Van Gerwen and Van Barneveld set up clash in Zwolle
Michael van Gerwen hit top form in front of his adoring home crowd, as he saw off Willie O’Connor 6-2 in the second round of the Dutch Darts Masters in Zwolle. Raymond van Barneveld, Vincent van der Voort and Jermaine Wattimena also claimed memorable wins in their home country.
Only two days after his superb Premier League triumph, Michael van Gerwen was back in action on the European Tour, hoping to claim his 5th title of 2019. His opponent was the ever improving Willie O’Connor, full of confidence on the back of winning his first PDC title a few weeks back. The first 2 legs went on throw, before the Limerick man took out 107 to lead 2-1. However, that was as good as it got for O’Connor, as Van Gerwen rattled in a 134 checkout to level it up. He gained a crucial break of throw with a 63 finish, before holding to lead 4-2. ‘The Magpie’ left himself on 34 to peg the Dutch man back, only for Van Gerwen to pin a 148 checkout for the killer blow. He finished the job with a 16 darter to claim an excellent victory over the Irish man who averaged over 103. MVG was on another level though, averaging almost 107 to set up an all Dutch clash with Raymond van Barneveld in the Last 16.
Van Barneveld produced an inspired display to see off Michael Smith 6-3 in Zwolle, in what will be his last ranking tournament in his home country. The first 4 legs were shared, before Barney claimed a crucial break of throw to open up a 5-2 lead. ‘Bully Boy’ pulled a leg back, but Van Barneveld brilliantly finished 100 to move through to the delight of the natives. Jermaine Wattimena saw off Danny Noppert 6-4 in a superb match, averaging 99 in a terrific win. With the game tied at 4-4, ‘The Machine Gun’ took out 96, hitting two double 19s to give him the advantage. Noppert missed 5 darts to send the game to a decider, allowing Wattimena to pin double 18. Vincent van der Voort was the 4th Dutch man to make it through, seeing off Mensur Suljovic 6-3. Leading 4-3, Van der Voort pinned a stunning 138 checkout to claim the crucial break of throw, which was eventually enough for him to defeat the Austrian.
Ian White survived match darts as he came through a tense deciding leg against Mickey Mansell. The 2 time Euro Tour led Mansell 5-3, only for the Tyrone man to level it a 5 all. In a dramatic turn of events, Mansell squandered 5 match darts, allowing White to pin double 4 for a fortunate win. Gerwyn Price was in unstoppable form as he saw off Krzysztof Ratajski 6-1, averaging 103 in a 6-1 win. His opponent tomorrow will be Brendan Dolan, who overturned a 2-0 deficit to see off Stephen Bunting 6-4 in the first game of the afternoon. Peter Wright and Dave Chisnall completed relatively comfortable wins over Ritchie Edhouse and Steve Beaton respectively, while Mervyn King produced a majestic display to hammer Daryl Gurney 6-1.
Max Hopp claimed a rare whitewash win over the off form Joe Cullen, while Rowby-John Rodriguez produced another excellent display to see off Darren Webster 6-2. Dennis Nilsson caused a minor upset as he pipped Jonny Clayton 6-5, surviving a match dart at the bull from ‘The Ferret.’ Simon Whitlock was outstanding as he averaged 103 in a 6-3 win over the impressive Florian Hempel, while Ricky Evans produced a majestic display on the doubles to defeat Danny van Trijp 6-2.
The Dutch Darts Masters comes to its conclusion tomorrow in Zwolle, with 16 players gunning for the title. There are 4 Dutch men in the draw, giving the crowd plenty to cheer for as the tournament comes to an end.