Peter Wright defeated Raymond van Barneveld in a clash of the World Champions at the Interwetten German Darts Open on Saturday, setting up a heavyweight third round tie against Jonny Clayton in Jena.
Wright overcame five-time World Champion Van Barneveld in a topsy-turvy affair at the Sparkassen-Arena to secure his first victory since returning from gallstones surgery last month.
Van Barneveld recovered from a sluggish start to restore parity at three apiece, only for Wright to reel off the last three legs in 15, 13 and 15 darts to advance with a 99.88 average.
“I got a bit emotional last week, but it’s great to be back in front of these amazing fans,” said Wright. “Raymond is absolutely fantastic. He’s a great guy and he’ll be back, but the most important thing is that I’m in the next round.”
The World Champion now takes on Clayton in a blockbuster last 16 tussle, after the NSW Darts Masters winner fought back from 4-3 down to dump out his compatriot Jim Williams, following up a 116 finish with a 13-darter to complete the turnaround.
The evening’s other all-Welsh tie saw world number one Gerwyn Price recover from 4-3 down to defeat Lewy Williams in a pulsating contest.
Williams started magnificently; crashing in six 180s, a ten-darter and conjuring up a 142 finish, but Price’s experience paid dividends, as the second seed won the last three legs to book his spot in the last 16.
“Lewy was banging in 180s on his throw and putting me under pressure,” admitted Price, who will lock horns with home favourite Martin Schindler for a place in the quarter-finals.
“Thankfully I had that 3-1 lead, because I needed it towards the end. Lewy is a fantastic player, and with more experience I’m sure he will be able to finish off games like this.”
Schindler maintained host-nation hopes with a battling 6-3 win against Dutch qualifier Danny van Trijp, with a two-dart 90 combination sandwiched between 14 and 13-dart legs in the latter stages.
Elsewhere, top seed Luke Humphries began his campaign with a 6-3 win over Daniel Larsson, opening up proceedings with legs of 13 and 11 darts before converting a clinical 111 finish in the penultimate leg to progress.
Last week’s Hungarian Darts Trophy winner Joe Cullen produced a sensational 136 checkout to complete a thrilling deciding-leg win over Joe Murnan, having also taken out 141 and 116 finishes earlier in the contest.
Meanwhile, reigning European Champion Rob Cross underlined his credentials with a thumping 6-1 victory over Martin Lukeman in the evening’s finale, winning six consecutive legs to triumph with a 100.48 average.
Steve Beaton rolled back the years to defeat Nathan Aspinall on his big stage return, punishing a profligate display from last weekend’s semi-finalist in Hungary to complete a 6-4 success.
Beaton’s reward is a Sunday showdown against tenth seed Jose De Sousa, who fired in six perfect darts in the closing stages of his tie against host-nation qualifier Dragutin Horvat to prevail by the same scoreline.
Daryl Gurney converted a stunning 164 checkout in the opening leg of his 6-3 win over Dirk van Duijvenbode, before registering back-to-back 180s to seal his progression with a brilliant 11-darter.
Ross Smith defied a spirited fightback from UK Open Champion Danny Noppert – who hit back from 4-0 down to force a last-leg decider – conjuring up a 13-dart hold to triumph in a high-quality tussle.
Fifth seed Damon Heta awaits Smith in round three, after the Australian number one averaged 101.32, posted four maximums and landed two ton-plus finishes to dispatch Alan Soutar 6-2.
Earlier in the day, Dimitri Van den Bergh produced an impressive display of power scoring in his opener, rattling in six 180s to wrap up a resounding 6-2 victory over David Evans.
The Belgian will now face Luke Woodhouse, who advanced to the last 16 for the second straight weekend after inflicting Ryan Searle’s third consecutive defeat on the European Tour stage.
Dave Chisnall continued his fine form to ease past former World Youth Champion Bradley Brooks on Saturday afternoon, and he will meet Humphries in a mouth-watering third round fixture.
Krzysztof Ratajski produced a 13-dart leg to edge out Geert Nentjes and preserve his European Championship qualification hopes, and third seed Cross now awaits the Polish number one on Sunday afternoon.
Sunday’s Finals Day will see the last 16 take place in the afternoon session, before the tournament concludes with the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final in a blockbuster evening session.
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.
PDCTV Subscription options will include a £3.99 Event Pass & a £1.99 Day Pass.
2022 Interwetten German Darts Open
Saturday September 10
Luke Woodhouse 6-3 Ryan Searle
Jose de Sousa 6-4 Dragutin Horvat
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-5 Geert Nentjes
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-2 David Evans
Ross Smith 6-5 Danny Noppert
Dave Chisnall 6-2 Bradley Brooks
Steve Beaton 6-4 Nathan Aspinall
Daryl Gurney 6-3 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Damon Heta 6-2 Alan Soutar
Luke Humphries 6-3 Daniel Larsson
Joe Cullen 6-5 Joe Murnan
Peter Wright 6-3 Raymond van Barneveld
Gerwyn Price 6-4 Lewy Williams
Martin Schindler 6-3 Danny van Trijp
Jonny Clayton 6-4 Jim Williams
Rob Cross 6-1 Martin Lukeman
Sunday September 11
Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 BST)
Luke Humphries v Dave Chisnall
Daryl Gurney v Joe Cullen
Peter Wright v Jonny Clayton
Damon Heta v Ross Smith
Gerwyn Price v Martin Schindler
Steve Beaton v Jose De Sousa
Rob Cross v Krzysztof Ratajski
Luke Woodhouse v Dimitri Van den Bergh
Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 BST)
Images: Kais Bodensieck/PDC Europe