European Darts Matchplay: Michael van Gerwen's nine-dart finish in Hamburg

Michael van Gerwen (Pic: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
Michael van Gerwen (Pic: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Michael van Gerwen landed the PDC European Tour's first nine-dart finish for five years with a stunning perfect leg against Ryan Joyce in Hamburg on Saturday night.

Van Gerwen began his bid to win a sixth European Tour event of 2018 with a 6-2 win over qualifier Ryan Joyce, which will go down in history for the Dutchman's moment of perfection.

The world number one led 2-1 before opening leg four with scores of 180 and 177, and then took out 144 with two treble 20s and double 12 to secure a nine-dart finish.

Van Gerwen later took out 121 as he went on to seal a 6-2 win and a place in Sunday's final stages.

The last nine-darter on the European Tour had been achieved five years and a day earlier by Ross Smith in the Gibraltar Darts Trophy, with a host of players - including Van Gerwen - going close to perfection in the intervening years.

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Last weekend's Danish Darts Open winner, Mensur Suljovic, began his bid to claim back-to-back titles with a 6-3 defeat of Russia's Boris Koltsov.

There was second round disappointment, though, for the other two European Tour winners so far in 2018, Jonny Clayton and Max Hopp, as they exited at the hands of Jason Lowe and Ian White respectively.

Former Austrian Darts Open winner Justin Pipe overcame last week's Danish Darts Open finalist Simon Whitlock 6-3, and another previous European Tour winner, Robert Thornton, edged out James Wilson.

Premier League ace Gerwyn Price saw off host nation qualifier Maik Langendorf 6-3, while Joe Cullen won by the same scoreline against German World Cup ace Martin Schindler and Darren Webster overcame Luke Humphries in the same manner.

Paul Rowley reached the third round on the European Tour for the first time with a 6-4 defeat of Mervyn King, while Andy Boulton matched that margin of victory against Steve Beaton.

Kim Huybrechts' 6-4 win over Chris Dobey means that Alan Norris - who did not qualify to compete in Hamburg - is knocked out of the qualification places for July's BetVictor World Matchplay.

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