Ricardo Pietreczko issues apology to Luke Littler over Belgian Open incident

Ricardo Pietreczko has apologised to Luke Littler for his behaviour following their semi-final meeting at the Belgian Darts Open last weekend.

Littler stormed to a 7-3 victory over Pietreczko in the season’s first European Tour event in Wieze, before going on to clinch the title with the aid of a sensational nine-darter in the final.

An irate Pietreczko confronted Littler at the end of the game having being seemingly unimpressed by the 17-year-old’s unconventional checkout routes, notably an attempt at treble 19, tops, bull on a 147.

The German posted on his Instagram story shortly after the match: ‘So I appreciate him a lot that you can play such a game at such an age but I hope the arrogance punishes him.’

Littler shrugged off the incident, admitting he has become every player’s “cup final” after taking the sport by storm over the past three months.

Pietreczko then took to Instagram again on Thursday to offer an apology to Littler, posting: ‘Hi Fans! I wanted to apologize for my behaviour on stage in Wieze.

‘I was really proud of reaching the semi finals but got a little bit too emotional and overreacted in the game. Sorry Luke and big respect for what you achieved!

‘And usually I am also a fan of fancy checkouts! Looking forward to the Pro Tours in Germany next week! Thanks for your support.’

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Ricardo Pietreczko claims German Darts Championship glory

Ricardo Pietreczko produced a perfect display of finishing to clinch the German Darts Championship in Hildesheim on Sunday, defeating Peter Wright 8-4 in the final.

The 28-year-old stunned World Champions Wright and Michael van Gerwen en route to claiming his first PDC ranking title in incredible fashion.

Pietreczko’s success sees him become only the second German to win a European Tour title, emulating Max Hopp’s achievement in 2018, while he also scoops £30,000 in prize money and claims a spot in next month’s Grand Slam of Darts as well as the World Championship.

He had begun the event in Friday’s First Round, battling through six matches to claim the title and hitting a perfect eight doubles from as many attempts in the final.

“I have no words for this!” admitted Pietreczko, who had dropped to his knees celebrating the triumph.

“I’ve often dreamed of standing on that stage winning a title but to see it actually coming true is unbelievable.

“I didn’t realise that I didn’t miss a dart at a double, I was just so happy in the moment to have hit them. It was incredible to play in Hildesheim, I absolutely love it here.

“I know I can beat the best in the world and I try my very best to beat the best in the world. I’m over the moon, very happy to be in the Grand Slam.”

Pietreczko had defeated Mickey Mansell in Round One and averaged 107 against fellow German Martin Schindler to book a spot in Sunday’s latter stages.

He proved too strong for George Killington in the Last 16 and then saw off Stephen Bunting 6-4 in a Quarter-Final tie where both players averaged in excess of 100.

Pietreczko found the performance of his career against Van Gerwen in the Semi-Finals, averaging 99 and finishing seven doubles from just nine attempts to delight the Halle 39 crowd.

He took out 104 to win the opening leg, landed an 11-darter to lead 3-2 and then moved to the brink of victory at 6-3.

Van Gerwen showed his class to level the game with three straight legs, punishing his opponent for failing to leave a double when needing 80 and 92 in two of those, only for Pietreczko to regain his composure in the decider, scoring 140, 180 and 145 before pinning double 18 for a ten-darter.

He won the final’s opening four legs without reply, taking out 102 and a 13-darter, before responding to Wright’s first leg with a 116 checkout to lead 5-1.

Wright took out a 13-darter and a 126 bull finish as well as double ten as he claimed three of the next five legs, but Pietreczko followed up checkouts of 74 and 108 with a 104 combination to secure the title.

Wright had begun his challenge on Saturday by defeating Masters champion Chris Dobey 6-2, and then overcame German prospect Nico Kurz 6-3 in Sunday afternoon’s Third Round.

He finished six doubles from nine attempts in a 6-4 Quarter-Final win over Damon Heta, and then produced his best display of the event to see off Luke Humphries 7-5 in the Semi-Finals.

Wright opened up with an 11-darter and led 3-0 before Humphries took out an 11-dart leg of his own to get off the mark and bullseye finishes of 135 and 84 as he pulled back to 4-3 behind.

Crucially, Wright edged clear with another 11-darter, and though Humphries finished 84 again and landed a 13-dart leg to reduce the deficit to 6-5, the Scot wrapped up victory in 12 darts with a 116 checkout.

However, Wright fell one game short of claiming a ninth European Tour success, admitting: “It wasn’t there in the final, I couldn’t push him but fair play, he beat some fantastic players all the way through the tournament.

“I’ve played him before and he beat me up last time, I know how he can play. He’s a fantastic player and it’s great for darts.”

Van Gerwen had won through a deciding leg twice earlier on Sunday in his bid to win a 37th European Tour title, edging past Joe Cullen and Gabriel Clemens before seeing Pietreczko claim their Semi-Final in dramatic fashion.

Humphries was bidding to follow up last week’s World Grand Prix triumph with a second European Tour title of the year and a sixth in total.

The new world number four was outstanding with a 111.3 average in a third round whitewash of James Wade on Sunday afternoon, and he then missed double 12 for a nine-darter in a brilliant performance against Rob Cross in the Last Eight.

Germany’s Clemens saw off European Champion Ross Smith in Round Three as he progressed to the Quarter-Finals, while Cross edged out World Champion Michael Smith in a deciding leg in the Last 16.

German Darts Championship 2023 Day Three Results

Sunday October 15

Afternoon Session

Third Round
Gabriel Clemens 6-4 Ross Smith
Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Joe Cullen
George Killington 2-6 Ricardo Pietreczko
Stephen Bunting 6-5 Jules van Dongen
Damon Heta 6-5 Martin Lukeman
Nico Kurz 3-6 Peter Wright
Luke Humphries 6-0 James Wade
Rob Cross 6-5 Michael Smith

Evening Session

Quarter-Finals
Gabriel Clemens 5-6 Michael van Gerwen
Ricardo Pietreczko 6-4 Stephen Bunting
Damon Heta 4-6 Peter Wright
Luke Humphries 6-4 Rob Cross

Semi-Finals
Michael van Gerwen 6-7 Ricardo Pietreczko
Peter Wright 7-5 Luke Humphries

Final
Ricardo Pietreczko 8-4 Peter Wright

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