Sweden’s Dennis Nilsson pulled off the night’s biggest upset, as he knocked out former World Champion Steve Beaton, while Kyle Anderson and Ronny Huybrechts both put in top shelf performances, in the first round of the HappyBet International Darts Open.
Nilsson and Beaton each hit a pair of ton-plus outs in the early stages, but it was the Swede who moved in front, taking a 5-3 lead. However, Beaton battled back to level at 5-5.
Beaton had the darts in the decider and left 32 after 12, but he missed three at double. Nilsson then stepped in and took out 106 for the match, 6-5.
“(Beaton)’s one of the best on tour,” Nilsson said. “I’ve played the World Championships, Winmau World Masters. This is one of the best wins of my career.
“When he missed in the last leg, I just think, give me one chance. And I took it.”
Meanwhile, Kyle Anderson had the only 100+ average of the night, as he beat Jerry Hendriks 6-1. Anderson was consistent throughout, only missing two darts at double, highlighted by a 130-out in leg two.
“Now, it’s all coming together,” Anderson said. “I’m feeling comfortable hitting doubles now. It’s all coming together as one.”
Yet Anderson still feels he can improve on this performance over the rest of the tournament.
“My scoring wasn’t as good as it’s been over the last four or five tournaments. I need to hit more trebles tomorrow.”
Anderson meets fellow Australian Simon Whitlock tomorrow, following off of them meeting in the World Matchplay and a pair of World Series events recently.
“He can score well, I can score well. It’s going to come down to who can hit their doubles.”
Ronny Huybrechts also won through with a quality performance, averaging over 105 for much of the match before finishing with a 94 average and a 6-4 win over Ted Evetts.
“It was for me really important to win this match because it’s the last time the European Championship is in Belgium,” Ronny Huybrechts told the Love The Darts.
“It’s my fifth year in the PDC, and I qualified the two years in Germany, but never in Belgium.”
Huybrechts jumped out into a 5-1 lead, but Evetts wheeled off three legs on the spin, including two breaks of throw, to narrow the margin.
In the tenth leg, Huybrechts left tops after 12, but almost didn’t get a shot. Evetts missed tops for a 116-out and a 15-darter of his own. Huybrechts then took out tops first dart for the match and set up a second-round encounter with Cristo Reyes.
“Cristo is a good friend,” Huybrechts said. “We practice together. But when you’re on stage, you have no friends. I need to play my best game to beat him.”
Greece’s John Michael also won on Friday, overcoming Hungary’s Euro Tour debutant Nandor Bezzeg 6-3. Michael was comfortably better for much of the match, but missed four match darts before finally taking out double 10.
In the second match of the night, Keegan Brown overcame a slow start to beat Michael Plooy 6-4.
Plooy took the first two legs, with Brown averaging under 70, before Brown wheeled off three legs on the spin and five out of six to grab the lead.
Plooy took out 71 to save the match in the ninth leg to save the match. But Brown nailed double top after Plooy missed double 18 to finish the deal.
The German crowd had reason to cheer in the third match, as Max Hopp overcame a game Mark Webster 6-4.
The crowd were for the most part respectful. But they applauded when Webster busted from 20, allowing Hopp to step in to break for 2-1.
Webster seemed rattled from that, as he was left on 224 after 12 in the next leg, but he came back in the next two legs, including a 14-dart break of throw to level at 3-3.
But in the end, the German was too much, as he edged by 6-4 in a match where both players missed a dozen darts at double.
In the fifth match, Peter Jacques moved closer to qualifying for the World Championship, as he overturned a 2-0 deficit to beat Vincent van der Voort 6-4.
Van der Voort could have been even more in front, but he missed eight darts —including five at double four – for a 3-0 lead. Those were amongst 14 darts van der Voort missed at double in the match, with three more coming in the penultimate leg.
Jacques was not much better on the doubles, missing 13 of his own, including three himself in leg nine, but he hit madhouse to go 5-4 up and never looked back.
Richie Corner silenced the hometown crowd, beating Martin Schindler 6-3.
Schindler broke in leg five for a 3-2 lead, but Corner won the next four, including outs of 81, 120, and 147 to book his place in the second round tomorrow.
Picture: PDC Europe