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Whitlock Nine Darter Not Enough To Get Past Cullen

(credit: PDC)
Simon Whitlock hit a sensational nine-dart finish in the Austrian Darts Open on Saturday, but lost to Joe Cullen as the youngster produced a superb display to move into the last 16 of the European Tour event.

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Whitlock matched the achievement of young sensation Michael Smith, who hit a nine-darter on Friday, as he landed a perfect leg early in his clash with Cullen, hitting two 180s and finishing 141 with treble 20, treble 15 and double 18.

The Australian ace however found himself 4-1 down and although he levelled the game, Cullen took the next two to seal victory, hitting four 180s and two 177s in the process.

"It's one of the best wins of my career," said Cullen "I was always confident that I could beat Simon, even when he hit the nine-darter, and I've got to take this form in Sunday now."

Whitlock admitted: "The nine-darter was great but it also made the game so much harder for me because of the celebration. Joe was sensational and deserved to win, but to hit the nine-darter and lose is disappointing."

Cullen now plays Mark Walsh in Sunday's third round, after the former UK Open finalist defeated Michael Smith 6-5 earlier on Saturday.

Five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld set up a tasty last 16 clash with Mark Webster by coming from 4-3 down to defeat Colin Osborne 6-4 in the second round.

"Colin played well and deserved to be ahead but I'm pleased with how I played," said van Barneveld.

"I know I can play better but I'm really happy to be back on Sunday and I need to keep my focus, but I'll give it everything I can to win."

Webster was one of two players to power through to the third round with a whitewash, as he overcame fellow left-hander Alan Tabern.

Belgium's Kim Huybrechts progressed with a 6-0 win over Vincent van der Voort, who continues to struggle with a back problem, and now plays world number three James Wade, who saw off Steve Beaton 6-4.

Michael van Gerwen produced a superb performance to defeat Colin Lloyd 6-1, averaging 104.70 in a victory which took under 15 minutes to complete.

The young Dutchman now takes on James Richardson in the last 16, with the Northampton ace impressing with a 6-3 defeat of Peter Wright.

World number four Gary Anderson defeated Co Stompe 6-2 and now plays Justin Pipe, who overcame another Dutchman, Gino Vos, with a 6-4 triumph.

Kevin Painter and Dave Chisnall will also clash in a tasty third round tussle, with Painter seeing off Mark Dudbridge 6-2 and Chisnall coming from 3-1 down to defeat World Championship finalist Andy Hamilton 6-4.

"It should be a great game," said Painter. "Dave played really well to beat Andy Hamilton and I've been in good form recently, and I'm excited about Sunday."

Wes Newton saw off Steve Evans 6-2, with the Welshman in contention at 3-2 only to see the world number six hit four 180s in two key legs as he pulled clear.

Newton now meets Denis Ovens on Sunday, with the Stevenage thrower winning five successive legs to come from 3-1 down and defeat Terry Jenkins 6-3.

Richie Burnett and Dean Winstanley were the day's other winners as they overcame impressive newcomers Gaz Cousins and Jim Walker to set up their meeting on Sunday.

Burnett found himself 3-1 down but hit a key 157 checkout amongst five straight legs as he progressed, while Winstanley was pushed all the way before taking a 6-5 win over Walker, who hit five 180s and a 161 finish but had no answer to a 14-darter from the Yorkshireman in the decider.

Play on Sunday sees the third round played in the afternoon session before the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final take place in the evening at Wiener Neustadt's Arena Nova, with the finalist claiming a £15,000 first prize.

European Tour Event One - Austrian Darts Open
Saturday April 28
Second Round
Afternoon Session
Mark Webster 6-0 Alan Tabern
Mark Walsh 6-5 Michael Smith
Gino Vos 4-6 Justin Pipe
James Richardson 6-3 Peter Wright
Wes Newton 6-2 Steve Evans
Terry Jenkins 3-6 Denis Ovens
Gaz Cousins 3-6 Richie Burnett
Vincent van der Voort 0-6 Kim Huybrechts

Evening Session
Andy Hamilton 4-6 Dave Chisnall
Kevin Painter 6-2 Mark Dudbridge
Gary Anderson 6-2 Co Stompe
James Wade 6-4 Steve Beaton
Colin Lloyd 1-6 Michael van Gerwen
Dean Winstanley 6-5 Jim Walker
Raymond van Barneveld 6-4 Colin Osborne
Simon Whitlock 4-6 Joe Cullen - Simon Whitlock hits nine-dart finish!

Sunday April 29
Third Round
Afternoon Session - 1pm start
Richie Burnett v Dean Winstanley
Mark Webster v Raymond van Barneveld
Whitlock/Cullen v Mark Walsh
Gary Anderson v Justin Pipe
James Richardson v Michael van Gerwen
Dave Chisnall v Kevin Painter
Wes Newton v Denis Ovens
James Wade v Kim Huybrechts

Evening Session - 7pm start 
Quarter-Finals
Semi-Finals
Final
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Whitlock Nine Darter Not Enough To Get Past Cullen

Simon Whitlock hit a sensational nine-dart finish in the Austrian Darts Open on Saturday, but lost to Joe Cullen as the youngster produced a superb display to move into the last 16 of the European Tour event.

Read more »