Krzysztof Ratajski became the latest first-time winner of a PDC ranking event after defeating Daryl Gurney in the final to win UK Open Qualifier Six in Wigan on Sunday.
The Polish star continued his impressive rise in the PDC ranks by securing the £10,000 top prize at the Robin Park Tennis Centre, bouncing back brilliantly from his recent Qualifying School disappointment.
Ratajski, the reigning BDO World Masters champion, narrowly missed out on a Tour Card at European Q School last month but seized his opportunity to great effect in the weekend’s final UK Open qualifier.
He began the day with a 6-0 whitewash of Eddie Dootson in Round One, before edging out Germany’s Rene Berndt 6-4 and top 16 star Ian White in a deciding leg to reach the Last 32.
There, he defeated Welshman Robert Owen 6-4 before repeating that scoreline on Carl Wilkinson and Saturday’s champion Corey Cadby.
In the Semi-Finals, Ratajsi withstood a gallant fightback from World Champion Rob Cross – who came from 5-1 down to level – as the Pole prevailed in a tense deciding leg.
Ratajski kicked off the final with an 11-darter on double 16 before converting double ten to move 2-0 ahead.
Gurney got off the mark with a 94 checkout, and after Ratajski had taken out 88, ‘Superchin’ finished 101 to close the gap to 3-2.
A 72 checkout and double ten saw ‘The Polish Eagle’ go clear again at 5-2, though Gurney responded well by hitting his second 180 and taking out 81 in leg eight.
Three missed match darts from Ratajski in the ninth allowed Gurney to clean up 74 to trail 5-4 but last year’s World Championship debutant duly completed the job in the following leg.
“I feel really great,” said Ratajski. “I don’t have a Tour Card and to win this tournament is something great for me.
“I felt really good at Q School and missed a Tour Card by one match, I had ten points and eleven was enough.
“On the two [UK Open] weekends I felt that I played really good.
“It’s bad for me that I don’t have a Tour Card but I’m trying on the European Tour and in the UK Open,” he added.
Gurney’s run to the final saw him overcome Mark Wilson, Jimmy Hendriks, Stuart Kellett, Jonny Clayton, Danny Noppert and Peter Wright as he fell short of his first title since October’s World Grand Prix triumph.
Reigning UK Open champion Wright was a semi-finalist for the fourth time in six Qualifiers as he progresses to defend his title at Butlins Minehead next month.
Cross, meanwhile, completed a superb weekend with a second Semi-Final to add to Saturday’s appearance in the final, claiming £10,000 as he took fifth place on the final UK Open Order of Merit.
Cadby’s Quarter-Final saw him follow up Saturday’s maiden ProTour win with a strong display as he ends fourth on the final rankings, while John Goldie will also make his UK Open debut next month.
Noppert and Scotland’s John Goldie sealed their UK Open debuts with runs to the Quarter-Finals on Sunday – having only picked up £250 apiece in prize money in the previous five events.
David Pallett, a Qualifier Three semi-finalist, was also among the last eight on Sunday as he ensured his UK Open spot despite losing his PDC Tour Card at the end of 2017.
With the top 96 players progressing to compete, alongside 32 Rileys Amateur Qualifiers, in March’s Coral
UK Open, a Play-Off was needed to split the players tied for the final qualifying spot.
Adam Hunt and George Killington were the two players to qualify, with Jeff Smith, Jim Walker, Kevin Garcia, Richie Corner and Rees Hall missing out.
In a Play-Off to decide 64th place, Ted Evetts defeated Michael Rasztovits 6-1 to secure that he begins the UK Open at the second round stage, with the Austrian entering in the first round.
Coral UK Open Qualifier Six 2018 Results (Last 128 Onwards)
Sunday February 11
Vincent van der Voort 6-2 Michael Rasztovits
Brett Claydon 6-1 Karsten Kornath
Steve Beaton 6-0 Michael Plooy
Ted Evetts 6-2 Leo Hendriks
Mark Webster 6-1 Stefan Nilles
Chris Quantock 6-1 Martyn Turner
Rob Cross 6-0 Paul Phillips
Lee Evans 6-1 James Hajdar
Gerwyn Price 6-1 Lee Bryant
John Goldie 6-3 Carl Hamilton
James Wade 6-3 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Nathan Aspinall 6-1 Alan Tabern
Michael Smith 6-3 Dennis Nilsson
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-2 Tony Newell
Darren Webster 6-5 Nathan Rafferty
Luke Humphries 6-3 Kevin Garcia
Justin Pipe 6-2 Darren Layden
Michael Barnard 6-2 David Evans
John Henderson 6-5 Geert Nentjes
Carl Wilkinson 6-5 Mark Frost
Ian White 6-4 Jose Antonio Perales
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-4 Rene Berndt
Adam Hunt 6-3 Cristo Reyes
Robert Owen 6-5 Jeff Smith
Steve Hine 6-3 Benito van de Pas
Corey Cadby 6-1 James Richardson
Prakash Jiwa 6-4 James Wilson
William O’Connor 6-0 Dawson Murschell
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Antonio Alcinas
Ryan Murray 6-2 Ryan Harrington
Kim Huybrechts 6-2 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Gabriel Clemens 6-3 Jason Lowe
Jarred Cole 6-5 Chris Dobey
Stuart Kellett 6-5 Shayne Burgess
Daryl Gurney 6-3 Mark Wilson
Jimmy Hendriks 6-5 Mike De Decker
Stephen Bunting 6-2 Keith Geraghty
Kevin Burness 6-3 Kevin Painter
Jonny Clayton 6-4 Richard North
Ritchie Edhouse 6-5 John Michael
Steve West 6-4 Peter Mitchell
Richie Burnett 6-4 Andrew Gilding
Peter Jacques 6-2 Robert Thornton
Wayne Jones 6-1 Darren Johnson
Danny Noppert 6-3 Gary Anderson
Peter Hudson 6-4 Ricky Evans
Kyle Anderson 6-3 Arron Monk
Josh Payne 6-5 Adam Huckvale
Mike Norton 6-5 Joe Cullen
Dave Prins 6-3 Martin Schindler
Adrian Lewis 6-3 Ronny Huybrechts
Aden Kirk 6-5 Andy Jenkins
Jamie Lewis 6-2 Ryan Meikle
Jamie Bain 6-4 Diogo Portela
Mervyn King 6-2 Wes Newton
David Pallett 6-4 Terry Roach
Nicholas Bell 6-3 Brendan Dolan
Mark Walsh 6-3 Kevin Edwards
Peter Wright 6-1 Rene Eidams
Jermaine Wattimena 6-3 Niall Culleton
Bradley Brooks 6-2 Alan Norris
Matthew Edgar 6-1 Rhys Griffin
Simon Stevenson 6-2 Jelle Klaasen
Keegan Brown 6-2 Steven Kirkby
Brett Claydon 6-3 Vincent van der Voort
Ted Evetts 6-5 Steve Beaton
Chris Quantock 6-4 Mark Webster
Rob Cross 6-4 Lee Evans
John Goldie 6-4 Gerwyn Price
Nathan Aspinall 6-3 James Wade
Michael Smith 6-1 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Darren Webster 6-4 Luke Humphries
Michael Barnard 6-2 Justin Pipe
Carl Wilkinson 6-5 John Henderson
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-5 Ian White
Robert Owen 6-2 Adam Hunt
Corey Cadby 6-2 Steve Hine
Prakash Jiwa 6-3 William O’Connor
Simon Whitlock 6-2 Ryan Murray
Kim Huybrechts 6-5 Gabriel Clemens
Stuart Kellett 6-2 Jarred Cole
Daryl Gurney 6-5 Jimmy Hendriks
Stephen Bunting 6-3 Kevin Burness
Jonny Clayton 6-2 Ritchie Edhouse
Steve West 6-4 Richie Burnett
Wayne Jones 6-1 Peter Jacques
Danny Noppert 6-4 Peter Hudson
Kyle Anderson 6-1 Josh Payne
Mike Norton 6-5 Dave Prins
Adrian Lewis 6-5 Aden Kirk
Jamie Lewis 6-4 Jamie Bain
David Pallett 6-0 Mervyn King
Mark Walsh 6-4 Nicholas Bell
Peter Wright 6-3 Jermaine Wattimena
Bradley Brooks 6-5 Matthew Edgar
Simon Stevenson 6-3 Keegan Brown
Ted Evetts 6-3 Brett Claydon
Rob Cross 6-1 Chris Quantock
John Goldie 6-5 Nathan Aspinall
Michael Smith 6-4 Darren Webster
Carl Wilkinson 6-4 Michael Barnard
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-4 Robert Owen
Corey Cadby 6-1 Prakash Jiwa
Kim Huybrechts 6-5 Simon Whitlock
Daryl Gurney 6-0 Stuart Kellett
Jonny Clayton 6-5 Stephen Bunting
Steve West 6-4 Wayne Jones
Danny Noppert 6-2 Kyle Anderson
Mike Norton 6-3 Adrian Lewis
David Pallett 6-4 Jamie Lewis
Peter Wright 6-2 Mark Walsh
Simon Stevenson 6-4 Bradley Brooks
Rob Cross 6-4 Ted Evetts
John Goldie 6-2 Michael Smith
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-4 Carl Wilkinson
Corey Cadby 6-2 Kim Huybrechts
Daryl Gurney 6-4 Jonny Clayton
Danny Noppert 6-1 Steve West
David Pallett 6-3 Mike Norton
Peter Wright 6-5 Simon Stevenson
Rob Cross 6-3 John Goldie
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-4 Corey Cadby
Daryl Gurney 6-2 Danny Noppert
Peter Wright 6-4 David Pallett
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-5 Rob Cross
Daryl Gurney 6-3 Peter Wright
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-4 Daryl Gurney