Danny Noppert stunned in first round of European Darts Matchplay by Rowby-John Rodriguez

It was a typically entertaining night of action as the European Darts Masters got underway in Interwetten.

UK Open champion Danny Noppert was an early casualty as the Interwetten European Darts Matchplay got underway on Friday.

Noppert came up against the dangerous Rowby-John Rodriguez, who managed to down him in a deciding leg showdown.

Rodriguez had to do it the hard way as he battled back from 3-5 down, but he finished strongly to set up a clash with former world number one and top seed Gerwyn Price.

The pair exchanged ton-plus finishes in the early stages before Noppert seized the initiative with back-to-back 14-darters, but the Dutchman was unable to complete the job, as Rodriguez kept his cool to prevail with a clinical two-dart 78 kill in the decider.

World Championship quarter-finalist Callan Rydz produced a superb display of combination finishing to deny Jon Worsley a maiden win on the European Tour stage.

Rydz opened his account with a double-double 96 finish, before firing in 124 and 125 checkouts to complete a 6-3 success, with seventh seed Damon Heta now awaiting Rydz in an intriguing tie.

Polish teenager Sebastian Bialecki claimed a landmark first win on the European Tour stage, conjuring up a brace of ton-plus finishes to dethrone the veteran Mervyn King.

King drew first blood with a spectacular 11-darter, but UK Open quarter-finalist Bialecki rallied, following up a 112 outshot with a 14-darter to set up a second round match against Stephen Bunting.

Cameron Menzies produced the performance of the first round, averaging 101 in a 6-3 success against Niels Zonneveld, and he will now face Luke Humphries, who is eyeing his fourth European Tour title of 2022.

Host-nation qualifiers Florian Hempel and Lukas Wenig delighted the partisan crowd at Arena Trier with wins over Bradley Brooks and Steve Lennon respectively, although Dragutin Horvat was convincingly beaten by Latvia's Madars Razma.

Wenig advances to face Chris Dobey, while Hempel will play an in-form Dimitri Van den Bergh in a repeat of their World Championship tussle last December.

Three-time European Tour event winner Ian White will play defending champion Joe Cullen for a place at Finals Day, firing in successive 14-darters to wrap up an emphatic 6-1 win over Joe Murnan.

German Darts Grand Prix runner-up Martin Lukeman will lock horns with second seed Ryan Searle in round two, after recording a hard-fought 6-4 win over John Michael in Friday night's opener.

Elsewhere, Scott Williams defied a superb comeback from Poland's Radek Szaganski to set up a mouth-watering clash against Jonny Clayton for a place in Sunday's third round.

Players Championship 17 winner Williams led 3-0 and 5-2, but Szaganski responded with a brace of 12-darters to force a decider, only for the Englishman to seal his progression with a 16-dart hold.

Wesley Plaisier produced another inspired big stage display to come through a high-quality clash against Jamie Hughes, continuing his fine form on the European Tour.

The Dutchman took out a stunning 167 checkout in leg three, before wrapping up a 6-4 success with a 111 combination, and his reward is a second round tie against fourth seed Jose De Sousa.

Jermaine Wattimena eased through to a second round date against eighth seed Nathan Aspinall, dispatching European Tour debutant Ross Montgomery 6-1 earlier in the day.

Meanwhile, James Wilson opened Friday's action with a battling 6-3 win over Sweden's Johan Engstrom to create a showdown against Rob Cross, a three-time finalist on the European Tour in 2022.

Jeffrey de Zwaan, Luke Woodhouse and German number one Gabriel Clemens will begin their campaigns on Saturday, after receiving byes through to round two following the withdrawals of Peter Wright, Michael van Gerwen and Michael Smith.

Saturday's second round will see the 16 seeds enter the fray, including top seed Price and defending champion Cullen, before the tournament concludes with a blockbuster double session on Sunday.

Afternoon Session

James Wilson 6-3 Johan Engstrom

Jermaine Wattimena 6-1 Ross Montgomery

Wesley Plaisier 6-4 Jamie Hughes

Scott Williams 6-5 Radek Szaganski

Cameron Menzies 6-3 Niels Zonneveld

Ian White 6-1 Joe Murnan

Evening Session

Martin Lukeman 6-4 John Michael

Sebastian Bialecki 6-4 Mervyn King

Callan Rydz 6-3 Jon Worsley

Madars Razma 6-3 Dragutin Horvat

Lukas Wenig 6-4 Steve Lennon

Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-5 Danny Noppert

Florian Hempel 6-2 Bradley Brooks

Byes: Jeffrey de Zwaan, Gabriel Clemens, Luke Woodhouse

READ MORE: Interwetten European Darts Matchplay: Draw, schedule and prize money

Latest news