Brothers Rowby-John and Rusty-Jake Rodriguez were among three home favourites to win through to the Second Round of the 2019 Austrian Championship on a dramatic opening day in Vienna.
The £140,000 tournament at the Multiversum Schwechat began with 16 first round ties on Friday, with the Rodriguez brothers holding their nerve alongside Dietmar Burger to join fellow Austrian Mensur Suljovic in the Last 32.
Rowby-John won a tense battle of former World Youth Championship finalists against Josh Payne 6-5, coming from 4-1 down to lead 5-4 before surviving three missed match darts in the deciding leg.
He pinned double 16, to the delight of his home crowd, to set up a second round tie with Daryl Gurney.
Younger brother Rusty-Jake had earlier defeated Development Tour Order of Merit leader Ted Evetts 6-3, with the 18-year-old former JDC Junior World Champion now playing number two seed Ian White.
Burger, meanwhile, landed six doubles from seven attempts in a fine 6-3 win over Norway’s Cor Dekker to set up a clash with Dave Chisnall, this year’s Danish Darts Open winner.
Hannes Schnier came agonisingly close to being a fourth Austrian to win through to the second round before losing out 6-5 to former World Youth Champion Keegan Brown.
Brown led 5-3 before the Host Nation Qualifier took out 120 to save the game and 155 to force a decider, but an 89 finish moved the Isle of Wight ace through to face UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall.
The other two Austrian qualifiers, Alex Steinbauer and Christian Goedl, also suffered defeat as they went down to Kirk Shepherd and Jeffrey de Zwaan respectively.
Shepherd’s 6-4 win over Steinbauer set up a tie with Ricky Evans, while De Zwaan now takes on Darren Webster after pulling clear from two-all to see off Goedl 6-3, missing double 12 for a nine-dart finish in the game’s final leg.
The opening day’s most impressive display came from Czech teenager Adam Gawlas, as the 17-year-old qualifier celebrated his European Tour debut with a 6-5 win over Ross Smith, surviving two missed match darts from the UK Open quarter-finalist.
Gawlas, 17, won through last weekend’s East Europe Qualifier and has only been playing for six months, but impressed with finishes of 88 on the bull, 108 and a 14-darter as he shared the opening six legs.
Smith produced superb legs of 12 and ten darts to move 5-3 up, with Gawlas responding with legs of 14 and 13 darts to force a decider before capitalising on his opponent’s two misses at double 16 to hit the same bed for victory.
Luke Humphries produced an impressive 12-darter in the deciding leg of his tie against June’s Czech Darts Open winner Jamie Hughes, and he now meets Joe Cullen on Saturday.
World Youth Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh recorded the day’s highest average of almost 102 as he saw off Mark Webster 6-3, securing a clash with Peter Wright in round two.
Fellow Belgian Mike De Decker edged out Chris Dobey 6-5 and now plays Jonny Clayton, while German youngster Christian Bunse’s reward for a deciding-leg win over Jermaine Wattimena is a tie against two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis.
Australia’s Kyle Anderson set up a second round clash with World Champion Michael van Gerwen by seeing off Stephen Bunting 6-4, with the former Lakeside Champion battling back from 2-0 down to level and 5-2 down to threaten taking the tie to a decider.
Vincent van der Voort won the meeting between former Austrian Darts Open winners against Justin Pipe 6-4 to create a second round clash with Simon Whitlock, and James Wilson meets Steve Beaton following a 6-3 win over Derry’s Gavin Carlin.
Cameron Menzies’ reward for a 6-1 defeat of Germany’s Kevin Munch is a tie against World Championship finalist Michael Smith, while Brendan Dolan now takes on Grand Slam of Darts winner Gerwyn Price following a 6-4 defeat of William O’Connor.
Austrian Darts Championship 2019 Results
Friday August 30
William O’Connor 4-6 Brendan Dolan
James Wilson 6-2 Gavin Carlin
Adam Gawlas 6-5 Ross Smith
Ted Evetts 3-6 Rusty-Jake Rodriguez
Cameron Menzies 6-1 Kevin Munch
Dietmar Burger 6-3 Cor Dekker
Justin Pipe 4-6 Vincent van der Voort
Jermaine Wattimena 5-6 Christian Bunse
Alex Steinbauer 4-6 Kirk Shepherd
Mark Webster 3-6 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Luke Humphries 6-5 Jamie Hughes
Hannes Schnier 5-6 Keegan Brown
Mike De Decker 6-5 Chris Dobey
Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-5 Josh Payne
Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-3 Christian Gödl
Kyle Anderson 6-4 Stephen Bunting