Paul Nicholson hailed the influence of Michael van Gerwen’s recent rise to form after defeating the home favourite in the second round of the Dutch Darts Masters in Nuland, while Simon Whitlock, Arron Monk and Andy Jenkins also won through to the last 16 on Saturday.
Nicholson triumphed 6-4 against the newly-crowned World Grand Prix champion, who has won six PDC events in total so far this year, setting up a third round clash with German teenager Max Hopp on Sunday afternoon.
“I’m delighted to have won because this is the first time in the five European Tour events this year that I’ve made it to the Sunday,” Nicholson told the PDC’s official website.
“I came into the game with no pressure because Michael is in such great form and I relaxed and enjoyed the match.
“Michael is inspiring people to play better at the moment, including me, and he’s also taking Dutch darts forward. He’s a great example for all young players coming into the game.
“It will be the other way around when I play Max because all the pressure is on me, but Max is what German darts has been looking for now for a number of years, a future superstar, and I’m excited to be playing him.”
Hampshire youngster Monk will face Andy Hamilton in the last 16 after the former under-21 World Champion defeated Vincent van der Voort 6-5, producing a 13 dart finish in the deciding leg.
Australian star Whitlock, the reigning European Champion, eased through with a 6-2 win over Alan Tabern, while Jenkins continued to make his mark on the £82,100 tournament with a 6-4 success over James Hubbard.
‘The Wizard’ will take on Ian White in the last 16, while Jenkins faces Wayne Jones.
Dutch pair Raymond van Barneveld and Co Stompe were eliminated from the tournament though, despite the latter hitting a maximum 170 checkout against world number one Phil Taylor.
The remaining 16 players will battle it our for the £15,000 first prize over two sessions on Sunday, with the third round taking place in the afternoon before the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final are played out in the evening.
Sunday October 28
Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm)
Phil Taylor v Andy Smith
Andy Jenkins v Wayne Jones
Max Hopp v Paul Nicholson
Andy Hamilton v Arron Monk
Simon Whitlock v Ian White
Johnny Haines v Jamie Caven
Kim Huybrechts v Colin Osborne
Steve Brown v Mark Walsh
Evening Session (7pm-11pm)
Taylor/Smith v Jenkins/Jones
Hopp/Nicholson v Hamilton/Monk
Whitlock/White v Haines/Caven
Huybrechts/Osborne v Brown/Walsh
By Chris Murphy
Image courtesy of Lawrence Lustig/PDC