By Alex Moss
10 JUNE 2017 • 11:17AM
Vincent van der Voort edged past Adrian Lewis 6-4 in a thrilling encounter in the first round of the HappyBet European Darts Matchplay in Hamburg last night.
The Dutchman stormed into a five-nil lead against the two-time world champion, taking out checkouts of 116, 105 and 81 as he looked to be heading towards a comfortable win.
However, world number four Lewis then fought back to take the next two legs, before starting the eighth leg with seven perfect darts on his way to another break to close the gap to 5-3.
Lewis was then the width of a wire away from becoming the first player since Ross Smith in 2013 to hit a nine darter on the European Tour, as his ninth dart in the next leg went agonisingly just inside the double 12.
But that was to be the last leg which Lewis won, as he wired the bullseye for a 121 finish in the 10th leg and van der Voort then put an end to his valiant comeback by hitting double 11 to clinch a 6-4 victory.
Elsewhere on the opening day, Kyle Anderson scraped through in a deciding leg to see off the challenge of Christian Kist, while Peter Jacques also needed a decider to overcome Chris Dobey in their first round encounter.
Stephen Bunting made a bright start to his weekend as he saw off Kenny Neyens 6-3. The former BDO world champion raced into a 5-0 lead, with Neyens avoiding the whitewash by winning three straight legs, before Bunting stumbled over the line in the ninth leg.
It was a disappointing day for the home nation qualifiers, as World Cup teammates Max Hopp and Martin Schindler both fell at the first hurdle.
Hopp was left ruing missed doubles as he hit just two of his 16 attempts in a 6-2 defeat to Mike de Decker, while Schindler squandered match darts as Andy Hamilton reeled off three successive legs to take a 6-5 victory.
Mike Holz was the next German to crash out as he let a three-leg lead slip in a 6-4 defeat to John Henderson, while the last host nation qualifier left in the field, Erik Tautfest, lost on his European Tour debut as John Michael recovered from 5-2 down to win 6-5, checking out 141 in the decider to claim an unlikely win.
Earlier in the day, Dirk van Duijvenbode defeated Darren Webster 6-3, and Nathan Aspinall saw off Chris Quantock by the same scoreline.
Justin Pipe put in the performance of the afternoon session to beat Krzysztof Ratajski 6-4, averaging 98.52 and landing 45 per cent of his double attempts.
Peter Hudson kicked off the tournament with a 6-1 thrashing of Brendan Dolan, while debutant Richard North inflicted the same result on Mickey Mansell.
James Wilson beat another debutant, Lee Bryant, 6-4, Jimmy Hendriks edged past Andy Jenkins by the same scoreline, and Marko Kantele squeezed past Antonio Alcinas in a last-leg decider.
HappyBet European Darts Matchplay
Friday June 9
Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm local time)
Peter Hudson 6-1 Brendan Dolan
Richard North 6-1 Mickey Mansell
Justin Pipe 6-4 Krzysztof Ratajski
Andy Hamilton 6-5 Martin Schindler
James Wilson 6-4 Lee Bryant
Marko Kantele 6-5 Antonio Alcinas
Mike de Decker 6-2 Max Hopp
Jimmy Hendriks 6-4 Andy Jenkins
Evening Session (7pm-11pm local time)
Nathan Aspinall 6-3 Chris Quantock
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-3 Darren Webster
John Henderson 6-4 Mike Holz
Peter Jacques 6-5 Chris Dobey
Stephen Bunting 6-3 Kenny Neyens
Vincent van der Voort 6-4 Adrian Lewis
John Michael 6-5 Erik Tautfest
Kyle Anderson 6-5 Christian Kist
Picture: PDC Europe