Van Gerwen and van Duijvenbode lead the charge at the Dutch Darts Championship
Van Gerwen and van Duijvenbode lead the charge at the Dutch Darts Championship.
On an exciting second-round day at the Dutch Darts Championship, Michael van Gerwen easily advanced to the round of 16, while Michael Smith confidently launched his title defence.
16 second-round matches from the sixth European Tour competition of the year were played over two sessions, with Dutch number one Van Gerwen dominating the action at the WTC Expo.
Van Gerwen was one of four Dutch athletes to advance on home soil, joining Danny Noppert, the runner-up from the previous year, Dirk van Duijvenbode, and Berry van Peer in reaching Finals Day in Leeuwarden.
Van Gerwen, a three-time World Champion, defeated Gabriel Clemens 6-2 to start his quest for a record-extending 36th European Tour title.
“This means a lot,” reflected an emotional Van Gerwen, who celebrated his victory on stage with his daughter Zoe.
“I didn’t play well in Rotterdam, but I am pushing to perform better all the time.
“This is only the second time on the European Tour that my daughter is with me. She has had a good weekend and I won my game, and I’m glad I did.
“I love being back in Holland. I would love to be playing at my best, but I’m not done here, and I’d like to thank all the fans for their support.”
Local favourite Noppert stunned Latvia’s Madars Razma 6-1, thrilling the partisan home crowd, while Van Duijvenbode triumphed in a thrilling match against Dylan Slevin in the decisive second leg.
Van Duijvenbode took a massive fall during his walk-on and was visibly uncomfortable the entire match before summoning a magnificent 129 checkout in the decider to maintain his title hopes.
Van Peer, meanwhile, eliminated Jonny Clayton, the winner of the Austrian Darts Open last weekend, in a thrilling last-leg shootout despite falling behind 4-1 and 5-3 at various points.
The World Champion will now fight Peter Wright in round three after the Scot rallied from a 5-1 deficit to knock out Krzysztof Ratajski and set up a matchup between the top two boxers in the world.
Top seed Luke Humphries beat European Champion Ross Smith 6-3 with an average of over 101. As a result, he advances to face UK Open champion Andrew Gilding in the round of 16.
Gilding defeated 2018 champion Ian White in a ten-leg thriller by averaging over 108. Gilding started the match with finishes of 149, 103, and 121 before holding off an inspired comeback from the Stoke-on-Trent star.
Ryan Searle, who averaged 109 in his 6-1 thrashing of Premier League star Dimitri Van den Bergh, who averaged over 105 in defeat, put on the performance of the day in Leeuwarden.
Keane Barry, who defeated Rob Cross for the second time in a row by converting 125 and 140 checkouts while defying a 104 average from the sixth seed, will face Searle in the round of 16 on Sunday.
Runner-up in the Austrian Darts Open Josh Rock was the first player to advance to Sunday’s round of 16, eliminating two 116-finish attempts from Graham Hall to complete a straightforward 6-2 victory.
Rock will play second seed Dave Chisnall in the third round as compensation. Chisnall defeated a determined Martin Lukeman by posting a ton-topping average and hitting four 180s.
In a wild final earlier that day, Stephen Bunting defeated Joe Cullen by surviving three match darts in the penultimate leg after having earlier given up a 4-1 lead.
Along with Martin Schindler, Nathan Aspinall defeated Daryl Gurney, Steve Beaton, and Roman Benecky by scores of 6-4 to secure their spots on Finals Day.
The third round will take place in the afternoon session of Sunday’s final day of competition in Leeuwarden, followed by the pivotal quarterfinals, semifinals, and final in the evening.
Van Gerwen and van Duijvenbode lead the charge at the Dutch Darts Championship Second Round
Josh Rock 6-2 Graham Hall
Dave Chisnall 6-4 Martin Lukeman
Andrew Gilding 6-4 Ian White
Keane Barry 6-3 Rob Cross
Danny Noppert 6-1 Madars Razma
Stephen Bunting 6-5 Joe Cullen
Damon Heta 6-4 Steve Beaton
Martin Schindler 6-4 Roman Benecky
Nathan Aspinall 6-4 Daryl Gurney
Berry van Peer 6-5 Jonny Clayton
Michael Smith 6-4 Jim Williams
Ryan Searle 6-1 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Gabriel Clemens
Peter Wright 6-5 Krzysztof Ratajski
Luke Humphries 6-3 Ross Smith
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-5 Dylan Slevin
Sunday April 30
Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 BST)
Keane Barry v Ryan Searle
Michael van Gerwen v Martin Schindler
Michael Smith v Peter Wright
Dave Chisnall v Josh Rock
Dirk van Duijvenbode v Stephen Bunting
Damon Heta v Berry van Peer
Nathan Aspinall v Danny Noppert
Luke Humphries v Andrew Gilding