Kyle Anderson started his latest bid for a first European Tour title in style with a thrilling 6-4 win over Dirk van Duijvenbode in the HappyBet German Darts Grand Prix in Mannheim, Germany, this evening.
The Australian world number 28, who recently captured his maiden televised title with victory in the Auckland Darts Masters last month, battled back from 4-3 down to edge out the young Dutchman earlier tonight.
In a high-quality last 48 encounter in the Maimarkhalle, Anderson got off to a quick start as checkouts of 98 and 72 saw him land back-to-back 14 darters to establish a 2-0 lead.
Van Duijvenbode fought back with successive 14-dart legs of his own to level up at 2-2, before the world number 57 levelled up again in leg six with an 87 finish for a 12 darter.
A 50 finish in the next leg put the Dutch ace in front for the first time at 4-3, however Anderson then rallied with some excellent finishing, taking out checkouts of 72, 64 and a match-winning 94 to complete a comeback win.
The recent World Series winner averaged 101.44 to van Duijvenbode’s 100.85 as he finished with a three-dart average of over 100 for the fourth game running, and he will next face eighth seed Kim Huybrechts in the last 32 tomorrow.
Elsewhere this evening, last weekend’s Dutch Darts Masters runner-up Steve Beaton saw his hopes of another strong run on the European Tour ended at the first hurdle.
The world number 23 let a 3-1 lead slip as he lost to Scotland’s Jamie Bain, ranked 93rd in the world, in the opening round in Mannheim.
Beaton had made an impressive start to the contest as, aided by checkouts of 87 and 68, he moved 3-1 up, before Bain reeled off five of the next six legs to advance through to a clash with ninth seed Jelle Klaasen on Saturday.
Vincent van der Voort kept his bid to qualify for next month’s World Grand Prix alive with a comfortable 6-2 victory against Andrew Gilding.
The former major finalist, now 30th in the rankings, needs a run to the semi-finals to stand a chance of making the cut for Dublin, which falls after this weekend’s event in Germany.
Van der Voort will now take on the 15th seed Mervyn King in the second round tomorrow in a battle of former European Tour champions.
Welshman Jamie Lewis came through a hard-fought battle to see off Andy Boulton 6-5 and advance to the last 32 this evening.
The world number 37 celebrated his daughter’s first birthday with a victory, but he was made to work as, after letting a 3-0 lead slip to trail 4-3, he got over the line in a last-leg decider to set up a meeting with fifth seed Michael Smith.
Ireland’s Mick McGowan ended home hopes in the tournament as he knocked out German youngster Martin Schindler 6-3 in the final game of the first round.
Schindler was the last of the Host Nation Qualifiers left standing after his compatriot Michael Hurtz had lost 6-1 to Sweden’s Daniel Larsson earlier in the night.
Schindler had his moments as he started the second leg with six perfect darts, before later checking out 124 on the bullseye in leg six, but McGowan punished missed doubles from his opponent to progress to a second-round tie with third seed Mensur Suljovic.
East European Qualifier Krzysztof Ratajski continued his impressive year on the European Tour with a 6-4 win against Welsh ace Robert Owen.
In one of the games of the night, the Polish number one defied a 103.23 average from his opponent by winning four of the last six legs to set up a meeting with 16th seed Gerwyn Price tomorrow.
Former world youth champion Keegan Brown also booked his place in the last 32 on Saturday after seeing off James Richardson 6-2.
Richardson had earlier punished missed doubles from his opponent to lead 2-1, but Brown then won five legs without reply to go through and he will now face sixth seed Daryl Gurney tomorrow.