Wright Out Again in Euro Tour as Van Gerwen Reaches Yet Another Final Day in Austrian Darts Open
World number one and defending world champion Peter Wright has been knocked out in the second round for the second time in back-to-back Euro Tours, losing 6-3 Callan Rydz in Graz. Michael van Gerwen came through a real tussle with Scotsman Cameron Menzies winning 6-3 despite not hitting a single 180 on the oche.
Only Zoran Lerchbacher remains as Austria’s only player left in the competition after beating Ryan Searle 6-3 to reach the third round and face Dirk van Duijvenbode. Heavy Metal threw three maximums but an average of 86.46 showed a clear off day for a man who’s already won a Pro Tour event this year.
Rowby-John Rodriguez and Patrick Gosnak were the only other Austrians left in the tournament, but both were knocked out on Saturday with Gosnak losing the opening second round match of the day 6-0 to a 101.33 average thrown by Krzysztof Ratajski, whilst Little John fell short to van Duijvenbode who missed just five darts at double all match.
Peter Wright will feel a little underwhelmed with the overall result of his match with Callan Rydz in Graz, with Snakebite achieving a 100.63 average in the second-round tie with his opponent from Tyneside. The match was won on the outer ring, with The Riot very impressive only missing three darts at double in the entire game.
Rydz included a 96 out in the eighth leg to break the world number one for the second time in the match before returning to the oche to win the next leg on double eleven to seal his spot in the third round, where he will face Steven Bunting.
Michael van Gerwen faced former Lakeside Semi Finalist Cameron Menzies in the evening session and won with an average of 92.77. Menzies averaged more in the match (just short of 95) and included the highest checkout of the tournament, hitting the big fish (170) in the fifth leg to hold throw and make the score 3-2 in favour of MVG.
Mighty Mike included a ton plus checkout of his own in the match as well, finishing 104 in the third leg to break his Scottish opponent and take a 3-0 lead. Van Gerwen is through to face a familiar opponent in James Wade having played him on many occasions in this year’s Premier League, with the Machine beating Brett Claydon 6-3 with five maximums and a 101.82 average earlier on in the evening session.
Premier League champion and current leader Jonny Clayton is through to the last day in Austria after beating Dutchman Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-4 including a 66 checkout to break de Zwaan and level at 1-1 in the second leg, after The Ferret was broken in the opening leg. Clayton averaged just 91.68 in the Second-Round tie but included three maximums and goes through to face UK Open champion Danny Noppert in Round 3.
The Freeze beat World Matchplay champion Dimitri van den Bergh 6-3 in the afternoon and averaged 103.10 in beating the Belgian. Noppert had a checkout rate of 42.86% and included a 129 out in the second leg to break and lead 2-0 in the match. The Austrian crowd were treated to seven maximums on stage with van den Bergh hitting four of them despite losing.
Joe Cullen is also through to the Third Round in Graz after beating Jim Williams 6-4 in the afternoon session including five maximums on stage. The Rockstar also finished 152 in the second leg to take a 2-0 lead and break, in the highest checkout of the match from both. Cullen is through to face The Polish Eagle Krzysztof Ratajski in the Last 16.
German Darts Grand Prix champion Luke Humphries was knocked out on Saturday at the hands of Danny Jansen 6-2 in a real off day for Cool Hand who only averaged 83.68 in the match, whilst Jose de Sousa continued what has been a real poor start to 2022 for The Special One losing 6-3 to Madars Razma failing to hit a single 180 on the oche.
Ricky Evans beat Damon Heta 6-3 in another shock exit on Saturday, with Heta only hitting one maximum and an average of just 90.28 in the match. A 71 out from Evans in the last leg was his highest checkout on stage and Rapid goes through to face Jansen in the Third Round.
Action continues Sunday with Danny Noppert facing Jonny Clayton in the opening third round match on Sunday in Graz.
By Harry Masterson
Austrian Darts Open: Round 2 Results
Krzysztof Ratajski (14) 6-0 Patrick Gosnak
Ricky Evans 6-3 Damon Heta (10)
Nathan Aspinall (15) 6-3 Wesley Plaisier
Zoran Lerchbacher 6-3 Ryan Searle (5)
Joe Cullen (3) 6-4 Jim Williams
Gabriel Clemens 6-3 Brendan Dolan (8)
Madars Razma 6-3 Jose de Sousa (2)
Danny Noppert 6-3 Dimitri van den Bergh (6)
James Wade (13) 6-3 Brett Claydon
Danny Jansen 6-2 Luke Humphries (7)
Dirk van Duijvenbode (12) 6-4 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Michael van Gerwen (4) 6-3 Cameron Menzies
Jonny Clayton (11) 6-4 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Callan Rydz 6-3 Peter Wright (1)
Rob Cross (9) 6-2 Josh Rock
Steven Bunting 6-3 Ross Smith (16)
Round 3 Order of Play: Sunday
Danny Noppert v Jonny Clayton (11)
Joe Cullen (3) v Krzysztof Ratajski (14)
Danny Jansen v Ricky Evans
Madars Razma v Nathan Aspinall (15)
Zoran Lerchbacher v Dirk van Duijvenbode (12)
Michael van Gerwen (4) v James Wade (13)
Gabriel Clemens v Rob Cross (9)
Callan Rydz v Steven Bunting