the first day in the Czech capital, and Sedlacek was one of two hosts who qualified for Saturday’s second round.
In a thrilling six-leg victory over Dutch debutant Jeffrey Sparidaans, Sedlacek raised the roof at the PVA Expo by pulling out a come-from-behind victory after falling behind 5-4.
The 44-year-old will face Josh Rock, the World Youth Champion, in round two along with his fellow countryman Dalibor Smolik, who won six of seven double attempts to defeat Richard Veenstra.
Adam Gawlas, who had advanced to the semifinals of the UK Open, was beaten 6-3 at home by Madars Razma, who scored three tonnes or more of outswings to mute the cheering home crowd.
In the afternoon session, Host Nation Qualifiers David Pisek and Filip Sebesta were also eliminated after losing to Geert Nentjes and Dylan Slevin, respectively.
The day’s best performance in Prague came from European Champion Ross Smith, who defeated Finnish rookie Jani Laurila 6-3 to advance to the second round and face current champion Luke Humphries.
Smith fired in seven maximums to kick off his campaign in style, averaging 99 and boasting a 60% checkout success rate to cap off a fantastic display.
“Fair play to Jani, he played really well, especially on his debut,” reflected Smith, who was averaging over 108 for periods of the contest.
“I was chatting to him before the game and he’s a really nice guy. His finishing was fantastic. I’m sure we will see a lot more of him.
“I’ve not been feeling great this week, but I will take that performance any day and I’m confident going into tomorrow now.”
Steve Beaton overcame a 4-2 deficit by converting 117, 110, 77, and 76 checkouts in the final minutes. This was an outstanding display of combination finishing.
In his opening match, Vincent van der Voort defeated 2019 champion Jamie Hughes with a decisive 6-1 victory, taking advantage of Hughes’ doubles errors to set up a match against UK Open champion Andrew Gilding.
Kim Huybrechts easily advanced to round two and eliminated an unfocused Callan Rydz to secure his first victory on the European Tour in 2023.
Jose de Sousa, another well-known victor on Friday, defeated Bradley Brooks 6-4 with a game-high average of 98 and five 180s, setting up a second-round matchup with former UK Open champion Danny Noppert.
After cruising to an impressive 6-3 victory over Stephen Bunting in Friday’s finale, Martijn Kleermaker will take on Austrian Darts Open champion Jonny Clayton for a spot in round three on Saturday night.
In another match, Brendan Dolan finished off a precise performance by eliminating the resurgent Dutchman Jelle Klaasen by defeating his late comeback. This set up a match against world number three Peter Wright.
The Czech Republic’s second round has also been reached by the Belgian team of Mario Vandenbogaerde and Mike De Decker, who triumphed 6-4 over Matt Campbell and Ian White.
Vandenbogaerde overcame Campbell’s 170 checkout and came back from 5-3 down to win, while De Decker slammed in four 180s to hold off Stoke-on-Trent star White’s valiant comeback.
Martin Lukeman opened Friday’s competition with a 6-2 victory over Patrik Kovacs of Hungary, and Swiss star Stefan Bellmont defeated Rowby-John Rodriguez to continue his ascent.
In the second round of the tournament on Saturday, the 16 seeds take the court, including top seed Humphries and three-time World Champion Van Gerwen.
2023 Gambrinus Czech Darts Open
Schedule of Play
Friday May 12
Martin Lukeman 6-2 Patrik Kovacs
Stefan Bellmont 6-4 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Geert Nentjes 6-5 David Pisek
Mario Vandenbogaerde 6-5 Matt Campbell
Dylan Slevin 6-3 Filip Sebesta
Dalibor Smolik 6-4 Richard Veenstra
Brendan Dolan 6-4 Jelle Klaasen
Mike De Decker 6-4 Ian White
Jose de Sousa 6-4 Bradley Brooks
Vincent van der Voort 6-1 Jamie Hughes
Ross Smith 6-3 Jani Laurila
Steve Beaton 6-4 Darius Labanauskas
Madars Razma 6-3 Adam Gawlas
Kim Huybrechts 6-1 Callan Rydz
Karel Sedlacek 6-5 Jeffrey Sparidaans
Martijn Kleermaker 6-3 Stephen Bunting
Saturday May 13
Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 BST)
Andrew Gilding v Vincent van der Voort
Josh Rock v Dalibor Smolik
Damon Heta v Dylan Slevin
Ryan Searle v Steve Beaton
Dave Chisnall v Geert Nentjes
Martin Schindler v Kim Huybrechts
Dirk van Duijvenbode v Mario Vandenbogaerde
Nathan Aspinall v Martin Lukeman
Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 BST)
Danny Noppert v Jose de Sousa
Rob Cross v Madars Razma
Peter Wright v Brendan Dolan
Michael van Gerwen v Mike De Decker
Joe Cullen v Karel Sedlacek
Luke Humphries v Ross Smith
Jonny Clayton v Martijn Kleermaker
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Stefan Bellmont