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Dutch Darts Masters: Luke Littler beats Dirk van Duijvenbode to reach quarter-finals

Luke Littler celebrates on the oche
Luke Littler came into the Dutch Masters as the number one seed

Teenager Luke Littler brushed aside Dutchman Dirk van Duijvenbode despite being far from his best in the Dutch Masters first round.

Littler, who turned 17 on Sunday, shot to prominence at the World Darts Championship this month as he reached the final on his debut.

He followed that by winning his first PDC senior title at the Bahrain Masters last week.

Littler's average was down at 90.85 but a superb 150 checkout sealed a 6-2 win.

He has prepared for this event by returning to a darts academy in his hometown Warrington before visiting the Manchester United training ground and playing darts against England defender Harry Maguire and Denmark's Christian Eriksen.

There were a few boos for Littler as he waited at the end of the walk-on, but he showed his usual composure by cupping his ears with a smile on his face.

He settled straight into the game with a 180 on his way to winning the first leg, before breaking Van Duijvenbode's throw.

The pair then exchanged breaks before successive holds left Littler one leg from victory.

He saved the best for last with his first 100-plus finish in the match to seal a comfortable victory and a place in Saturday's quarter-finals.

Home players shock PDC 'superstars'

Last week's opening World Series event in Bahrain saw all eight PDC 'superstars' progress through the first round, but the opening two games of the night ensured that was not the case in Den Bosch.

World number four Nathan Aspinall and two-time world champion Peter Wright were outclassed, both losing 6-2 to Danny Noppert and Kevin Doets respectively in front of a jubilant crowd.

Wales' Gerwyn Price ended the run with a 6-3 win over defending Dutch Masters champion Dimitri van den Bergh, but 21-year-old Gian van Veen then shocked a below-average Michael Smith to win 6-3.

Van Veen, like Doets, is playing in his first World Series event and lost to Littler in the World Youth Championship final in November.

The Dutch domination continued as five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld recovered from going an early break down to beat Rob Cross in a final-leg decider, ensuring at least one Dutch player will be in the final.

World champion and world number one Luke Humphries faces Jermaine Wattimena and Dutchman Michael van Gerwen plays compatriot Vincent van der Voort in the two remaining first-round games on Friday.

The tournament concludes with the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final on Saturday from 18:00 GMT, with live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app and live TV coverage on ITV3.

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