German Darts Open: Max Hopp wins on Friday night

Max Hopp (Pic: Steve Welsh/PDC)
Max Hopp (Pic: Steve Welsh/PDC)

Home favourite Max Hopp delighted the crowd at the German Darts Open in Saarbrucken as he secured a convincing 6-1 win over Austria's Zoran Lerchbacher.

The German has enjoyed a solid start to his 2018 and was one of the top performers as the opening round of the third European Tour event of the year came to a close.

A delightful 161 checkout in the fourth leg was the highlight of an impressive performance in which the former World Youth Champion averaged almost 100.

Luke Humphries put in the performance of the day as he beat Ronny Huybrechts 6-3 to move in to the second round, where he will face seventh seed Joe Cullen.

The Englishman averaged over 104 and took out a 145 finish in the seventh leg, with Huybrechts sat on 80 to break.

"A lot of credit goes to Ronny there because he’s been struggling a little but that was a great game.

"The 145 killed him, it was a massive shot. I’m happy to be on the winning side of such a great match," said Woodhouse.

Alan Tabern began the evening session with a 6-4 win over German hopeful Dragutin Horvat.

Tabern averaged 98.69 and hit three 180s on his way to setting up a second round encounter with Steve Beaton.

Steve Lennon put in one of the performances of the opening day as he whitewashed Robert Thornton 6-0.

The Irishman averaged 92 to punish an uninspired Thornton, with a 167 finish sealing the deal for the 24-year-old, who will face Michael Smith in the second round.

A second whitewash followed in the final game of the evening as Jermaine Wattimena thrashed Keegan Brown 6-0.

The Dutchman landed two 180s and 42 per cent of his double attempts as he waltzed past a lacklustre Brown, who will want to quickly forget his poor showing.

Paul Nicholson, playing in his first European Tour event of 2018, enjoyed a successful return to action as he beat Nathan Aspinall 6-2.

With not much to separate them on the averages, it was the former Players Champion’s doubling that proved the difference as he landed 6 out of his 14 attempts.

James Wade, looking to build on his strong start to 2018, is safely through to the second round as he brushed past Tytus Kanik.

The former Premier League champion proved clinical on the doubles as he landed half of his attempts, including a 101, to progress in a 6-2 win.

James Wade (Picture by Tim Murdoch/PDC)
James Wade (Picture by Tim Murdoch/PDC)

Belgium’s Dimitri Van Den Bergh also booked his place in Round Two as he beat William O’Connor 6-3.

The reigning World Youth Champion looked in superb form as he landed 54.55% of his doubles, including a 140 checkout in a routine win over the Irishman.

Earlier in the day, Kirk Shepherd kicked off then competition with a comprehensive 6-1 win over Simon Stevenson and will now face Gerwyn Price in round two.

The former World Championship finalist averaged 94 and hit 55% of his attempts at doubles on his way to the victory.

"Doubles have been going well. I felt really nervous during that for some reason but I got there in the end,” said Shepherd after the match.

Steve West averaged almost 100 as he comfortably beat Matthew Edgar 6-2 in Saarbrucken.

The Englishman hit four maximums during a strong performance and will take on Darren Webster in round two.

Cameron Menzies recovered form 4-1 down in the afternoon session to defeat Terry Jenkins 6-4.

The Scot will now face ninth seed Ian White in the next round.

Dutchman Maik Kuivenhoven picked up a win in his first ever European Tour match, beating fellow debutant Tobias Mueller 6-1.

Kuivenhoven will now face compatriot Jelle Klaasen in the second round.

Sweden's Daniel Larsson was a 6-2 winner over Jan Dekker, hitting six doubles from 11 attempts - and now receives a second round bye after Simon Whitlock's withdrawal from the event through illness.

"I was a bit nervous but I’m happy. I think I was at a steady level so I’m happy, I’m feeling good but it’s good that I won this game,” said Larsson after his victory.

Rene Eidams then gave the German crowd something to cheer for as he beat Ricky Williams 6-4 to set up a second round tie with World Grand Prix Champion Daryl Gurney.

Jose Justicia rounded off the first session of action with a 6-4 win over Luke Woodhouse.

A scrappy game saw Woodhouse miss darts at doubles in every single leg of the contest before the Spaniard eventually came through to set up a match with Dave Chisnall in the second round.

Afternoon Session
First Round (best of 11 legs)

  • Simon Stevenson 1-6 Kirk Shepherd
  • Matthew Edgar 2-6 Steve West
  • Terry Jenkins 4-6 Cameron Menzies
  • Maik Kuivenhoven 6-1 Tobias Muller
  • Jan Dekker 2-6 Daniel Larsson
  • Rene Eidams 6-4 Ricky Williams
  • Richard North 4-6 Danny Noppert
  • Jose Justicia 6-4 Luke Woodhouse

Evening Session
First Round (best of 11 legs)

  • Dragutin Horvat 4-6 Alan Tabern
  • Luke Humphries 6-3 Ronny Huybrechts
  • Steve Lennon 6-0 Robert Thornton
  • Zoran Lerchbacher 1-6 Max Hopp
  • Dimitri van den Bergh 6-3 William O'Connor
  • Paul Nicholson 6-2 Nathan Aspinall
  • James Wade 6-2 Tytus Kanik
  • Keegan Brown 0-6 Jermaine Wattimena

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