O’Connor acknowledges the crowd after another fine win (credit:Tobias Wenzel/PDC Europe)
William O’Connor continued his fine record in the European Matchplay by edging past Peter Wright in a last-leg decider on Saturday, as Wayne Jones also moved into Round Three with a 6-3 scalp of Nathan Aspinall.
O’Connor, who finished runner-up in this event last year, followed up Friday’s impressive win over Max Hopp by knocking out sixth seed Wright – who landed six 180s but missed 16 darts at doubles.
Irish ace O’Connor was clinical on the finishing in comparison, producing checkouts of 100, 118 and a match-winning 105 on his way to victory.
Wolverhampton veteran Jones, meanwhile, followed up Friday’s shock win over Jeffrey de Zwaan by sending home UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall.
Jones produced match-winning checkout of 141 and converted six of his nine attempts at doubles in an assured display in Mannheim.
Reigning champion Michael van Gerwen progressed to the final day of action as he saw off Michael Smith 6-2 in a repeat of January’s World Championship final.
Van Gerwen reeled off five straight legs from 2-1 down to prevail with a 95 average and 60 per cent on the doubles – punishing Smith’s seven missed chances.
The world number one will now meet Mensur Suljovic in a repeat of last week’s Austrian Championship final after ‘The Gentle’ thrashed Kim Huybrechts 6-1 with a ruthless 102 average.
Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski was pushed to a last-leg decider but held firm to deny Keegan Brown 6-5, while two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis brushed aside Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-2 with a high checkout of 138.
Experience won the day for James Wade as he ended the run of 19-year-old Bradley Brooks with a 6-2 triumph as the youngster was left to rue nine missed darts at doubles.
Home hopes in the tournament were ended as Ricky Evans saw off Friday’s 170 hero Karsten Koch 6-3 and Euro Tour specialist Ian White disposed of Gabriel Clemens by the same scoreline.
Joe Cullen safely saw off Czech Open champion Jamie Hughes 6-3 to set up a third round clash with O’Connor, while Rob Cross whitewashed host nation qualifier Marvin Wehder.
Grand Slam champion Gerwyn Price averaged 102 in a 6-3 victory over UK Open quarter-finalist Simon Stevenson, while Dave Chisnall opened up the afternoon session with a 6-2 victory over 23-year-old Ryan Meikle.
Top 16 star Jonny Clayton overcame Bolton’s Scott Taylor 6-4, as World Matchplay semi-finalist Glen Durrant defeated New Zealand’s Cody Harris 6-3 and Daryl Gurney beat John Henderson 6-4 with five 180s to his name to ensure his progression.
European Darts Matchplay 2019 Results
Saturday September 7
Dave Chisnall 6-2 Ryan Meikle
Jonny Clayton 6-4 Scott Taylor
James Wade 6-2 Bradley Brooks
Adrian Lewis 6-2 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Glen Durrant 6-3 Cody Harris
Daryl Gurney 6-4 John Henderson
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Simon Stevenson
Rob Cross 6-0 Marvin Wedher
Ricky Evans 6-3 Karsten Koch
Ian White 6-3 Gabriel Clemens
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-5 Keegan Brown
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Michael Smith
Mensur Suljovic 6-1 Kim Huybrechts
William O’Connor 6-5 Peter Wright
Wayne Jones 6-3 Nathan Aspinall
Joe Cullen 6-3 Jamie Hughes