Van Veen Shines as Matchplay Jockying Continues

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Gian van Veen produced an astonishing display to continue his rise in Trier on day two of the Interwetten European Darts Matchplay.

Van Veen reaffirmed his credentials with the performance of the second round, producing an astronomical 114.15 average to whitewash fourth seed Damon Heta, converting all six of his attempts at double.

“I’m over the moon. I felt incredible up here,” admitted Van Veen – who landed 124 and 131 checkouts to record the ninth-highest average in European Tour history.

“I don’t know what to say. Damon is a fantastic player and 6-0 is a flattering scoreline I think. He played well, but I took my chances. It’s amazing.

“Hopefully I can top this performance, but probably not in the near future! I’m really happy to be through to Sunday and I’m looking forward to tomorrow now.”

Saturday’s second round action at Arena Trier saw 16 matches take place across two sessions, as players continued their pursuit of World Matchplay qualification.

Heading into Sunday’s final stages, only one ProTour Order of Merit qualification place remains unsettled, with Steve Beaton and Brendan Dolan now assured of their spots in the 32-player event.

Kim Huybrechts currently occupies the 16th and final ProTour Order of Merit spot, but the Belgian will make his Blackpool return unless Van Veen or Ryan Joyce lift the title.

Josh Rock also advanced in emphatic style, averaging over 107 to dispatch his compatriot Dolan in six straight legs to set up a mouth-watering last 16 showdown against Michael Smith.

World number one Smith made a winning start with his new set-up, coming through a high-quality encounter against Keane Barry, which saw both players average in three figures.

Second seed Dirk van Duijvenbode also averaged in excess of 100, hitting 50% of his attempts at double to wrap up a 6-2 rout of UK Open champion Andrew Gilding.

Elsewhere, James Wade produced a vintage performance to overcome Jonny Clayton in a superb contest, averaging 107 to Clayton’s 106 to celebrate a 6-3 victory.

; Interwetten European Darts Matchplay 2023

Ten-time TV title winner Wade made it back-to-back ton-plus averages in Trier, crashing in four 180s and hitting six of his eight darts at double to move through to a tie against fifth seed Rob Cross.

Cross fired in three ton-plus checkouts to win a hard-fought tussle against Mickey Mansell, while top seed Luke Humphries began his title defence with a crushing 6-1 win over Marko Kantele, hitting 111 and 118 finishes en route.

Humphries’ reward is a last 16 meeting against Stephen Bunting, who held his nerve to edge out European Champion Ross Smith 6-5, despite trailing from the outset.

Meanwhile, Nathan Aspinall recovered from 4-1 down to deny Martin Lukeman in an eleven-leg epic, surviving a match dart to triumph with a 103 average and five maximums.

Aspinall will renew his European Tour rivalry with Danny Noppert on Sunday afternoon, after the former UK Open champion also survived a scare in his deciding-leg win over James Wilson.

Martin Schindler was the solitary German to taste victory in Saturday’s second round, extending his remarkable winning run against Callan Rydz to 11 games as he booked a third round clash against Van Veen.

Earlier in the night, Searle conjured up a magnificent 11-dart leg to deny Gabriel Clemens in a last-leg shoot-out, while Dimitri Van den Bergh averaged over 99 to end Ricardo Pietreczko’s dreams of a World Matchplay debut.

Earlier in the night, Searle conjured up a magnificent 11-dart leg to deny Gabriel Clemens in a last-leg shoot-out, while Dimitri Van den Bergh averaged over 99 to end Ricardo Pietreczko’s dreams of a World Matchplay debut.

Joyce’s hopes of a Winter Gardens return are still alive however, after he wrapped up an impressive 6-3 success against third seed Dave Chisnall with an eye-catching 123 finish on the bull.

Joyce will now take on Joe Cullen in Sunday’s second last 16 fixture, with former Masters champion Cullen powering in a 142 checkout to defeat Czech qualifier Vitezslav Sedlak by the same scoreline.

The third round will take place on Sunday afternoon, before the tournament concludes with the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final in a bumper evening session.

The tournament is being broadcast live on Viaplay, DAZN and PDCTV (excluding Germany, Austria and Switzerland) and through bookmakers’ websites worldwide.

2023 Interwetten European Darts Matchplay

Saturday July 1
Second Round
Afternoon Session
Ryan Joyce 6-3 Dave Chisnall
Josh Rock 6-0 Brendan Dolan
Rob Cross 6-4 Mickey Mansell
Gian van Veen 6-0 Damon Heta
Nathan Aspinall 6-5 Martin Lukeman
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-2 Andrew Gilding
Joe Cullen 6-3 Vitezslav Sedlak
Stephen Bunting 6-5 Ross Smith

Evening Session
James Wade 6-3 Jonny Clayton
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-3 Ricardo Pietreczko
Ryan Searle 6-5 Gabriel Clemens
Raymond van Barneveld 6-3 Michael van Gerwen
Michael Smith 6-2 Keane Barry
Luke Humphries 6-1 Marko Kantele
Martin Schindler 6-3 Callan Rydz
Danny Noppert 6-5 James Wilson

Sunday July 2
Third Round
Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 BST)
Raymond van Barneveld v Ryan Searle
Ryan Joyce v Joe Cullen
Michael Smith v Josh Rock
Dirk van Duijvenbode v Dimitri Van den Bergh
Rob Cross v James Wade
Gian van Veen v Martin Schindler
Nathan Aspinall v Danny Noppert
Luke Humphries v Stephen Bunting

Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 BST)

Sunday’s matches played in draw bracket order


Images: Jonas Hunold / PDC Europe

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