Van Barneveld is the standout on day one of the European Darts Grand Prix.
As the Interwetten European Darts Grand Prix got underway in Sindelfingen on Friday, Raymond van Barneveld displayed his class by defeating home favourite Liam Maendl-Lawrence.
Van Barneveld won the lone European Tour championship in Germany 11 years ago, but he started his quest for a second victory on the tour with an inspiring comeback against the rising German.
When Van Barneveld came back with five consecutive legs, including a tonne finish of his own, he overcame Maendl-Lawrence’s 2-0 lead and moved 3-1 up.
Van Barneveld advanced to a tie with UK Open champion Andrew Gilding on Saturday with a 98.11 average and six doubles from 10 attempts.
The Polish number one overcame a 3-2 deficit to win the match with a final average of 107 and a string of legs of 14, 12, 14, and 11 darts.
After sprinting into a 5-0 lead, Gabriel Clemens held off a late comeback from Lee Evans to set up a thrilling all-German confrontation against Martin Schindler on Saturday. He finished the game with a 6-4 victory.
After edging Ricardo Pietreczko 6-5, the seasoned player Steve Beaton—who last won European Tour title in Sindelfingen a decade ago—will now play European Champion Ross Smith. Pietreczko tied the game three times before losing in the deciding leg.
Ryan Joyce’s illness forced him to withdraw, so Masters winner Chris Dobey was called up at the eleventh hour. Dobey defeated Graham Hall 6-4 to advance to Saturday night’s match against top seed Luke Humphries.
In his outstanding 6-3 victory over Ian White, Ricky Evans nailed six 180s and hit checkouts of 154, 113, and 122, setting up a matchup with Premier League runner-up Gerwyn Price on Saturday.
In addition, Scotland’s Ross Montgomery, who overcame Finland’s Marko Kantele 6-4 with three tonnes or more of checkouts, followed up previous 119 and 120 combinations with a match-winning 161 finish.
Keegan Brown, a former world youth champion, defeated Swiss rookie Marcel Walpen 6-3 to go to the second round, where he will face Josh Rock, the current champion.
Martijn Kleermaker, a towering Dutch player who defeated Alan Soutar 6-4 with legs of 11, 12, and 13 darts and a 152 checkout, advanced to a Saturday matchup with Rob Cross by averaging nearly 99.
Ritchie Edhouse overcame a 5-0 deficit to force a decider against Madars Razma, but the Australian paid the price for missing the match dart at tops as the Latvian fought back to win with a third-dart double seven and advance to face Ryan Searle.
Gian van Veen will play Danny Noppert after edging off another Dutchman, Jermaine Wattimena, in a high-level opener. Wattimena averaged 101, but the teenager won the match in the decisive leg.
Young German player Pascal Rupprecht overcame a 5-4 deficit to defeat Christian Kist in the decisive leg, setting up a delicious second-round matchup with third-seeded Dave Chisnall.
Jose de Sousa advanced to a second round matchup with Nathan Aspinall by landing a third-dart double ten, surviving a missed match dart from Nico Kurz who wired the bull in the final leg.
Adam Smith-Neale, who defeated Czech star Roman Benecky by a score of 6-5, will take against World Cup winner Damon Heta on Saturday.
After trailing Dylan Slevin 3-1, Daryl Gurney won five straight legs to defeat the rising star, moving on to face second-seeded Dirk van Duijvenbode in the round of 32.
Following his 6-3 victory over Simon Whitlock, Josh Payne takes on Joe Cullen on Saturday, capitalising on a solid start that saw him win the opening three legs without opposition.
The 16 seeded players will face the opening round winners in the £175,000 tournament’s double session of action on Saturday.
After that, on Sunday, the third round will be played in the morning session, followed by the quarterfinals, semifinals, and final in the evening session.
2023 Interwetten European Darts Grand Prix
Friday May 26
Gian van Veen 6-5 Jermaine Wattimena
Madars Razma 6-5 Ritchie Edhouse
Pascal Rupprecht 6-5 Christian Kist
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-3 Graham Usher
Ross Montgomery 6-4 Marko Kantele
Ricky Evans 6-3 Ian White
Keegan Brown 6-3 Marcel Walpen
Martijn Kleermaker 6-4 Alan Soutar
Jose de Sousa 6-5 Nico Kurz
Adam Smith-Neale 6-5 Roman Benecky
Daryl Gurney 6-3 Dylan Slevin
Chris Dobey 6-4 Graham Hall
Steve Beaton 6-5 Ricardo Pietreczko
Raymond van Barneveld 6-3 Liam Maendl-Lawrance
Josh Payne 6-3 Simon Whitlock
Gabriel Clemens 6-4 Lee Evans
Saturday May 27
Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 BST)
Josh Rock v Keegan Brown
Dave Chisnall v Pascal Rupprecht
Ross Smith v Steve Beaton
Ryan Searle v Madars Razma
Rob Cross v Martijn Kleermaker
Danny Noppert v Gian van Veen
Damon Heta v Adam Smith-Neale
Dirk van Duijvenbode v Daryl Gurney
Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 BST)
Andrew Gilding v Raymond van Barneveld
Nathan Aspinall v Jose de Sousa
Luke Humphries v Chris Dobey
Gerwyn Price v Ricky Evans
Joe Cullen v Josh Payne
Martin Schindler v Gabriel Clemens
Jonny Clayton v Ross Montgomery
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Krzysztof Ratajski