Gerwyn Price, Michael van Gerwen and Jonny Clayton had to battle hard to win through to the final day of the Interwetten International Darts Open in Riesa.
The £140,000 PDC European Tour event saw the 16 seeded players enter the action in Saturday’s second round, but the sport’s top stars endured some nervy moments in an entertaining day at the Sachsenarena.
Gerwyn Price, who must take victory on Sunday night to retain his status as world number one, had to come from 2-0 down against qualifier Ritchie Edhouse before claiming a 6-3 win.
The Welshman has previously won in Riesa in 2018 and 2019, and now plays Damon Heta in Sunday afternoon’s third round after the Australian’s 6-2 win over Daryl Gurney.
“In the first two legs he was firing, but I did enough to win and sometimes that’s all you need to do,” said Price.
“Hopefully I can bring my A-game tomorrow – I’ll need it. I’ve won here twice before and I’d love to make it three.”
Michael van Gerwen, a 32-time European Tour event winner, overcame Keane Barry 6-4, but needed a crucial 160 finish in leg six to level after the Irish starlet missed his chance to open up a 4-2 lead.
“Keane is a really good player, and when he puts you under pressure you have to perform well,” said Van Gerwen. “The 160 was needed and I was glad I hit that, but I always keep fighting and to be back in front of so many fans is great.
“It’s been so long for us players and the people in the venue. This is what we all want and I’m already looking forward to tomorrow. I want to rock this venue.”
Clayton, meanwhile, had to come from 3-0 and 4-1 down to defeat Krzysztof Kciuk 6-5, with the Polish ace having knocked out Rob Cross in the first round before coming agonisingly close ousting the Premier League champion.
World Champion Peter Wright, who is aiming to succeed Price as world number one after this event, swept past Luke Woodhouse without dropping a leg.
Colourful Wright finished six doubles from nine attempts, and now plays German qualifier Niko Springer, who reached the last 16 on his European Tour debut by defeating Brendan Dolan in a deciding leg.
Top seed Joe Cullen was too strong for Latvia’s Madars Razma, and the reigning Masters champion now plays Nathan Aspinall in round three.
Aspinall, on his return to action following a wrist problem which has kept him sidelined for two months, led 4-0 before Jeff Smith cut the gap to one leg before the UK Open champion closed out a 6-4 win.
UK Open champion James Wade finished six doubles from 11 attempts in a 6-4 win over Vincent van der Voort, and now plays Kim Huybrechts after the Belgian ace defeated Devon Petersen 6-3.
Dirk van Duijvenbode averaged 100 as he whitewashed Nico Kurz 6-0, with the young German restricted to just one dart at a double in the contest.
Van Duijvenbode now meets World Championship finalist Michael Smith, who was in fine finishing form to defeat Simon Whitlock 6-4 by hitting two-thirds of his doubles.
Dimitri Van den Bergh landed a 167 finish and also checked out six doubles from nine attempts in his 6-1 defeat of Mensur Suljovic.
The 2020 World Matchplay champion now plays Brian Raman in an all-Belgian third round tie, after the new Tour Card Holder survived a missed match dart from Jose de Sousa in the deciding leg of their Saturday afternoon meeting.
Welsh prospect Lewy Williams booked his spot in the last 16 by defeating Krzysztof Ratajski 6-5 after the Polish star had hit back from 5-2 down to take their game all the way.
Danny Noppert, who became a father for the first time recently, now plays Van Gerwen in an all-Dutch tie after taking out 142 on his way to a 6-3 win over Mervyn King.
The £140,000 tournament concludes on Sunday, with the afternoon session’s third round followed in the evening session by the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.
The tournament is being broadcast live on PDCTV, on DAZN in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and through bookmakers’ websites worldwide.
PDCTV subscription options include £3.99 Event Pass and £1.99 Day Pass packages, as well as Annual and Monthly Subscriptions.
2022 Interwetten International Darts Open
Saturday February 26
Brian Raman 6-5 Jose de Sousa
Damon Heta 6-2 Daryl Gurney
Lewy Williams 6-5 Krzysztof Ratajski
Danny Noppert 6-3 Mervyn King
Niko Springer 6-5 Brendan Dolan
Kim Huybrechts 6-3 Devon Petersen
James Wade 6-4 Vincent van der Voort
Nathan Aspinall 6-4 Jeff Smith
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-1 Mensur Suljovic
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-0 Nico Kurz
Joe Cullen 6-1 Madars Razma
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Keane Barry
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Ritchie Edhouse
Jonny Clayton 6-5 Krzysztof Kciuk
Peter Wright 6-0 Luke Woodhouse
Michael Smith 6-4 Simon Whitlock
Sunday February 27
Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 GMT)
Joe Cullen v Nathan Aspinall
James Wade v Kim Huybrechts
Michael van Gerwen v Danny Noppert
Gerwyn Price v Damon Heta
Brian Raman v Dimitri Van den Bergh
Jonny Clayton v Lewy Williams
Peter Wright v Niko Springer
Michael Smith v Dirk van Duijvenbode
Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 GMT)
Sunday’s games played in Draw Bracket order
All games up to and including the quarter-finals are the best of 11 legs, with the semi-finals the best of 13 legs and the final the best of 15 legs.
Image: Kais Bodensieck/PDC Europe
Darts World Magazine (Issue 578) and 2022 bundle offers
Subscribe or purchase your copy