HOME TRIO PROGRESS ON INTERWETTEN AUSTRIAN DARTS OPEN’S FIRST DAY
Zoran Lerchbacher, Rowby-John Rodriguez and Patrik Gosnak delighted the home crowd at the Interwetten Austrian Darts Open with first round victories in an exciting opening to the PDC European Tour event on Friday.
Experienced ace Lerchbacher won a thriller against French debutant Thibault Tricole by taking out a sensational 167 checkout in the deciding leg of their tie.
Tricole had defied a superb 134 finish from Lerchbacher to move 4-3 up at one stage, but was left waiting on 56 after nine darts as his rival claimed a dramatic win at the Steiermarkhalle.
Rowby-John Rodriguez overcame Darius Labanauskas with a 6-3 victory, as the former World Youth Championship finalist moves through to play Dirk van Duijvenbode on Saturday.
Austrian debutant Gosnak was the day’s other home winner, stunning former Austrian Darts Open finalist Ian White with a comeback from 4-3 down to claim a 6-4 triumph.
There was disappointment, though, for four other Austrian aces on the day – including Mensur Suljovic, who missed two match darts before losing out 6-5 to Jeffrey de Zwaan.
Debutant Rainer Sturm also lost in a deciding leg, having led 5-4 against Brett Claydon before the English qualifier edged through to face Thursday’s Cazoo Premier League winner in Dublin, James Wade.
Michael Rasztovits was unable to respond to a sensational performance from Madars Razma, who raced into the second round with a 6-0 whitewash.
Latvia’s Razma averaged 108.65 and finished six doubles from eight attempts to see off the Host Nation Qualifier 6-0, with Rasztovits having just one dart at a double in the game.
Dietmar Burger also suffered a 6-0 loss, going down to Callan Rydz as the World Championship quarter-finalist set up a meeting with world number one Peter Wright.
UK Open champion Danny Noppert took out 104 in the deciding leg of his all-Dutch clash with Jermaine Wattimena to book a clash with Dimitri Van den Bergh.
Stephen Bunting survived four missed match darts from Karel Sedlacek before edging into the second round with a 6-5 victory, after the Czech qualifier came from 3-0 down to take their game into a decider.
Josh Rock’s 101 average in a 6-3 win over Devon Petersen sets him up for a second round meeting with Rob Cross, while Ricky Evans averaged 100 in a 6-4 defeat of Johan Engstrom to move through and face Damon Heta.
Danny Jansen – a recent Players Championship winner – also averaged over 100 as he claimed a 6-1 win over Radek Szaganski to progress to a tie with Luke Humphries.
Cameron Menzies now plays Michael van Gerwen following his 6-4 success against Steve Beaton, while Jim Williams’ 6-1 win over Berry van Peer sets up a clash with Masters champion Joe Cullen.
Dutchman Wesley Plaisier overcame Matt Campbell 6-3, despite the Canadian missing double 12 to complete a nine-dart finish, and now plays Nathan Aspinall.
Gabriel Clemens overcame some nervy moments to close out a 6-1 win over Tony Martinez, with the German opening up a five-leg lead before stumbling over the winning line.
Saturday’s second round sees the 16 seeded stars enter the action, including reigning champion Van Gerwen and World Champion Wright.
Coverage is available on DAZN in Austria, Germany & Switzerland and through PDCTV in all other territories.
2022 Interwetten Austrian Darts Open
Friday April 29
Danny Jansen 6-1 Radek Szaganski
Wesley Plaisier 6-3 Matt Campbell
Jim Williams 6-1 Berry van Peer
Josh Rock 6-3 Devon Petersen
Ricky Evans 6-4 Johan Engstrom
Madars Razma 6-0 Michael Rasztovits
Cameron Menzies 6-4 Steve Beaton
Patrik Gosnak 6-4 Ian White
Callan Rydz 6-0 Dietmar Burger
Zoran Lerchbacher 6-5 Thibault Tricole
Gabriel Clemens 6-1 Tony Martinez
Danny Noppert 6-5 Jermaine Wattimena
Jeffrey De Zwaan 6-5 Mensur Suljovic
Stephen Bunting 6-5 Karel Sedlacek
Brett Claydon 6-5 Rainer Sturm
Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-3 Darius Labanauskas
Saturday April 30
Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 BST)
Krzysztof Ratajski v Patrik Gosnak
Damon Heta v Ricky Evans
Nathan Aspinall v Wesley Plaisier
Ryan Searle v Zoran Lerchbacher
Joe Cullen v Jim Williams
Brendan Dolan v Gabriel Clemens
Jose de Sousa v Madars Razma
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Danny Noppert
Evening Session (1900 local time, 1200 BST)
James Wade v Brett Claydon
Luke Humphries v Danny Jansen
Dirk van Duijvenbode v Rowby-John Rodriguez
Michael van Gerwen v Cameron Menzies
Jonny Clayton v Jeffrey De Zwaan
Peter Wright v Callan Rydz
Rob Cross v Josh Rock
Ross Smith v Stephen Bunting
Images: Kais Bodensieck, PDC Europe