Devon Petersen produced a brilliant comeback to beat Andy Jenkins in a last leg thriller in the first round of the HappyBet European Darts Open in Dusseldorf.
The sixth PDC European Tour event of the year got underway at the Maritim Hotel with a double session, where 32 players were in action hoping to book their place in Saturday’s second round.
In his first appearance on the European Tour this year, Jenkins raced into a 5-2 lead and looked poised for victory only for Petersen to reel off four legs on the spin to win 6-5.
After holding throw in the eighth leg to close to 5-3 behind, the South African checked out 81 to break the Jenkins throw and go one behind at 5-4.
A 105 checkout in the 10th leg then forced a deciding leg, and after Jenkins missed three match darts Petersen took out 54 to complete the comeback.
There was plenty more drama in the evening session, with both Andy Boulton and Kyle Anderson coming through deciding legs to advance to the last 32.
Boulton silenced the home crowd by beating Germany’s Max Hopp 6-5, while Anderson edged past Cristo Reyes by the same scoreline.
Stefan Stoyke did give the German crowd something to cheer about though, as the host nation qualifier defied a brave fightback from Mark Frost to win 6-4.
Stoyke is the only German left in the draw for the last 32, after his compatriot Holger Rettig was unable to capitalise on a bright start as he lost 6-3 to Steve West.
Elsewhere, Jamie Caven set up a rematch with top seed Michael van Gerwen in the second round after he beat Christian Kist 6-2.
Caven will be looking for revenge after suffering a 10-0 whitewash to the world number one at the BetVictor World Matchplay earlier this month.
Belgium’s Dimitri van den Bergh posted the highest average of the evening session, with a 93.57 three-dart average proving too strong against Jeffrey de Graaf.
De Graaf had made a positive start as he landed a 160 checkout – the highest of the tournament so far, before van den Bergh claimed five legs on the spin to complete a 6-2 victory.
In the final game of the evening session, Gerwyn Price overcame Tony Newell to set up a second round clash with Simon Whitlock.
In the afternoon session, Daryl Gurney and Robbie Green produced one of the matches of the weekend so far, with the contest swinging back and forth in what was a 6-5 thriller.
Green had raced into a 4-1 lead and was averaging over 105, before Gurney reeled off four legs in the spin to edge in front at 5-4.
Green then took out 120 against the throw to force a deciding leg, and after the pair both missed match darts, it was Gurney who landed double five to squeeze through a 6-5 winner.
Jan Dekker got the tournament underway with a solid display to knock out John Henderson 6-4, while Ritchie Edhouse won four legs in a row to get the better of European Tour debutant Harry Ward by the same scoreline.
Wes Newton squandered a 5-3 lead and six match darts before eventually overcoming Shaun Griffiths in a last leg decider, while Finland’s Kim Viljanen eased past home favourite Martin Schindler 6-1.
Daniele Petri made history as he became the first Italian to play in a European Tour event, but his debut ended in defeat as he lost 6-3 to James Richardson.
In the final two games of the afternoon session, Greece’s John Michael whitewashed Fabian Herz 6-0 and Jonny Clayton averaged 96.53 to beat Andy Hamilton 6-3.
HappyBet European Darts Open
Friday 29 July
John Henderson (86.47) 4-6 Jan Dekker (84.59)
Ritchie Edhouse (87.06) 6-4 Harry Ward (81.78)
Wes Newton (87.93) 6-5 Shaun Griffiths (83.71)
Kim Viljanen (85.56) 6-1 Martin Schindler (79.83)
James Richardson (89.43) 6-3 Daniele Petri (83.27)
Robbie Green (96.32) 5-6 Daryl Gurney (92.48)
John Michael (85.89) 6-0 Fabian Herz (70.41)
Jonny Clayton (96.53) 6-3 Andy Hamilton (89.89)
Mark Frost (76.73) 4-6 Stefan Stoyke (78.19)
Dimitri van den Bergh (93.57) 6-2 Jeffrey de Graaf (85.31)
Holger Rettig (75.48) 3-6 Steve West (89.02)
Jamie Caven (89.20) 6-3 Christian Kist (83.07)
Andy Jenkins (85.58) 5-6 Devon Petersen (87.12)
Max Hopp (81.62) 5-6 Andy Boulton (80.36)
Cristo Reyes (88.62) 5-6 Kyle Anderson (92.35)
Gerwyn Price (84.57) 6-3 Tony Newell (79.82)