Cameron Menzies fought back to dump out reigning champion Peter Wright on Day Two at the Interwetten German Darts Open, as Martin Schindler and Florian Hempel moved through to Finals Day on home soil.
Saturday’s double session saw 16 second round ties take place at the Sparkassen-Arena, with two-time winner Wright one of five seeded stars to exit on a thrilling day of action in Jena.
Wright – competing in a record 100th PDC European Tour event – had been forced to borrow a set of his own darts from a PDC Europe staff member after his luggage failed to arrive in Germany.
He appeared unfazed by his disrupted preparation after easing into a 2-0 lead, although the enigmatic Menzies responded with a brace of 12-darters to reduce the deficit to 2-3.
Menzies then conjured up a crucial 120 checkout in leg seven to stay in contention, and he reeled off the last three legs without reply to triumph in an entertaining all-Scottish affair.
It was also a memorable night for the partisan German crowd, as Schindler and Hempel celebrated victories against Daryl Gurney and Damon Heta respectively.
Schindler won through a pulsating deciding-leg clash against a resurgent Gurney, who had fired in a sensational 164 checkout on his way to a 4-3 lead.
Hempel, meanwhile, fresh from dumping out James Wade in Friday’s first round, claimed another big scalp in the shape of second seed Heta, storming to a 6-2 success to continue his terrific campaign.
Ricardo Pietreczko almost made it three from three for the home contingent, recovering from 5-3 down to force a decider against third seed Luke Humphries, only to succumb in a last-leg tie.
The performance of the day belonged to World Youth Champion Josh Rock, who averaged 108.48 to demolish Jules van Dongen 6-2 in an astonishing contest that featured 11 maximums.
Rock – who opened his account with a 148 checkout in leg two – landed five 180s in the last three legs to cap off a stunning display, winning those legs in 14, 11 and 13 darts respectively.
The Northern Irishman’s reward is a last 16 showdown against Ryan Searle, who averaged 95 and converted six of his 12 attempts at double to see off Dutch talent Kevin Doets.
World Matchplay champion Nathan Aspinall dealt a blow to Gian van Veen’s hopes of World Grand Prix qualification, winning six straight legs from 3-0 adrift to prevail in a remarkable encounter.
Top seed Dave Chisnall delivered a statement performance in his 6-1 rout of Luke Woodhouse, averaging 102 and pinning 50% of his attempts at double to set up a meeting with Krzysztof Ratajski.
Ratajski averaged just under a ton in his 6-3 victory against Ricky Evans, sealing his progress with a clinical 108 combination to end Evans’ hopes of European Championship qualification.
Belgium’s Brian Raman caused arguably the upset of Saturday’s second round, following up a 112 skin-saver with a 12-darter to stun Rob Cross, who hit 121 and 126 finishes on the bull earlier in the match.
European Champion Ross Smith also bowed out in his opener, losing 6-2 to an inspired Wesley Plaisier, who progressed with a 101 average to set up a fascinating tussle against Humphries.
Dirk van Duijvenbode fired in six 180s and converted a sublime 160 finish during his 6-4 success against fellow countryman Roy van de Griendt, who landed a brace of ton-plus checkouts in defeat.
Van Duijvenbode was joined in the last 16 by his World Cup partner Danny Noppert, who survived a match dart from Dylan Slevin to continue his pursuit of a maiden European Tour title.
Stephen Bunting completed an unlikely comeback from 4-1 down to dump out a dejected Joe Cullen, who squandered eight match darts having raced into a commanding lead.
Elsewhere, Andrew Gilding and Jose de Sousa were the first players to progress to Finals Day on Saturday afternoon, defying sub-par displays to dump out Madars Razma and Mike de Decker.
Following Saturday’s second round, the last 16 will take place on Sunday afternoon, before the tournament concludes with the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final in a bumper evening session.
The German Darts Open is being broadcast live on Viaplay, DAZN and PDCTV (excluding Germany, Austria and Switzerland) and through bookmakers’ websites worldwide.
2023 Interwetten German Darts Open
Saturday September 9
Andrew Gilding 6-2 Madars Razma
Jose de Sousa 6-4 Mike De Decker
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-3 Ricky Evans
Josh Rock 6-2 Jules van Dongen
Ryan Searle 6-3 Kevin Doets
Danny Noppert 6-5 Dylan Slevin
Brian Raman 6-5 Rob Cross
Stephen Bunting 6-5 Joe Cullen
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-4 Roy van de Griendt
Cameron Menzies 6-4 Peter Wright
Florian Hempel 6-2 Damon Heta
Luke Humphries 6-5 Ricardo Pietreczko
Dave Chisnall 6-1 Luke Woodhouse
Nathan Aspinall 6-3 Gian van Veen
Martin Schindler 6-5 Daryl Gurney
Wesley Plaisier 6-2 Ross Smith
Sunday September 10
Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 BST)
Dave Chisnall v Krzysztof Ratajski
Cameron Menzies v Danny Noppert
Dirk van Duijvenbode v Jose de Sousa
Josh Rock v Ryan Searle
Florian Hempel v Andrew Gilding
Stephen Bunting v Martin Schindler
Luke Humphries v Wesley Plaisier
Brian Raman v Nathan Aspinall
Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 BST)