Jeffrey de Zwaan beats Michael van Gerwen at UK Open
By Paul Prenderville
Last Updated: 03/03/18 2:11pm
World No 1 Michael van Gerwen's hopes of a third UK Open title were ended by Jeffrey de Zwaan, as he joined fellow former champions Peter Wright, Raymond van Barneveld and Adrian Lewis in crashing out on the opening day.
Van Gerwen, champion in 2015 and 2016, had not lost at the tournament since a semi-final defeat to Terry Jenkins in 2014, and was favourite to add to the five titles he has already won this year.
But his fellow countryman had different ideas as De Zwaan chalked up a hugely impressive 10-8 victory to reach the last 32 in front of a near-deserted Butlin's resort on the Somerset coast - the tournament taking place behind closed doors as the weather took its toll on the South West.
Van Gerwen was not the only high-profile name to crash out as defending champion Wright was eliminated on the outside boards just moments before MvG's exit.
Snakebite claimed his first ranking televised tournament with UK Open success over Gerwyn Price last year, but he was stunned by Irish teenager Nathan Rafferty.
Wright had battled back from deficits to lead 9-8 but his 18-year-old opponent held his nerve to take out the last two legs for the biggest win of his career and a place in the last 32.
Snow isn’t to blame for these big name players losing. They are losing because they are being outplayed. Simple.— Wayne Mardle (@Wayne501Mardle) March 2, 2018
Three more former champions joined the day one casualty list with Barney, Lewis and Robert Thornton all losing out in the third round as did Dave Chisnall, who was beaten by Ryan Meikle.
Van Barneveld, the 2006 and 2007 champion, had survived six match darts to beat Michael Norton earlier in the day but he had no such luck against Mervyn King, whose brilliant finishing accounted for a subdued Barney, who was playing his third match of the day and went down to a 10-4 defeat.
Jackpot, winner in 2014, was stunned 10-5 by Holland's Dirk van Duijvenbode with 2012 champion Thornton beaten 10-8 by David Pallett.
World champion Rob Cross survived a scare to see off 26-year-old Nathan Aspinall and edge a high-quality contest 10-8, despite struggling with his doubles early on.
Trailing 6-4, the world champion went through the gears to lead 8-7 thanks to a couple of brilliant 11-dart legs. A brilliant 150 from Aspinall levelled at 8-8 before another 11-darter took Cross one away and he then sealed victory with a clinical 64.
There was better news for two-time winner James Wade, who was a 10-6 winner over Simon Stevenson while Gary Anderson beat Robert Rickwood 10-3
Premier League leader Michael Smith was a 10-5 winner over former World Championship runner-up Kirk Shepherd, while world No 6 and World Grand Prix champion Daryl Gurney edged out Jelle Klaasen 10-9 in a thriller to reach the last 32.
Stephen Bunting beat Justin Pipe, Krzysztof Ratajski - a ProTour winner already this season - saw off Darren Webster, while Matthew Edgar accounted for John Henderson and World Championship semi-finalist Jamie Lewis was beaten by fellow Welshman Robert Owen.
In an eerily quiet setting all matches were played in front of handful of player's guests following a decision from the Butlin's resort to close the venue to fans on safety grounds. The news came just a day after Night Five of the Premier League was cancelled at Exeter's Westpoint Arena as Storm Emma continued to batter the South West causing 11 players to withdraw from the event.
Play got underway early on Friday and John Part's progress was the early story as he beat John Morris 6-2 and then Paul Whitworth 6-0 in first TV ranking victories since 2013.
The three-time world champion followed that up with a brilliant 10-2 win over David Evans in the evening's third round to set up a fourth-round spot.
Among the afternoon's big-name casualties were Alan Norris, Benito van de Pas, Andy Hamilton, James Richardson and World Championship quarter-finalist Dimitri van den Bergh before the game's finest took centre stage for the evening session only for many to see their hopes in tatters.
The tournament continues across the weekend with the Fourth Round underway on Saturday afternoon.
UK Open - Fourth Round Draw
|Paul Hogan||v||Jeffrey de Zwaan|
|Rob Cross||v||Kyle Anderson|
|John Part||v||Ron Meulenkamp|
|Robert Owen||v||Nathan Rafferty|
|Chris Dobey||v||Jason Lowe|
|Keegan Brown||v||Krzysztof Ratajski|
|Drink van Duijvenbode||v||Gerwyn Price|
|Steve West||v||Matthew Edgar|
|Gary Anderson||v||Ricky Evans|
|Stephen Bunting||v||Jermaine Wattimena|
|Mervyn King||v||Jonny Clayton|
|Corey Cadby||v||Martin Schindler|
|Jamie Hughes||v||Ian White|
|Daryl Gurney||v||Kim Huybrechts|
|Ryan Meikle||v||Michael Smith|
|David Pallett||v||James Wade|
The 2018 Premier League heads to the First Direct Arena in Leeds next Thursday with coverage underway from 7pm on Sky Sports Action & Sky Sports Main Event from 9.45pm. The action will then continue through to the season's conclusion with the Play-Offs on May 17 at The O2 in London.
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