Jelle Klaasen and Beau Greaves claimed the top titles as the Dutch Open, the world’s biggest open darts competition, took place for the first time in more than two years at De Bonte Wever in Assen this past weekend. Andrew Sinclair recaps the action.
In 2006, Jelle Klaasen became the youngest World Champion in darting history. He’ll get the chance to become a two-time World Champion in 2023 after winning the Dutch Open, the second Platinum-graded tournament of 2022.
After two days of play, the field of almost 2,000 men was whittled down to just two – ‘The Cobra’ and Scotland’s Mark Barilli. In the end, Klaasen had far too much for the reigning Hungarian Classic champion, dropping just three legs in a comfortable 3-0 sets victory.
Klaasen had to survive match darts in the semi-final before overcoming Thibault Tricole 2-1. The Frenchman, runner-up in this year’s WDF World Championship, looked as though he was going to breeze into the final after taking the first set 3-0 with finishes of 114, 138 and 135.
He had two match darts in the second set but couldn’t convert, Klaasen instead taking out 80 with a double-double finish to level the match before winning the third set 3-1 with legs in 11, 15 and 14 darts.
Tricole, who finished their last-four meeting with an average six points higher and slightly better finishing stats, would have sealed qualification for the Australian Open with victory. However, his defeat means that it’s James Hurrell and Luke Littler who’ll be heading down in New South Wales in August instead.
Prior to that, Klaasen had been relatively untroubled in making his way to a first WDF ranking title in 16 years. He got through Saturday’s early rounds without dropping a leg and then on Sunday consistently averaged in the high 80s and low 90s as he beat Patrick van den Boogaard, 2019 champion Richard Veenstra, Aaron Turner and Jurjen van der Velde.
It was a largely similar story for Barilli, who after defeating the likes of Owen Roelofs, Willem Mandigers, Antony Allen and Gian van Veen also found himself a set down in the semi-finals before picking up the next two to see off the impressive challenge of Dutchman Ivo Leeksma.
WDF Boys World Champion Bradly Roes impressed in reaching the quarter-finals of the Men’s Open, although Men’s World Champion Neil Duff suffered an early exit at the hands of Belgium’s Levi Windels.
Klaasen, meanwhile, picked up €5,000 for his victory and joins Duff, Dave Prins, James Hurrell, Sebastian Bialecki and Luke Littler in sealing an automatic spot at next year’s World Championship.
WDF World Champion Beau Greaves continues to look almost untouchable on the oche after defeating Rhian O’Sullivan 5-1 to add the Dutch Open crown to her ever-growing trophy cabinet.
After winning her opening two games 3-0, the 18-year-old beat Melissa Landkroon 4-1 to set up a Last 16 clash with Margaret Sutton, a winner of two ranking events in 2022.
Greaves breezed through that 4-0 and from there, her path started to look a little like it did at Lakeside back in April as she recorded successive victories over Lorraine Winstanley and Kirsty Hutchinson.
O’Sullivan provided the opposition in the final after following up her quarter-final win over the 2020 champion Aileen de Graaf with a 4-2 success against Germany’s Irina Armstrong.
O’Sullivan, a Welsh Classic finalist last month, took the opening leg of the title decider against the darts but Greaves immediately broke back. That leg, a 20-darter, was the start of a superb five-leg run, highlighted by a brilliant 122 finish, that carried ‘Beau ‘n’ Arrow’ to victory and a 16th career ranking title.
That win in Assen takes Greaves, who finished the final with an 85.21 average, above Deta Hedman and into first place in the WDF World Rankings.
The Dutch Open Boys title has long been one of the most prestigious Youth titles on the WDF tour and Dylan van Lierop is the latest player to add their name to the tournament’s roll of honour.
The Dutch teenager looked highly impressive in defeating Sydney de Vries 4-0 in the stage final, finishing with a 75.15 average.
His victory made it a youth title double for the home nation after Roos van der Velde had, earlier in the afternoon, pinned double one to nick a very tight Girls final against Germany’s Marlene Klupsch.
The Dutch didn’t have it all their own way though, as Slovakia’s Dominik Kocik won the Boys Under-14 final 3-2 against Koen Schreuders.
Fresh off the success of last month’s World Paradarts Winmau World Trophy in Belgium, there were two Paradarts competitions played as part of the Dutch Open weekend.
Michelovic van Velzen beat Jackie Goethals in the final of the Standing tournament, with Serge van Belle overcoming close friend and rival Vincent D’Hondt in the Wheelchair event.
The next opportunity for players to seal automatic spots at the WDF World Championships comes on July 24th with the Gold-ranked New Zealand Open in Motueka.
The third Platinum-graded event of the year, the Australian Darts Open, kicks off a little over a week later. Neil Duff, Lisa Ashton and Mikuru Suzuki are among those to have already booked their places in what should be a great event, with further national and regional qualifiers set to be determined in the coming weeks.