Van Barneveld sets up van Gerwen clash at the European Darts Open

Raymond van Barneveld will face Michael van Gerwen in the Interwetten European Darts Open second round after defeating spirited Czech qualifier Filip Sebesta on Day One in Leverkusen.

On Friday, the first day of the year’s second European Tour event saw 16 first round ties played across two sessions, with Van Barneveld among the standout performers at the Ostermann Arena.

The Dutch veteran won 6-3 in a high-quality match against Sebesta, who averaged over 98 and converted all three of his double attempts, including a 121 finish in the penultimate leg.

Van Barneveld sets up van Gerwen clash at the European Darts Open 
Van Barneveld sets up van Gerwen clash at the European Darts Open 

“Filip played really well. He did his country proud tonight,” said Van Barneveld, who also averaged 98 and boasted a 50% checkout success rate.

“I needed to produce almost my best game to beat him, but I’m happy with the win and I cannot wait for tomorrow.”

On Saturday evening, the five-time World Champion will face reigning champion Van Gerwen, and he is looking forward to renewing his rivalry with his former World Cup partner.

“Me and Michael have played each other so many times and I cannot wait to play him,” added Van Barneveld, the winner of the inaugural European Darts Open in 2012.

“Michael van Gerwen v Raymond van Barneveld – it’s an A-game. It’s like Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund, it’s like Ajax v Feyernoord, Manchester United v Liverpool.”

The six German representatives had mixed fortunes in first-round action, with Ian White producing an incredible comeback to stun home favourite Gabriel Clemens in a last-leg thriller.

Clemens, cheered on by a partisan Leverkusen crowd throughout, led 4-1 with a 110 average, but he paid the price for missing two match darts in leg eight, as White won the final four legs to win.

“I don’t know how I pulled that back,” admitted White, who followed up a 161 skin-saver in the penultimate leg with a magnificent 11-darter to seal his progression.

“The crowd were brilliant. They love Gabriel and I understand that, but I just kept going.

“I’m focused. I’m playing my game and that’s what matters. I’d love to go on and win this.”

Van Barneveld sets up van Gerwen clash at the European Darts Open 
Van Barneveld sets up van Gerwen clash at the European Darts Open 

Ten-time TV champion James Wade thrashed Florian Hempel 6-1 in his opener, while European Champion Ross Smith thrashed European Tour debutant Pascal Rupprecht with a ton-plus average.

Ryan Meikle also averaged over 100 to defeat Host Nation Qualifier Nico Kurz, crashing in six maximums to earn a match against Premier League star Jonny Clayton in the last 16.

Ricardo Pietreczko, on the other hand, delivered on home soil, converting a brilliant 170 checkout in a 6-2 win over Geert Nentjes, with two-time winner Peter Wright awaiting him in round two.

Rene Eidams was the second German to advance, coming back from a 4-2 deficit to defeat Dutch youngster Jurjen van der Velde and set up a meeting with World Champion Michael Smith.

In other news, Chris Dobey, fresh from his Premier League homecoming in Newcastle, defeated Maik Kuivenhoven 6-2 to set up a round two meeting with former UK Open champion Danny Noppert.

Stephen Bunting won a hard-fought match against Daryl Gurney in the final on Friday evening, pinning double four with his eighth match dart to advance in a tense last-leg shoot-out.

Jim Williams will face last month’s Baltic Sea Darts Open champion Dave Chisnall on Saturday afternoon after defeating the Scot 6-2 on his European Tour return.

Meanwhile, Ted Evetts stole the show in Friday’s afternoon session, posting a 98 average and limiting former Grand Slam champion Jose de Sousa to just two darts at double.

Krzysztof Ratajski defeated Bradley Brooks in a dramatic last-leg decider, surviving five match darts after Brooks fought back from 3-0 down to force a decider.

Ryan Joyce overcame a magnificent mid-game rally from Jermaine Wattimena to win 6-4 in a high-quality match, while Brendan Dolan cruised to a 6-1 victory over a sluggish Steve Lennon.

In Friday’s opener, William O’Connor overcame a slow start to defeat Marko Kantele 6-3, before Andy Boulton made his European Tour debut with a stunning comeback victory over Luke Woodhouse.

In Saturday’s second round, the 16 seeded players will compete, including top seed Humphries, defending champion Van Gerwen, and world number one Smith.

2023 Interwetten European Darts Open

Friday March 24

First Round

Afternoon Session

William O’Connor 6-3 Marko Kantele

Ryan Joyce 6-4 Jermaine Wattimena

Brendan Dolan 6-1 Steve Lennon

Krzysztof Ratajski 6-5 Bradley Brooks

Ricardo Pietreczko 6-2 Geert Nentjes

Rene Eidams 6-4 Jurjen van der Velde

Ted Evetts 6-0 Jose de Sousa

Andy Boulton 6-5 Luke Woodhouse


Evening Session

Jim Williams 6-2 John Henderson

Ross Smith 6-0 Pascal Rupprecht

Ryan Meikle 6-2 Nico Kurz

Chris Dobey 6-2 Maik Kuivenhoven

Raymond van Barneveld 6-3 Filip Sebesta

James Wade 6-1 Florian Hempel

Ian White 6-5 Gabriel Clemens

Stephen Bunting 6-5 Daryl Gurney


Saturday March 25

Second Round

Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 GMT)

Damon Heta v Andy Boulton

Rob Cross v Ryan Joyce

Dave Chisnall v Jim Williams

Dirk van Duijvenbode v Ted Evetts

Joe Cullen v Ross Smith

Jonny Clayton v Ryan Meikle

Danny Noppert v Chris Dobey

Ryan Searle v Stephen Bunting


Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 GMT)

Gerwyn Price v Krzysztof Ratajski

Luke Humphries v Brendan Dolan

Michael Smith v Rene Eidams

Peter Wright v Ricardo Pietreczko

Michael van Gerwen v Raymond van Barneveld

Dimitri Van den Bergh v James Wade

Martin Schindler v William O’Connor

Josh Rock v Ian White