11:36am Wednesday 9th October 2013
By Andrew Simpson
STUART Kellett gave Raymond van Barneveld a scare before the former world champion emerged as victor from their partypoker.com World Grand Prix opener last night.
The Dutchman was a straight sets winner, by 2-0, at Dublin’s Citywest Hotel, where the Northwich ace missed a dart at tops in the deciding leg of the first set.
He had recovered from two legs down to put himself in contention.
“Who knows what might have happened if that went in?” said the 32-year-old afterwards.
“I felt a bit more like it last night.”
Van Barneveld, beaten by Kellett in their first head-to-head at the German Masters last month, moved into a 2-0 lead after finishing 61 on double 18 in the first leg before adding to his advantage on double eight.
Kellett broke back on double four, then landed a 111 checkout to level with his opponent waiting on 32.
However he missed a second double top when on 100 leaving van Barneveld, who had won Sunday’s Players Championship as a warm-up for the Grand Prix, to steal the set on double 16.
He swept through the second without reply, hitting two 180s in a 12-darter and finishes of 118 and then 94 – despite a 180 from Kellett – to set up a last 16 date with defending champion Michael van Gerwen.
Van Barneveld said: “Stuart is a brilliant player so I’m glad to get through that one.
“I lost to him a couple of weeks ago and that was a warning. Every round at this level these days feels like a final and I knew it wouldn’t be easy.
“I felt comfortable in the first couple of legs, then Stuart played two or three good ones. I think a good finish to win the first set was important.”
He meets van Gerwen in an all-Dutch clash tomorrow, Thursday, after last year’s winner saw off two-time finalist John Part.
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