Michael van Gerwen started moderately with the Premier League of Darts on Monday. In his opening match, the Brabant player got no further than a difficult draw against debutant Dimitri Van den Bergh: 6-6. Defending champion Glen Durrant lost in the opening round.
The 31-year-old Van Gerwen never convinced in his first Premier League game of the season and had to make up three times a deficit against Van den Bergh, the number nine in the world ranking.
The Belgian took a 1-2 and 2-3 lead, but each time Van Gerwen balanced the score in the next leg.
In the final phase, the Dutchman even seemed to be heading for a defeat after Van den Bergh had broken him for the third time, but in the decisive and final leg he still took a point. He threw out a finish of 101.
Van Gerwen is chasing rehabilitation this week at the Premier League, the prestigious darts competition that he has already won five times. At the last World Cup, he was knocked out by Dave Chisnall in the quarterfinals and lost his number one position to Gerwyn Price after seven years.
The reigning world champion is missing in the Premier League. On Sunday, he was the only participant to test positive for the corona virus and was excluded from participation. He will have to stay in isolation for the time being.
Glenn Durrant suffered a sensitive defeat in the opening round of the Premier League.
Defending champion Durrant starts off dramatically
Earlier in the day, Durrant was beaten by Nathan Aspinall in a replay of last year’s Premier League final. Durrant then won 11-8, but this time he lost 7-3 to his English compatriot. He handed in his first leg and could no longer make up for that.
De Sousa seemed to be heading for a surprising victory over single world champion Cross in the match, but in the final phase the Englishman made up a three-legged deficit and both players had to settle for a point: 6-6. The 47-year-old De Sousa played in the Premier League for the first time on Monday.
Clayton also surprised at his baptism of fire in the Premier League by also keeping single world champion Wright on a draw: 6-6. Wright had a maximum score on his doubles, but his average per three arrows was lower than Clayton’s (101 to 105) and that broke him up in the last and deciding leg.
James Wade, the replacement for the infected Price, also kept Gary Anderson clever on one point. Wade even seemed to be on his way to victory for a long time, but in the last and decisive leg, the Scot came alongside.
This week, a round in the Premier League will be played every day until Friday. Another four rounds are scheduled from 19 to 22 April. The second part of the Premier League consists of seven match days, followed by the play-offs with the top four in the rankings.
Schedule Monday April 5
- Nathan Aspinall-Glen Durrant 7-3
- Rob Cross-José de Sousa 6-6
- Peter Wright-Jonny Clayton 6-6
- James Wade-Gary Anderson 6-6
- Michael van Gerwen-Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-6