IMPRESSIVE VAN VEEN POWERS PAST ASPINALL IN HUNGARY
Gian van Veen moved into the provisional World Grand Prix qualification places with a stunning win over World Matchplay champion Nathan Aspinall at the Hungarian Darts Trophy on Saturday.
Day Two of the yearâ€™s penultimate European Tour event saw the 16 seeded players enter the fray in Budapest, with Aspinall one of five seeds to crash out on a dramatic day of action at the MVM Dome.
Aspinall averaged 101 and landed four 180s in a high-scoring affair, but Van Veenâ€™s devastating doubling saw him power to a statement 6-1 victory over the world number five.
This result also ended Ricardo Pietreczkoâ€™s hopes of World Grand Prix qualification, although Luke Woodhouse preserved his bid for a double-start debut with a 6-3 success against Rob Cross.
Woodhouse averaged 97 and pinned 55% of his attempts at double to topple the sixth seed, but he must reach at least the quarter-finals tomorrow to claim a spot in the 32-player event
Woodhouse will now play Peter Wright for a place in the last eight, after the Scot overcame Scott Waites to secure his first win on the European Tour stage since his Czech Darts Open triumph in May.
However, Luke Humphries delivered the performance of the day in the Hungarian capital, averaging 108.56 in his 6-2 thumping of Keane Barry, which featured a 125 checkout and a brace of 12-darters.
Gerwyn Price also starred in his six-leg blitz of Nathan Rafferty, averaging over 106 to set up an enthralling showdown against reigning champion Joe Cullen tomorrow afternoon.
Cullen began his Hungarian Darts Trophy title defence with a battling 6-4 victory against ten-time TV title winner James Wade, overcoming a sluggish start to book his place in round three.
Michael van Gerwen marked his return to European Tour action with victory against European Champion Ross Smith, who fought back from 5-2 down to threaten a remarkable comeback.
Michael Smith also fended off a late rally from Jose de Sousa to progress to Sundayâ€™s latter stages, capitalising on De Sousaâ€™s doubling woes to move through to a tie against Mike De Decker.
Despite being outscored by the Portuguese star, Smith raced into a 5-1 lead with clinical 135 and 90 finishes, before halting De Sousaâ€™s run of three straight legs to prevail with a 13-dart hold.
De Decker, meanwhile, produced another superb display of finishing to dispatch fifth seed Josh Rock, converting 124, 114 and 110 finishes to complete a 6-1 rout of the World Youth Champion.
De Decker hit a trio of ton-plus checkouts in his first round win against Andrew Gilding on Friday, and he repeated the feat against Rock to boost his hopes of European Championship qualification.
Top seed Dave Chisnall opened his challenge for a third European Tour crown of 2023 with a comfortable 6-2 win against Scott Mitchell, averaging 96 and firing in three 180s to confirm his progress.
Jonny Clayton saw off a crestfallen Jermaine Wattimena in the evening's finale, surviving six match darts in the penultimate leg before landing a 114 outshot in the decider to book a meeting against Van Gerwen.
Elsewhere, Scott Williams punished a profligate display from fourth seed Dirk van Duijvenbode to maintain his winning run in Budapest, defying six maximums from the Dutchman to seal 6-3 success.
Williams will now face Dutch number two Danny Noppert, who registered six 180s in his narrow victory against Swedish debutant Anton Ostlund, producing a 14-dart break in the decider to triumph.
Rowby-John Rodriguez celebrated a first career victory over Ryan Searle to progress to the last 16 of a European Tour event for the first time in 2023, winning his last four legs in 14, 14, 15 and 14 darts.
Damon Heta breezed through with a whitewash win against Host Nation Qualifier Nandor Major, who made history by becoming the first Hungarian player to win on the European Tour on Friday night.
Earlier in the afternoon, Martin Schindler kicked off Saturday's double session with a comprehensive 6-1 rout of Sebastian Bialecki, posting a ton-plus average to breeze through to the last 16.
Sunday's final stages will feature the third round in the afternoon session, followed by the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final in a bumper conclusion to the weekend.
The tournament is being broadcast live on Viaplay, DAZN and PDCTV (excluding Germany, Austria and Switzerland) and through bookmakers' websites worldwide.
2023 Hungarian Darts Trophy
Saturday September 23
Martin Schindler 6-1 Sebastian Bialecki
Danny Noppert 6-5 Anton Ostlund
Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-4 Ryan Searle
Mike De Decker 6-1 Josh Rock
Luke Woodhouse 6-3 Rob Cross
Scott Williams 6-3 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Damon Heta 6-0 Nandor Major
Joe Cullen 6-4 James Wade
Gian van Veen 6-1 Nathan Aspinall
Luke Humphries 6-2 Keane Barry
Peter Wright 6-3 Scott Waites
Gerwyn Price 6-0 Nathan Rafferty
Michael Smith 6-4 Jose de Sousa
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Ross Smith
Dave Chisnall 6-2 Scott Mitchell
Jonny Clayton 6-5 Jermaine Wattimena
Sunday September 24
Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 BST)
Luke Woodhouse v Peter Wright
Luke Humphries v Martin Schindler
Gerwyn Price v Joe Cullen
Damon Heta v Gian van Veen
Mike De Decker v Michael Smith
Scott Williams v Danny Noppert
Jonny Clayton v Michael van Gerwen
Dave Chisnall v Rowby-John Rodriguez
Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 BST)