Darts: Five former world champions fall on the opening day of 2021 UK Open
Reigning champion Michael van Gerwen come through a nail biting encounter with Scott Mitchell (Photo by Luke Walker/Getty Images)

An action-packed day at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes began with 151 players, but just 32 remain standing after a gruelling double session across eight stages.

The world’s top 32 ranked players awaited the winners from the third round in the evening session, with the traditional open draw format producing several mouth-watering ties.

History was made by Lisa Ashton on the main stage in round two as the four-time Lakeside Women’s World Champion averaged 100.3 in her 6-2 win over Aaron Beeney. This was the highest ever recorded by a woman in a televised event.

It was also Ashton’s first win on a TV stage in the PDC since earning her tour card last year despite three previous attempts and the first victory for a woman in the tournament since Deta Hedman who famously reached the last 64 in 2005. However, Ashton failed to reproduce the form she showed in the first round as she was defeated 6-2 by Lithuanian Darius Labanauskas in Round Three.

Nine-darters in opening rounds at UK Open

Two nine-darters were hit in the opening two rounds. The first one was by 17-year-old Polish debutant Sebastian Bialecki only nine minutes into his debut which was even too quick for the cameras to catch in his first-round win over Jim McEwan. In the second round Dutchman Jitse van der Wal returned the fate achieving perfection against Bialecki but couldn’t prevent the young Pole triumphing 6-3.

Round One saw early exits for the likes of World Youth finalist Adam Gawlas, Ritchie Edhouse, Geert De Vos, John Michael and former World Champion Richie Burnett.

The second round saw Alan Soutar ruin two-time UK Open champion Raymond van Barneveld fairytale as his return to the competition was ended by impressive Scot 6-3.

Scotland’s Soutar who secured his tour card at UK Qualifying School last month only as a result of the lack of amateur darts during lockdown, went on to reach the Last 32, defeating Mickey Mansell and Stephen Bunting in the course.

Canada’s Jeff Smith and America’s Danny Baggish both perished in Round Two, alongside Scottish pair Ryan Murray and William Borland.

Waites progresses after Brown gets timed out

Scott Waites received a walkover into round three after his scheduled opponent Steve Brown was incredibly timed out for failing to show at the board on time. Brown later published on social media that he had gone back to his room for a rest. In this time his phone died meaning he lost track of time. It wasn’t until he turned the TV on to see Waites practising that he then sprinted from his fourth floor hotel room to try and make it in time but it was to no avail.

Brown’s son John, however, enjoyed a contrastingly successful day as he reached the Last 32 on his UK Open debut, becoming the only player to have made the stage having started out in round one.

Emerging star Brown began by defeating Northern Ireland’s Gavin Carlin 6-3 with a 98 average before edging out Nathan Rafferty 6-5 and overcoming Chas Barstow 6-3.

He then knocked out former Lakeside finalist Mark McGeeney 10-6 to continue his superb run, flying the flag for the Brown family, setting up a Last 32 meeting with Chris Dobey.

The third round saw the likes of William O’Connor, Damon Heta, Keane Barry, Jim Williams and Jelle Klaasen crash out.

MVG and Price through to Round Five

Reigning champion Michael van Gerwen made it through to Saturday afternoon’s fifth round with a hard-fought 10-8 win over Scott Mitchell after only receiving his new darts at 5pm the previous day.

World number one Gerwyn Price, meanwhile, cruised through with a 10-5 defeat of Peter Hudson despite still being in evident pain from the ear infection that saw him pull out of last week’s Super Series.

Peter Wright’s slow start to 2021 continued with yet another set up of darts as he went down 10-5 to Dave Chisnall – who averaged 100 and landed six 180s on his way to a dominant victory.

Match of the day arugeably went to Michael Smith and Joe Cullen. Smith recovered from 5-1 down and survived a match dart as Cullen missed double ten for a 128 checkout to defeat him in a last-leg epic decider.

Nathan Aspinall who had previously won the tournament in 2019, bowed out following a frustrating 10-5 loss to Krzysztof Ratajski who averaged 102.6 in a clinical display which saw the Asp throw his darts on table in disgust.

2018 champion Gary Anderson and 2014 winner Adrian Lewis also fell at the first hurdle at the hands of Dirk van Duijvenbode and Ryan Searle respectively, both of whom averaged above 100 and are definitely contenders to go deep into the competition.

Van Gerwen is joined by James Wade as the only former winners remaining in the tournament after the 2008 and 2011 champion came was pushed all the way to a last-leg decider against Ryan Joyce.

Young Dutch ace Danny Noppert enjoyed a 10-6 victory over current Premier League champion Glen Durrant – whose struggles in major competition continue after previously battling the coronavirus.

Luke Woodhouse dispatched World Matchplay champion Dimitri Van den Bergh 10-5, with the Belgian continuing his rehabilitation from a recent knee operation only last month while Rob Cross battled back from 8-5 down to deny 2013 finalist Andy Hamilton 10-8.

Grand Slam champion Jose De Sousa produced a timely 103 checkout in the deciding leg to defeat Mervyn King 10-9.

The action continues on Saturday with the fifth-round ties in the afternoon session, followed by the Last 16 in the evening session, with the draw to be made at the conclusion of the previous round.

Ladbrokes UK Open 2021 Results

Friday March 5

Afternoon Session

Main Stage
Berry van Peer 5-6 Martin Schindler (R1)
Brett Claydon 3-6 Danny Baggish (R1)
Aaron Beeney 2-6 Lisa Ashton (R2)
Maik Kuivenhoven 6-4 Boris Koltsov (R2)
Alan Soutar 6-3 Raymond van Barneveld (R2)
Keane Barry 6-1 Geert Nentjes (R2)
Max Hopp 6-3 William O’Connor (R3)
Damon Heta 1-6 David Evans (R3)
Alan Soutar 6-3 Mickey Mansell (R3)

Stage Two
Gordon Mathers 3-6 Kirk Shepherd (R1)
Boris Koltsov 6-1 Rusty-Jake Rodriguez (R1)
Zoran Lerchbacher 5-6 Jim Williams (R1)
Geert Nentjes 6-5 Richie Burnett (R1)
Martin Atkins 6-3 Bradley Brooks (R2)
Martijn Kleermaker 6-3 Wayne Jones (R2)
Lewis Williams 5-6 Scott Mitchell (R2)
Ciaran Teehan 6-5 Danny Baggish (R2)
Mark McGeeney 6-5 Steve Beaton (R3)
Ross Smith 5-6 Callan Rydz (R3)
Lisa Ashton 2-6 Darius Labanauskas (R3)
Krzysztof Kciuk 5-6 Kim Huybrechts (R3)

Stage Three
Rhys Griffin 6-5 Sean Fisher (R1)
Matt Jackson 3-6 Nathan Rafferty (R1)
Keelan Kay 5-6 Kevin McDine (R1)
Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-4 Brian Raman (R1)
Nick Kenny 6-5 Ryan Meikle (R2)
Jeff Smith 1-6 Martin Schindler (R2)
Andy Hamilton 6-5 Damian Mol (R2)
Jim Williams 6-1 Kirk Shepherd (R2)
James Wilson 1-6 Keegan Brown (R3)
Martin Atkins 4-6 Scott Waites (R3)
Keane Barry 6-2 Luke Woodhouse (R3)
Scott Taylor 0-6 Adam Hunt (R3)

Stage Four
Geert De Vos 2-6 Niels Zonneveld (R1)
Martin Lukeman 4-6 Maikel Verberk (R1)
Scott Taylor 6-4 John Michael (R1)
Michael Rasztovits 2-6 Peter Jacques (R2)
Peter Hudson 6-1 Jesus Noguera (R2)
Scott Waites W/O Steve Brown (R2)
Kevin McDine 3-6 Rowby-John Rodriguez (R2)
Eddie Lovely 2-6 Ron Meulenkamp (R3)
Kai Fan Leung 6-5 Nick Kenny (R3)
Jim Williams 2-6 Madars Razma (R3)

Stage Five
Shane McGuirk 2-6 Jack Main (R1)
Jason Heaver 6-2 Lorenzo Pronk (R1)
Luc Peters 3-6 Lewis Williams (R1)
Steffen Siepmann 4-6 David Evans (R2)
Niels Zonneveld 2-6 Derk Telnekes (R2)
Alan Tabern 5-6 Gino Vos (R2)
Joe Murnan 3-6 Kai Fan Leung (R2)
Steve West 1-6 Jason Lowe (R3)
Andy Boulton 6-3 Jelle Klaasen (R3)
Kevin Doets 4-6 Steve Lennon (R3)
Karel Sedlacek 6-0 Rhys Griffin (R3)
Peter Jacques 6-1 Ciaran Teehan (R3)

Stage Six
Jim McEwan 2-6 Sebastian Bialecki (R1) – *Bialecki hits a nine-darter*
Chas Barstow 6-4 Lukas Wenig (R1)
Joe Murnan 6-2 Matthew Dennant (R1)
Jon Worsley 1-6 Andrew Gilding (R2)
Jack Main 6-4 Robert Collins (R2)
Mike De Decker 4-6 Rhys Griffin (R2)
Scott Taylor 6-5 Maikel Verberk (R2)
John Henderson 6-5 Matt Edgar (R3)
Andy Hamilton 6-1 Gary Blades (R3)
Martin Schindler 5-6 Martijn Kleermaker (R3)
John Brown 6-3 Chas Barstow (R3)

Stage Seven
Joe Davis 3-6 Kevin Doets (R1)
Adam Gawlas 4-6 Gino Vos (R1)
Ritchie Edhouse 4-6 Damian Mol (R1)
Harald Leitinger 0-6 Karel Sedlacek (R2)
Dom Taylor 0-6 Gary Blades (R2)
John Brown 6-5 Nathan Rafferty (R2)
Chas Barstow 6-1 Martin Thomas (R2)
Maik Kuivenhoven 1-6 Brendan Dolan (R3)
Peter Hudson 6-1 Gino Vos (R3)
Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-5 Josh Payne (R3)

Stage Eight
Jake Jones 5-6 Dom Taylor (R1)
Peter Hudson 6-1 Ryan De Vreede (R1)
John Brown 6-3 Gavin Carlin (R1)
Ryan Murray 2-6 Krzysztof Kciuk (R2)
William Borland 4-6 Kevin Doets (R2)
Sebastian Bialecki 6-3 Jitse van der Wal (R2) – *Van der Wal hits a nine-darter*
Jason Heaver 5-6 Eddie Lovely (R2)
Ted Evetts 4-6 Darren Webster (R3)
Jack Main 5-6 Ryan Searle (R3)
Scott Mitchell 6-3 Andrew Gilding (R3)
Sebastian Bialecki 6-3 Derk Telnekes (R3)

Evening Session

Fourth Round

Main Stage
Gary Anderson 9-10 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Michael van Gerwen 10-8 Scott Mitchell
Gerwyn Price 10-5 Peter Hudson
Peter Wright 5-10 Dave Chisnall

Stage Two
Mervyn King 9-10 Jose de Sousa
Andy Hamilton 8-10 Rob Cross
Nathan Aspinall 5-10 Krzysztof Ratajski
Joe Cullen 9-10 Michael Smith

Stage Three
Daryl Gurney 10-8 Jason Lowe
Ryan Searle 10-7 Adrian Lewis
Max Hopp 10-6 Vincent van der Voort
John Brown 10-6 Mark McGeeney

Stage Four
Callan Rydz 10-6 Jermaine Wattimena
Jonny Clayton 10-7 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Darius Labanauskas 10-5 Darren Webster
Ryan Joyce 9-10 James Wade

Stage Five
Ian White 7-10 Ricky Evans
Alan Soutar 10-5 Stephen Bunting
Kai Fan Leung 7-10 Brendan Dolan
Martijn Kleermaker 10-8 Jamie Hughes

Stage Six
Karel Sedlacek 7-10 Simon Whitlock
Devon Petersen 10-5 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Luke Woodhouse 10-5 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Andy Boulton 9-10 Peter Jacques

Stage Seven
Mensur Suljovic 10-6 Sebastian Bialecki
Gabriel Clemens 10-4 Adam Hunt
Steve Lennon 7-10 Ron Meulenkamp
David Evans 6-10 Madars Razma

Stage Eight
Scott Waites 10-6 Keegan Brown
John Henderson 6-10 Chris Dobey
Glen Durrant 6-10 Danny Noppert
Kim Huybrechts 8-10 Luke Humphries