Former European Tour event winners Dave Chisnall, Kim Huybrechts, Daryl Gurney and Vincent van der Voort were amongst the first round winners as the Interwetten German Darts Championship began on Friday.
The £140,000 event at Halle 39 in Hildesheim will see 45 players competing across the weekend, with the first round featuring the tournament’s qualifiers facing off.
Chisnall impressed with a 99 average in his 6-1 win over Stefan Bellmont, as the two-time European Tour winner progressed to face Germany’s Gabriel Clemens in Saturday’s second round.
Belgium’s Huybrechts produced a finishing master-class as he hit six doubles from as many attempts in a 6-3 win over Joe Murnan to progress to a tasty tie with Jose de Sousa.
“I’ve been ill this week, my daughter had a virus and I was not sure if I could make the game, so when I did and won I’m very happy,” said Huybrechts.
“The confidence is back. I used to lose so many games when I was feeling good, and now when I’m feeling bad I win games, so it’s coming back.”
Gurney held off a strong challenge from home hope Lukas Wenig to claim a 6-4 win, setting up a round two meeting with Luke Humphries.
Van der Voort took out 156 during his 6-2 defeat of youngster Gian van Veen in their all-Dutch tie to create a second round meeting with Ryan Searle.
There was disappointment, though, for two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis as he went down 6-2 to Czech qualifier Karel Sedlacek, who finished 118 and 112 in moving through to meet Chris Dobey.
Germany’s Martin Schindler survived a missed match dart from Jermaine Wattimena before taking victory in the deciding leg of their entertaining first round tie.
Wattimena had landed an early ten-darter but found himself 4-1 down before levelling, while Schindler then took out a showpiece 132 finish of bull-bull-double 16 to move 5-4 up before closing out a 6-5 win.
Schindler now takes on World Champion Peter Wright in round two, with the Scot bidding to win a seventh European Tour title.
Spain’s Jose Justicia will meet back-to-back Cazoo Premier League night winner Michael van Gerwen in round two following a 6-4 defeat of George Killington in their Friday battle.
Ricky Evans will play Masters champion Joe Cullen in round two after enjoying a 6-3 win over Nathan Rafferty on Friday afternoon, finishing 50 percent of his darts at a double in a clinical display.
Darius Labanauskas defeated German qualifier Niko Springer 6-2 and now plays Dirk van Duijvenbode, while Martin Lukeman defeated Jimmy Hendriks by the same scoreline to set up a meeting with Damon Heta.
Martijn Kleermaker will play European Champion Rob Cross in round two following his 6-4 defeat of Belgium’s Mario Vandenbogaerde, as he finished 102, 96 and 79 to come from 4-3 down and claim victory.
Scotland’s Alan Soutar landed six doubles from 11 attempts in a 6-3 win over Luc Peters, and he now plays former World Matchplay winner Dimitri Van den Bergh.
Scott Waites will meet reigning Premier League, World Grand Prix and World Series of Darts Finals winner Jonny Clayton on Saturday after proving too strong for Finland’s Marko Kantele in a 6-3 success.
Reigning German Darts Championship winner Devon Petersen faces UK Open finalist Michael Smith in round two, while Jamie Hughes
takes on former Gibraltar Darts Trophy winner Krzysztof Ratajski.
Coverage will be streamed through DAZN for viewers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and through PDCTV for subscribers in all other territories, as well as through bookmakers worldwide.
Interwetten German Darts Championship
Friday March 11
Scott Waites 6-3 Marko Kantele
Alan Soutar 6-3 Luc Peters
Martin Lukeman 6-2 Jimmy Hendriks
Martijn Kleermaker 6-4 Mario Vandenbogaerde
Darius Labanauskas 6-2 Niko Springer
Ricky Evans 6-3 Nathan Rafferty
Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 GMT)
Jose Justicia 6-4 George Killington
Martin Schindler 6-5 Jermaine Wattimena
Dave Chisnall 6-1 Stefan Bellmont
Vincent van der Voort 6-2 Gian van Veen
Daryl Gurney 6-4 Lukas Wenig
Kim Huybrechts 6-3 Joe Murnan
Karel Sedlacek 6-2 Adrian Lewis
Saturday March 12
Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 GMT)
Krzysztof Ratajski v Jamie Hughes
Rob Cross v Martijn Kleermaker
Dirk van Duijvenbode v Darius Labanauskas
Damon Heta v Martin Lukeman
Ryan Searle v Vincent Van der Voort
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Alan Soutar
Luke Humphries v Daryl Gurney
Joe Cullen v Ricky Evans
Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 GMT)
Jose de Sousa v Kim Huybrechts
Michael Smith v Devon Petersen
Gabriel Clemens v Dave Chisnall
Michael van Gerwen v Jose Justicia
Peter Wright v Martin Schindler
Jonny Clayton v Scott Waites
Callan Rydz v Mensur Suljovic
Chris Dobey v Karel Sedlacek
Format: Best of 11 legs
Images: Kais Bodensieck/PDC Europe