MAIDEN EUROPEAN TOUR WIN FOR WRIGHT AT EUROPEAN DARTS OPEN
The World Championship finalist won his second title of 2014, following his triumph in a Players Championship event in Crawley two months ago, taking away £20,000 for his effort over the weekend in Germany as he moves up to fifth in the PDC Order of Merit.
Wright had defeated highly-rated Michael Smith in his opening game of the weekend before overcoming Justin Pipe to reach Sunday^s final session, where he saw off Andy Hamilton in the quarter-finals by a 6-2 margin.
The Scottish World Cup ace then showed great character in his semi-final clash against Kevin Painter as he came from 5-4 down to win the last two legs, hitting a 121 checkout to draw level followed by an 11-darter in the deciding leg.
Wright continued that form at the start of the final against Whitlock as he won the opening two legs in confident style to open up an early advantage.
Whitlock hit back well by taking the next two legs to draw level at two-all before Wright put together legs of 14 and 13 darts to move 4-2 up.
Wright hit a 117 checkout to win the seventh leg and move to the brink of the title, and he crossed the winning line in supreme style with a 14-dart finish to end Whitlock^s hopes of glory.
Whitlock, who enjoyed a fine weekend in front of his vocal German supporters, defeated Premier League champion Raymond van Barneveld in his opening game on Friday evening before overcoming Brendan Dolan to reach the last eight.
He saw off Dave Chisnall in the quarter-finals by a 6-3 scoreline before edging out Gary Anderson in a deciding leg to reach the final, where he found Wright too strong.
Kevin Painter enjoyed his best performance so far this year with an excellent run to the semi-finals, dropping just six legs in his wins over Keegan Brown, Steve Beaton, Kim Huybrechts and Jamie Caven before suffering a heartbreaking 6-5 loss to Wright.
Gary Anderson^s run to the last four included wins over Gerwyn Price, Wes Newton and a narrow quarter-final triumph over James Wade on Sunday before narrowly losing to Whitlock after missing a dart at double 16 to win the match.
Gibraltar Darts Trophy champion James Wade and Austrian Darts Open finalist Jamie Caven continued their good runs of form by reaching the quarter-finals ahead of the BetVictor World Matchplay in Blackpool, which begins next weekend.
St Helens star Dave Chisnall reached the final session on Sunday before losing out to Whitlock, while Andy Hamilton reached the same stage, breaking a run of four successive first round losses in European Tour events.
The European Tour makes way for next week^s BetVictor World Matchplay and a trio of World Series events in August, held in Singapore, Perth and Sydney, before returning from September 5-7, when the seventh event of the year will be held in Sindelfingen, Germany.
The year^s final European Tour event will then be held in Leipzig from September 19-21. For tickets for both events, visit www.pdc-europe.tv.
European Darts Open
European Tour Event Six
Maritim Hotel, Dusseldorf
Friday July 11
Martin Schindler 3-6 Raymond van Barneveld
Jay Foreman 4-6 Mark Dudbridge
Michael Hurtz 2-6 Stephen Bunting
Dean Winstanley 2-6 Michael Smith
Ronnie Baxter 5-6 Darren Webster
Kevin Painter 6-0 Keegan Brown
Christian Kist 5-6 James Wade
Johnny Haines 1-6 Andy Smith
Ronny Huybrechts 0-6 Benito van de Pas
Ryan de Vreede 6-4 Gary Stone
Jamie Lewis 6-1 Chris Aubrey
Michael Rosenauer 6-5 Mensur Suljovic
Darren Johnson 6-2 Jelle Klaasen
Dennis Smith 6-4 William O^Connor
Gerwyn Price 6-2 Colin Lloyd
Arman Ertur 5-6 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Second Round - Seeds 9-16
Jamie Caven (16) 6-4 Stephen Bunting
Justin Pipe (12) 6-2 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Wes Newton (15) 6-5 Dennis Smith
Mervyn King (11) 6-3 Darren Johnson
Steve Beaton (9) 2-6 Kevin Painter
Adrian Lewis (10) 6-5 Benito van de Pas
Simon Whitlock (14) 6-4 Raymond van Barneveld
Andy Hamilton (13) 6-2 Darren Webster
Saturday July 12
Second Round - Seeds 1-8
Brendan Dolan (3) 6-5 Jamie Lewis
Dave Chisnall (6) 6-2 Michael Rosenauer
Ian White (7) 3-6 James Wade
Kim Huybrechts (8) 6-1 Ryan De Vreede
Peter Wright (5) 6-1 Michael Smith
Gary Anderson (2) 6-3 Gerwyn Price
Robert Thornton (4) 4-6 Andy Smith
Michael van Gerwen (1) 6-2 Mark Dudbridge
Simon Whitlock 6-2 Brendan Dolan
Dave Chisnall 6-5 Mervyn King
James Wade 6-4 Adrian Lewis
Gary Anderson 6-3 Wes Newton
Andy Hamilton 6-5 Andy Smith
Peter Wright 6-2 Justin Pipe
Kevin Painter 6-2 Kim Huybrechts
Jamie Caven 6-4 Michael van Gerwen
Sunday July 13
Simon Whitlock 6-3 Dave Chisnall
Gary Anderson 6-5 James Wade
Peter Wright 6-2 Andy Hamilton
Kevin Painter 6-2 Jamie Caven
Simon Whitlock 6-5 Gary Anderson
Peter Wright 6-5 Kevin Painter
Peter Wright 6-2 Simon Whitlock
RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD was a 6-3 winner over Germany^s Martin Schindler as the European Darts Open kicked off on Friday afternoon, with Mark Dudbridge, Stephen Bunting, Michael Smith, Kevin Painter and James Wade amongst the winners in Dusseldorf.
The £100,000 European Tour event^s first round saw play split across two stages at the Maritim Hotel as the tournament^s 32 qualifiers competed for spots alongside the seeded stars in round two.
Five-time World Champion van Barneveld - the 2012 winner in Dusseldorf - enjoyed a 6-3 win over German qualifier Schindler as he progressed to a tasty tie with Simon Whitlock.
James Wade, the Gibraltar Darts Trophy champion a fortnight ago, battled past Christian Kist in an 11-leg battle which went with throw throughout, as the Dutchman hit an 11-dart finish to force a decider, only for the left-hander to post a maximum before finishing 80 for the win.
Kevin Painter averaged 100.20 in a fine whitewash of PDC Unicorn World Youth Champion Keegan Brown as he moved through to meet Steve Beaton, the Gibraltar Darts Trophy runner-up.
Former World Youth Champion Michael Smith saw off Dean Winstanley 6-2 and now takes on Peter Wright in the last 32, while Stephen Bunting^s reward for winning against Germany^s Michael Hurtz by the same scoreline is a second round tie with Jamie Caven.
Darren Webster now faces Andy Hamilton after he edged out Ronnie Baxter in a deciding leg, while Andy Smith swept past Johnny Haines 6-1 to set up a clash with Robert Thornton.
Former World Championship finalist and World Masters winner Mark Dudbridge hit a ten-darter and averaged 101 in a fine 6-4 win over Jay Foreman, as he moves through to play reigning champion Michael van Gerwen in round two.
Germany^s Michael Rosenauer ensured that home hopes were kept alive going into the second round with a 6-5 win over Austrian qualifier Mensur Suljovic, who had come from 5-3 down to force a decider.
Another Host Nation Qualifier, debutant Arman Ertur, was defeated in a deciding leg as World Youth Championship finalist Rowby-John Rodriguez came from 4-1 down to edge through to a clash with Justin Pipe.
Benito van de Past - who knocked out van Gerwen in the Gibraltar Darts Trophy - again impressed as he whitewashed Belgian ace Ronny Huybrechts in under 13 minutes to move through to face reigning Coral UK Open champion Adrian Lewis.
Another Dutch youngster, Ryan De Vreede, moved through to play Ronny Huybrechts after enjoying a 6-4 win over Scotland^s Gary Stone, while Jamie Lewis^ 6-1 defeat of Chris Aubrey means that he now faces Brendan Dolan.
Darren Johnson will take on Mervyn King in the second round after defeating Jelle Klaasen 6-2, while Dennis Smith^s 6-4 win over William O^Connor means that he now takes on Wes Newton.
Welshman Gerwyn Price enjoyed a winning debut on the European Tour as he defeated Colin Lloyd 6-2, meaning that he now meets January^s German Darts Championship winner Gary Anderson in round two.
WORLD CHAMPION Michael van Gerwen reached the last 16 of the European Darts Open with a 6-2 victory over Mark Dudbridge, while James Wade and Peter Wright triumphed with brilliant ton-plus averages on Saturday afternoon in Dusseldorf.
Van Gerwen produced a fine first performance in Dusseldorf with a 102.31 average in a superb display against Dudbridge, who has produced some excellent form over the last 12 months and defeated Jay Foreman in style in round one.
The crucial moment of his second round game came in the sixth leg, when the Bristol ace missed three chances to level at three legs apiece and van Gerwen made his opponent pay by taking out an 81 finish on the bullseye for a 4-2 lead.
The world number one then powered to victory, hitting a 150 checkout in the seventh leg followed by a 14-darter to book a third round tie against Jamie Caven, who defeated Stephen Bunting on Friday evening.
James Wade knocked out seventh seed Ian White with a 6-3 triumph with the aid of a 100.13 average, as he began his bid for a second European Tour title in a row following his success in Gibraltar a fortnight ago.
The seven-time major winner will now face fellow Englishman Adrian Lewis in a mouth-watering third round encounter to be played on Saturday evening, with the Stoke ace having overcome Benito van de Pas in a deciding leg on Friday night.
2013 Dutch Darts Masters winner Kim Huybrechts set up another eye-catching last 16 tie against Kevin Painter - who dropped just two legs in his impressive wins over Keegan Brown and Steve Beaton on Friday.
Belgian ace Huybrechts needed just 12 minutes to see off Dutch youngster Ryan De Vreede in a comprehensive display which featured a clinical 123 checkout.
Northern Ireland^s Brendan Dolan overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat Jamie Lewis in a deciding leg and set up a last 16 clash against the in-form Aussie Simon Whitlock which will open up Saturday evening^s proceedings, with the world number four having ended Raymond van Barneveld^s hopes in round two.
Peter Wright produced a brilliant display in defeating Michael Smith 6-1 with a stunning 111.29 average at the Maritim Hotel on Saturday afternoon.
The feature of Wright^s performance was back-to-back 11-dart finishes in moving 4-1 up before claiming the next two legs in 12 and 14 darts to reach the third round and a clash with Justin Pipe, who overcame Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-2.
Gary Anderson overcame the challenge of Wales^ Gerwyn Price with a 6-3 win after overturning a 2-0 deficit by taking six of the next seven legs and will now face Wes Newton for a place in the last eight in Dusseldorf.
Newton had been pushed all the way to an 11th leg by Dennis Smith on Friday night, before he progressed to keep alive his hopes of a second European Tour title.
Anderson^s fellow Scot Robert Thornton was on the wrong side of a 6-4 scoreline after falling at the hands of Andy Smith, who won three straight legs from 4-3 down to knock out the former UK Open Champion.
Dave Chisnall ended German representation in the European Darts Open with a comfortable 6-2 win over Michael Rosenauer. The St Helens star hit checkouts of 120 and 150 during the contest and will now play Mervyn King, who was a 6-3 winner against Darren Johnson.
WORLD CHAMPION Michael van Gerwen and Adrian Lewis were knocked out of the European Darts Open following brilliant displays from Jamie Caven and James Wade in the third round in Dusseldorf on Saturday night.
The last 16 stars returned to the stage at the Maritim Hotel in a bid to win places in Sunday afternoon^s decisive final session, which features the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.
Last year^s Dusseldorf champion van Gerwen suffered a 6-4 defeat to Jamie Caven, the Austrian Darts Open finalist last month who defied a 105 average from the world number one to continue his run of form and progress to the quarter-finals.
Caven will now meet Kevin Painter in the last eight on Sunday afternoon, after the former Players Championship Finals winner made the most of a lacklustre display from Kim Huybrechts to progress with a 6-2 win.
James Wade, who won the Gibraltar Darts Trophy a fortnight ago, recorded a stunning victory over UK Open champion Adrian Lewis, coming from 3-1 down to win 6-4, with an average of 103.46, and ending on a brilliant 141 checkout.
The Gibraltar Darts Trophy champion will now face Gary Anderson, who also hit a 103 average in his 6-3 win over Wes Newton to remain on course for a second European Tour win of 2014.
Australia^s number one Simon Whitlock became the first man through to the last eight with victory over Northern Ireland^s Brendan Dolan. To the delight of strong support amongst the German crowd, Whitlock powered his way to a 6-2 win, hitting three maximums in the process.
Whitlock will play Dave Chisnall on Sunday for a place in the semi-finals, after the sixth seed won four consecutive legs to overcome Mervyn King 6-5.
King paid the price for failing to give himself a dart for the match at 5-2 up, when he sensationally burst his score by hitting treble 20 when he only required 52, allowing Chisnall to capitalise and charge to victory.
World number eight Andy Hamilton edged out Andy Smith in a deciding leg, although the three-time major finalist survived a match dart at double top in the penultimate leg before hitting a magical 140 checkout to take the game to an 11th leg, where he prevailed with a 14-darter.
World Championship runner-up Peter Wright will provide the oppposition for Hamilton in the quarter-finals, after he picked up a 6-2 win over Justin Pipe, which included a 161 checkout on the bullseye.
Simon Whitlock reached the last four of a European Tour event for the second time in a fortnight thanks to a 6-3 victory over Dave Chisnall in the quarter-finals of the European Darts Open in Dusseldorf.
The opening six legs of the contest proved to be a tight affair with the Australian leading on two occasions only for the St Helens man to draw level and leave the game finely balanced at three-all.
Whitlock edged ahead for a third time to lead 4-3 and then broke throw in the eighth leg on double eight, after Chisnall missed three darts at doubles, and thenwon the next to end the hopes of the 2013 World Grand Prix finalist.
Gary Anderson remained on course for a sixth title in 2014 following an exciting deciding-leg win over recent Gibraltar Darts Trophy champion James Wade on Sunday afternoon.
The Scot fell 2-1 down to Wade, who won the third leg with a 120 checkout only for Anderson to win the next two legs to claim a 3-2 lead.
The next two legs were shared before Anderson broke throw for a 5-3 lead - only for Wade to hit back in ninth with a brilliant 121 checkout.
Anderson missed three chances at double 18 to win the match in the tenth, allowing Wade to force a deciding leg but the Scot hit double 18 this time around to end the contest.
Peter Wright ended Andy Hamilton^s hopes in Dusseldorf with a comfortable 6-2 win to reach the semi-finals of the European Darts Open.
Wright started confidently with a 13-darter and won the next two legs with the aid of five missed darts at doubles over two legs from his opponent.
Wright moved 4-0 up before Hamilton won the next two legs to stay in the hunt, only for Wright to hit finishes of 113 and 80 to end proceedings.
Kevin Painter reached the semi-finals of a ranking event for the first time this year after a 6-2 quarter-final win over Austrian Darts Open finalist Jamie Caven .
Painter raced into a 3-0 lead before Caven registered his first leg, but the former Players Championship Finals winner took the fifth leg on double top to restore his advantage at 4-1.
Caven won the sixth leg to reduce the gap to 4-2 before Painter hit double eight to win the next, a checkout which was followed by a fantastic 139 finish to win the match in style.
Simon Whitlock claimed his place in the final of the European Darts Open following a thrilling 6-5 semi-final victory over Gary Anderson in Dusseldorf.
The Australian enjoyed the better start to lead 3-1, only for Anderson to hit back and win the next two legs to level the game.
Whitlock hit a fabulous 132 checkout, courtesy of two bullseyes and double 16, to move 4-3 ahead before Anderson won the eighth leg on double ten to square a tight contest.
The next two legs were shared as Anderson forced a decider, where he missed a dart at double 16 to win the match to allow Whitlock in to land the bullseye for an 84 finish to edge through.
Peter Wright won the last two legs of another thrilling 11-leg semi-final in Dusseldorf as he overcame Kevin Painter - who averaged over 101 - to seal a spot in the final against Simon Whitlock.
Wright started well by taking the first two legs only to lose the next three and fall 3-2 down, before drawing level by taking the sixth leg with a 14-dart finish.
Painter hit an 11-darter to win the seventh leg before Wright drew level again with a 13-dart leg, only for his rival to win the ninth leg and move a leg away from victory.
Wright held his nerve brilliantly to hit a 121 checkout to force a deciding leg, before producing his best darts of the match with a fabulous 11-darter to end Painter^s fine run.
Final - Leg-by-Leg
Simon Whitlock v Peter Wright
0-1 - Wright is quickly into his stride as he hits scores of 140, 180 and 165 with his first three visits to the board, and he goes on to hit double two to hold throw.
0-2 - With the Australian struggling to find big scores, Wright capitalises to break throw on double 18, which included a 180 from the colourful Scot.
1-2 - Whitlock finds the double six bed with a pressure third dart to get his first leg on the board.
2-2 - The Australian hits a 180 and takes out a 51 finish on double 16 to level the contest.
2-3 - Whitlock hits a second 180 in as many legs before both players miss the bullseye for big finishes, and Wright returns to take the leg on double eight to complete a 14-darter as he regains the lead.
2-4 - Whitlock just misses double 16 for a 108 finish and Wright hits double top for a 13-darter to break throw.
2-5 - Wright lands a 117 checkout on double top after Whitlock was off-target on the same double for a 112 finish.
2-6 - Wright hits double 16 for a 14-dart finish to win his first European Tour title and claim the £20,000 first prize.