Steve Beaton on song in Baltic Sea Darts Open
Steve Beaton rolled back the years to demolish Adrian Lewis with a 106 average on day one of the Baltic Sea Darts Open, as Daryl Gurney and James Wade also booked their places in the second round in Kiel. The first day of the year's opening European Tour event saw 16 first round ties take place across two sessions, with Beaton producing the performance of the day at the Wunderino Arena. Beaton - the senior statesman in the inaugural event - averaged 106 and pinned 60% of his attempts at double, in a match which saw all eight legs won in 15 darts or fewer. Beaton's reward is a second round meeting with Premier League star Nathan Aspinall on Saturday, while Gurney will play top seed Luke Humphries following his 6-5 success against Clemens. Gurney established the early initiative to lead Gabriel Clemens 3-1, only for the German number one to respond with an 11-darter and a 144 finish to restore parity at four apiece. However, the Northern Irishman held his nerve in the latter stages, surviving a match dart to secure just his second win in eight meetings against the World Championship semi-finalist. Elsewhere, James Wade produced a typically efficient performance to come through a heavyweight first round tie against Raymond van Barneveld and set up a second round tussle against Peter Wright. Van Barneveld drew first blood with a superb 121 finish, but Wade punished an inconsistent display from the Dutch veteran to book a date with two-time World Champion Wright on Saturday night. Niko Springer delighted his home crowd to set up a fascinating second round fixture against World Champion Michael Smith, averaging 97 and landing five maximums to beat Jermaine Wattimena 6-4. Lukas Wenig also advanced in style on Friday evening, converting a majestic 160 checkout to seal a 6-1 rout of Ryan Meikle, which sets up an all-German affair against Martin Schindler on Day Two. Florian Hempel was unable to make it a hat-trick of German winners on the opening day, succumbing 6-2 to Richard Veenstra, who converted six of his eight attempts at double in a clinical display. Stephen Bunting also enjoyed an impressive start to his 2023 European Tour campaign, conjuring up 120 and 152 finishes to overcome William O'Connor 6-4 with a 97 average. Bunting will face Van Gerwen in another high-profile showdown, while Ritchie Edhouse will play Dimitri Van den Bergh for a place in the last 16, after easing past Shaun Wilkinson in his opener. Graham Usher made a winning start on his European Tour debut, punishing a below-par performance from Ryan Joyce to close out a 6-3 win, and his reward is a second round meeting with Gerwyn Price. Earlier in the day, Lewy Williams fired in back-to-back 11-darters to wrap up a 6-3 win over Dennis Nilsson, having also produced a spectacular 160 checkout in the opening leg of the contest. Martijn Dragt celebrated his first European Tour victory in Friday's curtain-raiser, closing out a 6-2 success against Ricky Evans to move through to a meeting against fourth seed Rob Cross. Mario Vandenbogaerde also sealed his maiden victory on the European Tour stage at the fifth attempt, converting 101 and 126 finishes to edge out Niels Zonneveld in a hard-fought deciding-leg tie. There were also victories for former World Youth Champions Arron Monk, Keegan Brown, Bradley Brooks and Ted Evetts during an entertaining afternoon session in Kiel. Brown and Evetts advanced with 6-3 wins over Czech qualifier Filip Sebesta and Dutch debutant Jeroen Mioch respectively, while Brooks punished a profligate display from Josh Payne to storm to a 6-2 success. Meanwhile, Monk landed five 180s and defied 21 missed darts at double to deny Brendan Dolan in a last-leg shoot-out and book a tussle against tenth seed Joe Cullen on Saturday afternoon. The 16 seeded players enter the fray in Saturday's second round, with top seed Humphries, world number one Smith and Van Gerwen headlining the action.
Baltic Sea Darts Open results and schedule
Friday February 24 - first round results
Martijn Dragt 6-2 Ricky Evans Mario Vandenbogaerde 6-5 Niels Zonneveld Lewy Williams 6-3 Dennis Nilsson Keegan Brown 6-3 Filip Sebesta Ted Evetts 6-3 Jeroen Mioch Arron Monk 6-5 Brendan Dolan Niko Springer 6-4 Jermaine Wattimena Bradley Brooks 6-2 Josh Payne Evening Session Ritchie Edhouse 6-2 Shaun Wilkinson Graham Usher 6-3 Ryan Joyce Lukas Wenig 6-1 Ryan Meikle Stephen Bunting 6-4 William O'Connor Richard Veenstra 6-2 Florian Hempel James Wade 6-3 Raymond van Barneveld Daryl Gurney 6-5 Gabriel Clemens Steve Beaton 6-2 Adrian Lewis
Saturday February 25 - second round
Ryan Searle v Mario Vandenbogaerde Rob Cross v Martijn Dragt Dave Chisnall v Lewy Williams Dimitri Van den Bergh v Ritchie Edhouse Joe Cullen v Arron Monk Damon Heta v Bradley Brooks Danny Noppert v Keegan Brown Dirk van Duijvenbode v Richard Veenstra Nathan Aspinall v Steve Beaton Jonny Clayton v Ted Evetts Gerwyn Price v Graham Usher Luke Humphries v Daryl Gurney Michael Smith v Niko Springer Peter Wright v James Wade Michael van Gerwen v Stephen Bunting Martin Schindler v Lukas Wenig
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