Robbie Green set up a second round clash with Stephen Bunting in the HappyBet International Darts Open after beating James Richardson 6-4 in Riesa this afternoon.
The 42-year-old reeled off four legs on the spin to come from 2-1 behind to lead 5-2, before Richardson, who hit five 180s in their first round contest, took back-to-back legs to cut Green’s lead to just one leg.
But Green closed out victory in the next leg with a 14 darter, and now prepares to face his good friend Bunting in an all-Merseyside encounter tomorrow.
“I’ve played with Stephen since he was about 13 or 14,” Green said. “I treat him like a little brother.
“He’s very, very special to me. I love him to bits, but obviously tomorrow we’ve got to go head-to-head and may the best man win.”
The seventh European Tour event of the season got underway earlier this afternoon, with James Wilson, Jim Walker and Ryan Meikle also sealing their progression in the tournament.
For Meikle, who whitewashed Michael Rasztovits 6-0, it was his first game on the European Tour and, following top seed Michael van Gerwen’s withdrawal this morning, he has received a bye straight through to the third round on Sunday.
The 20-year-old, who won his tour card at Q-School in January, made the most of some poor finishing from his Austrian opponent, who missed all of his 13 attempts at the double.
Meikle on the other hand was at one point four from four on his double attempts, which included an excellent 151 checkout in the opening leg.
“I didn’t play too well but I got through,” Meikle said. “I’m happy.”
Wilson continued his recent good form on the PDC tour by beating former World Championship finalist Andy Hamilton 6-2 in the first round in Riesa.
The Huddersfield thrower broke the Hamilton throw three times during the contest to establish leads of 3-0 and 5-1, and will now face defending champion Michael Smith in the second round.
“I’m playing well,” Wilson said. “I’ve just got to keep it up and hopefully he’ll be mine.”
Scotland’s Walker marked his first appearance in the European Tour for three years with a 6-3 victory against Maik Langendorf.
The 57-year-old stormed into a 4-0 lead, before the host nation qualifier fought back with three legs in succession to close to just one leg behind.
Langendorf then spurned chances to stay in the match and Walker checked out 98 on double 18 to book a second round clash with Ian White tomorrow.
“He missed doubles and it cost him,” Walker said. “I’ve played Ian before and I’ve won so we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
2016 HappyBet International Darts Open
Robbie Green (93.65) 6-4 James Richardson (94.64)
Andy Hamilton (80.55) 2-6 James Wilson (94.66)
Jim Walker (84.68) 6-3 Maik Langendorf (81.15)
Ryan Meikle (83.50) 6-0 Michael Rasztovits 0 (76.08)