Gary Anderson secured his first win on the European Tour in seven years, as he beat Krzysztof Ratajski 6-1 on the opening day of the 2023 Blåkläder Belgian Darts Open in Wieze, Belgium.
The Scot, who has largely abstained from playing on the European Tour since 2016, returned to the continent last weekend in the Dutch Darts Championship - only to suffer a first round exit to outsider Roman Benecky
However, there was no mistake this time around from Anderson, as he blew away Poland’s number one Ratajski, setting up a second round showdown against his practice partner Ryan Searle.
For the Belgian stars playing on home soil, it was a day of mixed fortunes at the Oktoberhallen.
Kim Huybrechts suffered a devastating 6-0 whitewash defeat at the hands of Ricky Evans, whilst Francois Schweyen lost 6-3 to Jose de Sousa.
Andy Baetens secured the first Belgian success of the day and his first win in a PDC ranking event by defeating Jermaine Wattimena 6-3.
Meanwhile, in the final game of the night, Belgian number one Dimitri Van den Bergh delighted the strong home crowd as he showed his class in a 6-1 victory over Ian White.
Like Van den Bergh, Chris Dobey also recovered in the perfect manner from his Premier League defeat on Thursday by defeating Czech Republic’s Dalibor Smolik 6-3.
Elsewhere, five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld continued his resurgence with a convincing 6-3 victory over James Wade.
Both were evenly matched throughout, but Van Barneveld’s superior finishing saw him set up a second round clash with compatriot Dirk van Duijvenbode.
It was a largely successful day for Dutch players, with Martijn Kleermaker defeating reigning European Champion Ross Smith 6-4, whilst Damian Mol edged past Jeff Smith 6-5 in the afternoon session.
Richard Veenstra was beaten in the opening game of the day however, with former World Youth Champion Bradley Brooks running out a 6-3 victor.
There were also 6-3 victories for Matt Campbell and Daryl Gurney, who overcame Callan Rydz and Dylan Slevin respectively.
Germany’s number one Gabriel Clemens celebrated the other whitewash victory of the day as he thrashed Graham Usher 6-0, landing a tournament high 148 finish in the process.
Victories also came for Ted Evetts (6-2 vs Dennis Nilsson), Keane Barry (6-1 vs Sven Hilling) and Stefan Bellmont (6-4 vs Robert Owen).
The action continues with another double-session on Saturday at the Oktoberhallen, as the 16 seeded players enter the tournament.
The tournament is being broadcast live on Viaplay, DAZN and PDCTV (excluding Germany, Austria and Switzerland) and through bookmakers' websites worldwide.
2023 Blåkläder Belgian Darts Open
Schedule of Play
Friday May 5
Bradley Brooks 6-3 Richard Veenstra
Ted Evetts 6-2 Dennis Nilsson
Damian Mol 6-5 Jeff Smith
Keane Barry 6-1 Sven Hilling
Gabriel Clemens 6-0 Graham Usher
Jose de Sousa 6-3 Francois Schweyen
Stefan Bellmont 6-4 Robert Owen
Andy Baetens 6-3 Jermaine Wattimena
Matt Campbell 6-3 Callan Rydz
Daryl Gurney 6-3 Dylan Slevin
Martijn Kleermaker 6-4 Ross Smith
Gary Anderson 6-1 Krzysztof Ratajski
Raymond van Barneveld 6-3 James Wade
Ricky Evans 6-0 Kim Huybrechts
Chris Dobey 6-3 Dalibor Smolik
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-1 Ian White
Saturday May 6
Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 BST)
Andrew Gilding v Andy Baetens
Rob Cross v Stefan Bellmont
Joe Cullen v Matt Campbell
Danny Noppert v Ted Evetts
Damon Heta v Damian Mol
Martin Schindler v Daryl Gurney
Ryan Searle v Gary Anderson
Jonny Clayton v Keane Barry
Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 BST)
Nathan Aspinall v Martijn Kleermaker
Luke Humphries v Bradley Brooks
Dave Chisnall v Ricky Evans
Dirk van Duijvenbode v Raymond van Barneveld
Peter Wright v Gabriel Clemens
Michael van Gerwen v Jose de Sousa
Michael Smith v Dimitri Van den Bergh
Josh Rock v Chris Dobey