Nicholson shines while Padgett upsets Van den Bergh on day one Sindelfingen

Paul Nicholson shined at the Glaspalast in Sindelfingen while Matt Padgett and Kirk Shepherd produced huge upsets on the opening day at the European Darts Grand Prix.

Paul Nicholson, a former finalist on the European Tour, saw off Canadian debutant Dawson Murschell 6-2 in the penultimate match of the night in Germany. ‘The Asset’ averaged 95.71 and hit six of his 15 attempts at the outer ring on route to victory. Nicholson will face the man who he claimed his maiden televised title against Mervyn King in the third match of tomorrow’s evening session at the Glaspalast in Sindelfingen.

“It’s fantastic to be back on this stage,” said Nicholson.

“I was staring at that dreaded double-twelve I missed back in 2013, but it is great to be back playing darts here.

“Before the game, I just took myself away from the practice room, got in my zone, and I am delighted to get through.”

Another standout performer was former World Championship finalist Kirk Shepherd – who defeated another man who has competed in a World Championship final in Stephen Bunting. Shepherd came out a 6-2 victor in the tie hitting six out of his 13 attempts at double and an average of 93.93. Shepherd will take on a six-time European Tour winner and two-time European Tour finalist this year in Peter Wright – who is currently looking for his maiden title of the year after three defeats in finals.

The World Youth Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh also exited after the opening day of action as he was beaten by unknown Matt Padgett 6-4 in Sindelfingen. Padgett pinned two maximums and hit six of his eight attempts at the outer ring on route to a 6-4 victory over the current World Youth Champion. Padgett will be back tomorrow afternoon where he will take on a former winner on the European Tour in Dave Chisnall.

Vincent Van der Voort produced a vintage display as he saw off Irish hopeful Steve Lennon 6-4 with an average 0f just over the 103 mark. On route to an impeccable victory ‘The Dutch Destroyer’ threw five maximums and seven 140s in a scoring masterclass. Van der Voort will be back in the final game of tomorrow evening, where he’ll face the reigning World Champion and a four-time winner on the ProTour Rob Cross – who will still be searching for his maiden European Tour title after loosing in the final twice.

Martin Schindler and Robert Marijanovic kept German hopes alive at the Glaspalast as they respectively saw off their opponents in their home-nation. Schindler whitewashed a below par Robert Owen while Marijanovic eased past Andy Boutlton hitting a 123 checkout to come out victorious.

Elsewhere in Sindelfingen, the three other host nation qualifiers suffered defeat as Gabriel Clemens, Christian Bunse and German Darts Open winner Max Hopp exited on the opening day of action. Clemens reached the semi-finals at the Winmau World Masters at the back end of last year but unfortunately for the German crowd ‘Gaga’ couldn’t emulate that form as he suffered a 6-3 defeat at the hands of Jan Dekker – who pinned half of his attempts at double! Christian Bunse, a 23-year-old from Diemelsee in Germany, averaged just 80 as he was beaten by World Championship semi-finalist Jamie Lewis – who was under-par, hitting just six out of his 27 attempts at the outer-ring.

James Wade continued his resurgence with a 6-4 victory over Max Hopp – who claimed the title three weeks ago in Saarbrücken. Wade pinned three maximums and 40% of his attempts at doubles on route to victory in Sindelfingen as he setup a second round clash with John Henderson – who is seeded for the very first at a European Tour event.

Kyle Anderson returned to European Tour action after failing to qualify for the majority of this year’s events and then taking a break to fly back down under to visit his young son with a 6-4 victory over ‘Rapid’ Ricky Evans – who recently hit a huge score of over 1,000 in a 60 second challenge while playing in a local pub. Anderson threw three maximums and a 94.28 three-dart average as he setup a second round encounter with an out of form Kim Huybrechts.

Danny Noppert made it four wins from four against Poland’s number one Krzysztof Ratajski as he beat him 6-3 at the Glaspalast with an average of just below the 100 mark. Ratajski returned to European Tour action after loosing out in the Eastern European qualifiers to fellow Polish representative Tytus Kanik in previous events with another loss to Noppert – who also beat him the last time the ‘Polish Eagle’ took to the stage in Europe. Noppert hit three maximums and a highest checkout of 101 on route to setting up a second round clash with Austrian Darts Open finalist Gerwyn Price.

Number one seed and 22-time European Tour winner Michael Van Gerwen will face Alan Tabern in the second round in a repeat of the last 16 at the Austrian Darts Open two weeks ago. Tabern saw off Matt Giles 6-3, hitting three maximums, 66.67% checkout rate and a high checkout of 121.

Jamie Caven, Jermaine Wattimena, Madars Razma and Aaron Monk also claimed victories on the opening day of action at the European Darts Open and play will resume from tomorrow afternoon at 12pm. The action will be streamed live on PDCTV.

Photography courtesy of PDC Europe

2018 European Darts Grand Prix

Friday May 4
First Round
Afternoon Session
Arron Monk 6-3 Peter Hudson
Madars Razma 6-4 Steve Hine
Matt Padgett 6-4 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Vincent van der Voort 6-4 Steve Lennon
Jan Dekker 6-3 Gabriel Clemens
Kirk Shepherd 6-2 Stephen Bunting
Alan Tabern 6-3 Mats Gies
Martin Schindler 6-0 Robert Owen

Evening Session
Danny Noppert 6-3 Krzysztof Ratajski
Jermaine Wattimena 6-5 Toni Alcinas
Jamie Lewis 6-4 Christian Bunse
Jamie Caven 6-1 Mareno Michels
Kyle Anderson 6-4 Ricky Evans
James Wade 6-4 Max Hopp
Paul Nicholson 6-2 Dawson Murschell
Robert Marijanovic 6-3 Andy Boulton

Saturday May 5
Second Round
Afternoon Session (1pm local time, 12pm BST)
Ian White v Madars Razma
Dave Chisnall v Matt Padgett
Jelle Klaasen v Jermaine Wattimena
Joe Cullen v Martin Schindler
Gerwyn Price v Danny Noppert
Michael Smith v Arron Monk
Kim Huybrechts v Kyle Anderson
Simon Whitlock v Jan Dekker

Evening Session (7.15pm local time, 6.15pm BST)
Daryl Gurney v Jamie Lewis
Darren Webster v Robert Marijanovic
Mervyn King v Paul Nicholson
Mensur Suljovic v Jamie Caven
Michael van Gerwen v Alan Tabern
Peter Wright v Kirk Shepherd
John Henderson v James Wade
Rob Cross v Vincent Van der Voort

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