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RONNIE BAXTER edged out Antonio Alcinas to claim Sunday^s German Players Championship title at the Gerry Weber Centre in Halle.

The Blackpool ace took a 6-4 win over rising Spanish star Alcinas in a high-quality final to take the £6,000 first prize, joining Mervyn King in taking victory in the opening PDC ProTour events of the year.

He was in fine form at the Gerry Weber Centre, dropping a total of eight legs in his first four games in wins over Jasmin Beganovic, Steve Evans and Justin Pipe and Richie Burnett, before defeating Alan Tabern 6-4 to reach the semis.

There, he won five successive legs in taking a 5-1 lead against Mark Walsh before completing a 6-2 victory which set up a final against Alcinas.

The Spaniard matched him blow for blow in a top-drawer final, checking out 100, 160 and 121 in sharing the first six legs with Baxter, who had landed a 100 finish of his own and traded maximums with Alcinas in their first darts of the game.

Alcinas also took out 80 to level in the eighth, despite a fourth maximum score from Baxter of the game, but the next two legs saw the game slip away from him in dramatic fashion as the Englishman took victory.

In the ninth, Alcinas hit scores of 180 and 140 in leaving 84 after nine darts, but missed double 11 to break throw as Baxter posted double top for a 5-4 lead.

The Spanish ace landed another 180, his fourth of the match, in the next, but miscounted when needing 123 to level - checking out 133 to burst his score and allow Baxter in on double ten to take victory.

"It was a great final and I^m happy and relieved to have been the winner," said Baxter. "I couldn^t believe it when Antonio miscounted on the 123 but it was my opportunity and I took it.

"Antonio was brilliant, and as soon as he followed my 180 at the start of the game I knew I was in for a match. I saw him in the World Cup when he knocked out the English team and he was impressive again.

"It^s pleasing for me too because I^ve worked hard over the last three weeks since the World Championship, not just on my darts but also on my fitness after getting the EA Sports Active game for the Wii, and it paid off in a long day today.

"Winning this is a great way to start the year and I want to keep it going now. We^ve got the Players Championship Finals next weekend and I^m on a high going into that."

Alcinas^ run saw him reach his first PDC ProTour final, a year after he joined the PDC circuit full-time.

Having taken out a 106 to defeat Peter Manley in a deciding leg in the first round, Alcinas then edged out Mark Dudbridge, Steve Hine and John Henderson with 6-5 victories and also overcame Adrian Gray in reaching the semis.

He then defeated Denis Ovens 6-3 in the last four, winning four successive legs to come from 3-2 down to take victory and emulate Carlos Rodriguez in being his country^s second Players Championship finalist.

Ovens had knocked out world number one Phil Taylor 6-4 in the quarter-finals, with the Stoke great coming from 3-1 down to lead 4-3 before his Stevenage rival took three successive legs for the win on his way to a £2,000 pay-day.

World number nine Walsh also enjoyed a run to the semis, which included a narrow win over Andy Hamilton and a quarter-final defeat of Nigel Heydon.

Henderson^s debut weekend on the PDC ProTour saw him follow up Saturday^s semi-final with a quarter-final appearance 24 hours later - and he missed three darts to defeat Alcinas in the last eight before the Spaniard prevailed.

The Scot also knocked out William O^Connor, Paul Nicholson and Mark Webster on his way to the last eight, while Webster ended the hopes of Raymond van Barneveld in the last 16.

Players Championship 2 - Halle, Sunday
Preliminary Round
Davyd Venken 6-3 Kai Hanus
Martin Santamaria 6-3 Jan-Guldsten
Kevin Munch 6-1 Daniel Bliss
Jasmin Beganovic 6-1 Frank Liebeton
Michael Peters 6-0 Marcel Radmer
Huseyin Zengin 6-1 Markus Hoffman
Remco van Eijden 6-2 Detlef Barchanowitz
Peter Trapp 6-3 Sebastijan Pecjak
Johann Honner 6-0 Rudiger Lohse
Ingo Vogt 6-5 Gerhard Kremer
Arno Merk & Mario Geissler - both players timed out
Sladan Nedic 6-2 Sabrina Sporle
Gregor Gorjup 6-1 Stefan Nilles
Robert Marijanovic 6-3 Lucio Rave
Michael Rasztovits 6-5 Rocco Maes
Rene Groteloh 6-1 Hans-Christian Paffrath
Vedran Dukic 6-1 Heiko Gallinat
Marko Balzer 6-3 Lars Erkelenz
Roland Kurok 6-5 Rene Hellmich
Kai Nithammer 6-0 Ronnie Volkenant
Zeki Tatli 6-2 Erwin Renkema
Johnny Okken 6-0 Mario Hermann
Christian Kallinger 6-3 Stefanie Luck
Vladimir Andersen 6-5 Patrick Langbecker
Christian Kruger 6-4 Marcel Ruiters
Tonci Restovic 6-0 Karsten Kornath
Dieter Proksch 6-2 Armend Avdija
Christian Braumer 6-2 Markus Riether
Kim Huybrechts 6-0 Dennis Crook

First Round
Davyd Venken 6-2 Simon Whitlock (1)
John Michael 6-1 Carlos Rodriguez
Martin Santamaria 6-4 Steve Maish (32)
Nick Fullwell 6-2 Peter Martin
Andy Smith (16) 6-4 Ian White
Magnus Caris 6-1 Dave Smith
Alan Tabern (17) 6-3 Kevin Munch
Wayne Atwood 6-3 Aodhagan O^Neill
Ronnie Baxter (8) 6-1 Jasmin Beganovic
Steve Evans 6-4 Dylan Duo
Justin Pipe (25) 6-0 Michael Peters
Tomas Seyler 6-4 Gary Welding
Mervyn King (9) 6-1 Huseyin Zengin
Jyhan Artut 6-5 Steve Grubb
Richie Burnett (24) 6-4 Remco van Eijden
Dave Chisnall 6-1 Michael Smith
Mark Walsh (5) 6-2 Peter Trapp
Michael Rosenauer 6-4 Simon Craven
Dennis Smith (28) 6-0 Johann Honner
Michael van Gerwen Bye (Mensur Suljovic timed out)
Andy Hamilton (12) 6-3 Ingo Vogt
Arron Monk 6-5 Roland Scholten
Barrie Bates (21) Bye
Andree Welge 6-4 Darren Johnson
Wes Newton (4) 6-1 Sladan Nedic
Shaun Griffiths 6-5 Joe Cullen
Nigel Heydon (29) 6-2 Gregor Gorjup
Marko Kantele 6-2 Dietmar Burger
Wayne Jones (13) 6-1 Robert Marijanovic
Boris Krcmar 6-4 Devon Petersen
Terry Jenkins (20) 6-0 Michael Rasztovits
Kevin McDine 6-1 Par Riihonen
Colin Lloyd (2) 6-1 Rene Groteloh
Adam Smith-Neale 6-4 Bernd Roith
Steve Hine (31) 6-5 Vedran Dukic
Mareno Michels 6-5 Matt Padgett
Adrian Gray 6-2 Kevin Painter (15)
Chris Thompson 6-5 Scott Rand
Mark Dudbridge (18) 6-0 Marko Balzer
Antonio Alcinas 6-5 Peter Manley
Vincent van der Voort (7) 6-1 Roland Kurok
Jann Hoffmann 6-1 Jon Archer
Paul Nicholson (26) 6-0 Kai Nithammer
John Henderson 6-1 William O^Connor
Mark Webster (10) 6-0 Zeki Tatli
Andy Jenkins 6-4 Prakash Jiwa
Steve Brown (23) 6-4 Johnny Okken
Raymond van Barneveld 6-5 Brian Woods
Jamie Caven (6) 6-2 Christian Kallinger
Nandor Bezzeg 6-2 Stefan Schaffer
Tony Eccles (27) 6-2 Vladimir Andersen
Kirk Shepherd 6-0 Per Laursen
Denis Ovens (11) 6-0 Christian Kruger
Mark Hylton 6-4 Wayne Mardle
Jelle Klaasen (22) 6-4 Tonci Restovic
Shane O^Connor 6-1 Martyn Turner
Phil Taylor (3) 6-0 Dieter Proksch
Peter Wright 6-1 Antonio Justicia
Brendan Dolan (30) 6-0 Christian Braumer
Patrick Bulen 6-4 Karsten Koch
Colin Osborne (14) 6-3 Maik Langendorf
John Part 6-3 Matheus Zioklowski
Steve Beaton (19) 6-1 Kim Huybrechts
Mick Todd 6-4 Dave Ladley

Second Round
John Michael 6-3 Davyd Venken
Nick Fullwell 6-5 Martin Santamaria
Magnus Caris 6-2 Andy Smith
Alan Tabern 6-4 Wayne Atwood
Ronnie Baxter 6-2 Steve Evans
Justin Pipe 6-2 Tomas Seyler
Jyhan Artut 6-2 Mervyn King
Richie Burnett 6-5 Dave Chisnall
Mark Walsh 6-2 Michael Rosenauer
Dennis Smith 6-3 Michael van Gerwen
Andy Hamilton 6-4 Arron Monk
Andree Welge 6-1 Barrie Bates
Shaun Griffiths 6-5 Wes Newton
Nigel Heydon 6-3 Marko Kantele
Boris Krcmar 6-4 Wayne Jones
Terry Jenkins 6-2 Kevin McDine
Adam Smith-Neale 6-2 Colin Lloyd
Steve Hine 6-3 Mareno Michels
Adrian Gray 6-3 Chris Thompson
Antonio Alcinas 6-5 Mark Dudbridge
Vincent van der Voort 6-1 Jann Hoffmann
John Henderson 6-5 Paul Nicholson
Mark Webster 6-5 Andy Jenkins
Raymond van Barneveld 6-3 Steve Brown
Jamie Caven 6-1 Nandor Bezzeg
Tony Eccles 6-4 Kirk Shepherd
Denis Ovens 6-3 Mark Hylton
Jelle Klaasen 6-5 Shane O^Connor
Phil Taylor 6-4 Peter Wright
Brendan Dolan 6-1 Patrick Bulen
John Part 6-4 Colin Osborne
Steve Beaton 6-1 Mick Todd
Losers £200

Third Round
John Michael 6-4 Nick Fullwell
Alan Tabern 6-5 Magnus Caris
Ronnie Baxter 6-2 Justin Pipe
Richie Burnett 6-2 Jyhan Artut
Mark Walsh 6-1 Dennis Smith
Andy Hamilton 6-2 Andree Welge
Nigel Heydon 6-3 Shaun Griffiths
Terry Jenkins 6-1 Boris Krcmar
Steve Hine 6-4 Adam Smith-Neale
Antonio Alcinas 6-2 Adrian Gray
John Henderson 6-5 Vincent van der Voort
Mark Webster 6-4 Raymond van Barneveld
Tony Eccles 6-5 Jamie Caven
Denis Ovens 6-2 Jelle Klaasen
Phil Taylor 6-2 Brendan Dolan
Steve Beaton 6-1 John Part
Losers £400

Fourth Round
Alan Tabern 6-5 John Michael
Ronnie Baxter 6-3 Richie Burnett
Mark Walsh 6-5 Andy Hamilton
Nigel Heydon 6-5 Terry Jenkins
Antonio Alcinas 6-5 Steve Hine
John Henderson 6-2 Mark Webster
Denis Ovens 6-2 Tony Eccles
Phil Taylor 6-3 Steve Beaton
Losers £600

Ronnie Baxter 6-4 Alan Tabern
Mark Walsh 6-3 Nigel Heydon
Antonio Alcinas 6-5 John Henderson
Denis Ovens 6-4 Phil Taylor
Losers £1,000

Ronnie Baxter 6-2 Mark Walsh
Antonio Alcinas 6-3 Denis Ovens
Losers £2,000

Ronnie Baxter 6-4 Antonio Alcinas
Winner £6,000
Runner-Up £3,000

Match Information
Antonio Alcinas 6-3 Denis Ovens
0-1 - Ovens finishes 80 on double top to take the opening leg
1-1 - Alcinas takes out 76 for the second leg
1-2 - Ovens takes out 100 to hold throw again
2-2 - A 74 checkout sees Alcinas level once more
2-3 - Ovens edges the fifth leg on double two with his eighth dart to take the leg, after Alcinas missed tops for a 114 finish to break
3-3 - Ovens sees three darts at double 16 land just outside the wire, before Alcinas lands double ten with his third dart to hold throw
4-3 - Alcinas breaks throw to lead for the first time in the game courtesy of double 16
5-3 - Alcinas checks out 44 on double four for a second successive 15-darter as he moves to the brink of his maiden PDC ProTour final
6-3 - Ovens misses four darts at double 16 to stay in the game, and Alcinas checks out double two to reach the decider.

Ronnie Baxter 6-2 Mark Walsh
0-1 - Walsh opens with a 180 and takes out 121 for a 12-dart finish
1-1 - Baxter clinically takes out 74 in two darts to level
2-1 - Baxter hits a 180 in breaking throw for the lead
3-1 - Double four puts Baxter two legs clear after Walsh misses two darts at double 11 to break back
4-1 - Another double four finish gives Baxter his fourth successive leg, after he had wired the bull for a 161 finish
5-1 - Baxter lands double ten to move to the brink of victory
5-2 - Walsh hits double top to win his second leg and stay in the contest
6-2 - Baxter secures victory on double ten

Ronnie Baxter 6-4 Antonio Alcinas
1-0 - both players open the final with 180s, and Baxter lands double four to hold throw in 14 darts
1-1 - Alcinas replies with a 14-darter of his own, taking out 100 in two darts
2-1 - Double four gives Baxter the third leg
2-1 - Alcinas^ brilliant finishing continues with a 160 checkout as he levels
3-2 - Baxter edges the fifth with a 100 checkout
3-3 - Alcinas takes out another ton-plus finish, this time landing a 121 checkout for his third leg
4-3 - Baxter hits a 177 in leaving 33 after nine darts, but misses six darts to take the leg before double one denies Alcinas the chance to break
4-4 - Alcinas defies a 180 from Baxter to square the game again, this time finishing 80 on double ten
5-4 - Baxter lands double top to win a potentially crucial leg, with Alcinas hitting a 180 but missing double 11 for an 84 finish to break and take the lead
6-4 - Baxter dramatically takes the win, hitting double top for victory after Alcinas miscounts when needing a 123 finish, checking out 133 in error

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