For the first time since 2004, the reigning Dutch Open champions are both from the Netherlands after Berry van Peer and Aileen de Graaf triumphed at De Bonte Wever in Assen this past weekend. Andrew Sinclair recaps the action.
Van Peer beats Baetens to win maiden WDF ranking title
Playing in his first WDF ranking event since the 2015 World Masters, Berry van Peer produced a string of impressive performances to claim the Dutch Open Men's title.
In the final, van Peer took on Belgium’s Andy Baetens, who’d beaten seven of van Peer’s compatriots earlier in the day to reach the title decider.
Baetens had won six legs on the spin to dump out WDF World No. 1 and 2022 Dutch Open champion Jelle Klaasen in the semi-finals and he kicked off the final in strong fashion, taking the first set with a 16-darter on throw.
Van Peer, who’d knocked off the likes of Joey ten Berge and 2023 Lakeside qualifier Arjan Konterman in the earlier rounds, responded immediately, winning the second set 3-0 in just 46 darts.
‘Bionic’ continued his upturn in the third set, producing finishes of 98 and 76 as he won it 3-1 and moved into a 2-1 lead.
Baetens did register more of a foothold in the fourth set but after he missed a dart at double 16 to tie the match, van Peer took out 25 before sealing victory with a sensational 121 finish on the bull.
Van Peer, who enjoyed success on the WDF circuit as a Youth player, finished the final with an 88.29 average and is guaranteed a place at the 2024 WDF World Championships.
Fourth home triumph for De Graaf
Aileen de Graaf produced some of her best darts to defeat Beau Greaves and win the Dutch Open for the fourth time in her career.
The former World Master was in thoroughly dominant form throughout the weekend, dropping just one leg in the six wins she recorded before facing Greaves in the final.
Greaves had won 19 consecutive matches on the WDF circuit in 2023 going into the final, where she was looking to defend the title she won in 2022 and add to the Pairs title she’d won earlier in the afternoon with Deta Hedman.
The World Champion was level pegging with de Graaf through the first four legs of the final, holding her throw twice after her Dutch opponent had recorded finishes of 75 and 94.
The turning point of the match came in the sixth leg, de Graaf punishing missed doubles from Greaves to secure a maiden break and move 4-2 up. That gave her the chance to throw for the match and she converted, producing an 80 checkout to wrap up a 5-2 victory.
Like van Peer, de Graaf is now guaranteed a place at the 2024 WDF World Championships by virtue of winning a Platinum-graded tournament.
Greaves, who’d done a title double in Romania the previous weekend, had come through one of the games of the competition in the semi-final, beating Rhian O’Sullivan 4-3 in a match that featured five 180s and saw both players average well over 90.
De Vries wins Boys Open
Having been runner-up in 2022, Sydnee de Vries found himself on the top step of the podium this year in the Boys Dutch Open.
Key to De Vries’ success was his ability to comeback from behind. Having recovered from 2-0 down to beat Caspar Gruss in the semi-finals, the Dutch teenager rallied from 2-1 and 3-2 deficits to beat Mats Theobald in the final, sealing victory with a 70 finish.
McKinlay on top in Girls Open
For the first time in five years, there was a non-Dutch winner of the Girls Dutch Open as Sophie McKinlay emerged victorious.
McKinlay, who won three titles on the WDF Youth circuit last year, didn’t drop a leg in her three games before the final against Dorina Sipos.
In what was a nervy game featuring four breaks of throw, the Scottish teenager survived multiple match darts to nick it 3-2 in the deciding leg.
Photos: Bas van den Berk / NDB