KYLE ANDERSON produced a performance of the highest calibre as he defeated Justin Pipe 6-4 in a first round thriller at the Dutch Darts Masters as the European Tour event at the MECC in Maastricht opened on Friday.
Australian star Anderson won his first two PDC titles during August, including the Auckland Darts Masters, and maintained his confident form by averaging 108.96 in a high-quality tie with Pipe.
Pipe played his part, hitting back from 2-0 down to win four successive legs in 13, 14, 11 and 15 darts with the aid of two 180s and a key 96 finish.
Anderson, though, responded with a 12-darter in leg seven, levelled with a 14-darter, took out 87 for an 11-darter to move 5-4 up and then posted two 180s in a 12-dart leg which sealed an impressive win.
He now meets former European Tour winner Mervyn King in round two and could face World Champion Michael van Gerwen in the last 16 if he is to go on and win another title.
"It's all coming together," said Anderson. "I've been known for missing doubles; I leave doubles that I like to hit now, and I hit them.
"I hit some doubles in the first two legs and I was 2-0 up, and then Justin played brilliant and took four on the trot, but I got my opportunity and I took it.
"I'm playing well enough to do it. I'm not the one to come out and say I'm going to win, I take every game as it is. I know I'm in Michael's draw so I've got to just keep going, do what I do and hit the doubles."
Van Gerwen will face youngster Jeffrey de Zwaan in an all-Dutch second round tie in Maastricht after the Host Nation Qualifier enjoyed a 6-4 win over Greece's John Michael.
De Zwaan trailed 2-0, 3-1 and 4-3, but took out a brace of 107 checkouts in a run of three successive legs to progress to the last 32.
Jimmy Hendriks survived eight missed match darts from Rene Berndt as he came from 5-2 down to defeat the German qualifier in a deciding leg and set up a tie with Joe Cullen.
Berndt landed five 180s in a superb display to move to the brink of victory, only to miss four match darts in leg eight, three in leg nine and one in the tenth, before Hendriks fired in a maximum of his own in a 14-darter to snatch the win.
Former Dutch Darts Masters winner Kim Huybrechts will face former Lakeside Champion Christian Kist in round two, following the Host Nation Qualifier's 6-5 victory over teenager Justin van Tergouw.
European Tour debutant Van Tergouw, 17, led 3-1 and 5-4 but never had a dart to win the match as Kist took out 66 to force a decider and 60 to edge the win.
Another former winner of the event, 2012 champion Simon Whitlock, will face Kirk Shepherd in round two, after the 2008 World Championship finalist overcame German youngster Max Hopp 6-4 with some superb finishing.
Veteran star Steve Beaton overcame 16-year-old German qualifier Nico Blum 6-4 as he moved through to the second round, where he meets another former European Tour event winner in number three seed Mensur Suljovic.
Scottish qualifier Jim Walker's narrow 6-5 win over Darren Webster sees him progress to face number two seed Peter Wright on Saturday, with the UK Open champion having won four European Tour events already in 2017.
Poland's Krzysztof Ratajski impressed with a 102.48 average in a superb 6-0 whitewash of Ireland's Steve Lennon as he moved through to take on Dutch star Jelle Klaasen in round two.
Rowby-John Rodriguez saw James Wilson pull back from 5-0 down to trail 5-3 before the Austrian youngster sealed victory in a strong first round performance, setting up a second round tie with Michael Smith, May's Gibraltar Darts Trophy winner.
Former Dutch Darts Masters finalist Daryl Gurney will take on Steve West, who hit back from a two-leg deficit twice before completing his comeback from 5-3 down against Ryan Searle with a 130 checkout in the deciding leg of their tie.
John Henderson book-ended his 6-4 win over Ronny Huybrechts with checkouts of 120 and 138 as he set up a tie with Ian White, while Benito van de Pas now meets Nathan Aspinall, who landed five 180s as he came from 4-2 down to defeat Finland's Ulf Ceder 6-4.
Belgian youngster Mike De Decker impressed with six doubles from nine attempts, including a 104 finish, as he defeated Richard North 6-3 to move through to a meeting with Alan Norris.
German youngster Martin Schindler punished 19 missed doubles from Chris Quantock with a 6-4 win as he moved through to play Gerwyn Price, while Jamie Lewis' 6-2 win over European Tour debutant Harry Robinson means that he now plays Rob Cross.
Welshman Robert Owen finished six doubles from 11 attempts in a superb whitewash over Scotland's Jamie Bain, meaning that he now plays Spanish ace Cristo Reyes.
The £135,000 European Tour event at the MECC in Maastricht continues on Saturday with the second round split across two sessions, as the 16 seeded players enter the action.
The tournament then concludes on Sunday, with the afternoon session's third round followed by the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final in the evening session. For tickets, visit www.pdc-europe.tv.
The Dutch Darts Masters can be watched worldwide by PDCTV-HD Subscribers.
Live coverage with faster streams may be available at the bookmakers' websites listed below.
2017 Dutch Darts Masters
Friday September 1
Robert Owen 6-0 Jamie Bain
Steve West 6-5 Ryan Searle
Jim Walker 6-5 Darren Webster
Martin Schindler 6-4 Chris Quantock
Christian Kist 6-5 Justin van Tergouw
Nathan Aspinall 6-4 Ulf Ceder
Mike De Decker 6-3 Richard North
Kirk Shepherd 6-4 Max Hopp
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-0 Steve Lennon
Jamie Lewis 6-2 Harry Robinson
John Henderson 6-4 Ronny Huybrechts
Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-3 James Wilson
Kyle Anderson 6-4 Justin Pipe
Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-4 John Michael
Steve Beaton 6-4 Nico Blum
Jimmy Hendriks 6-5 Rene Berndt
Saturday September 2
Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm local time, 12pm-4pm BST)
Cristo Reyes v Robert Owen
Alan Norris v Mike De Decker
Rob Cross v Jamie Lewis
Jelle Klaasen v Krzysztof Ratajski
Gerwyn Price v Martin Schindler
Ian White v John Henderson
Joe Cullen v Jimmy Hendriks
Mervyn King v Kyle Anderson
Evening Session (7pm-11pm local time, 6pm-10pm BST)
Benito van de Pas v Nathan Aspinall
Daryl Gurney v Steve West
Simon Whitlock v Kirk Shepherd
Michael van Gerwen v Jeffrey de Zwaan
Peter Wright v Jim Walker
Kim Huybrechts v Christian Kist
Michael Smith v Rowby-John Rodriguez
Mensur Suljovic v Steve Beaton
All games are the best of 11 legs.
PDC European Tour events can be watched worldwide by PDCTV-HD Subscribers.
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