Dream of darts: the vice-world champion a size too big for Schindler

He was very close, had the big favorite on the verge of defeat….

But he did not cross the finish line. 27 hours after Gabriel Clemens’ furious 4-3 against Jim Williams, Martin Schindler had to bow to the speed and quality of Michael Smith, despite sometimes exceptional performances. The 26-year-old lost 3:4. Germany will be in the round of 16 Darts World Championship represented by Clemens alone. “I had my back against the wall,” admitted the world number four after the match.

After Schindler cheered from the spectator area the night before, Germany’s top two players swapped roles on Wednesday night. And “The Wall” made it clear from the start against the 2022 World Cup finalists that he was very keen to challenge the favorite and 2022 World Cup finalists that evening. He missed early break chances in the first leg, but in the deciding game he started with six perfect darts against the throw and won the first set. His average was promising: 101.27.

The atmosphere in the famous Ally Pally was great again

Photo: Steven Paston/dpa

He had met Smith nine times on the tour so far, just once, in August 2021, was enough for a narrow win. And soon after, Schindler was called back to his class again. The Strausberger dropped 40 points in the first leg of the second set, but was then knocked out in the face with the best possible result. Smith checked the 170 points. A feat that only the German had managed to do in the tournament so far. The second round went well for the “Bully Boy” with an average of 107.36 points.

In the third set, Schindler had the chance to score his second world championship 170. He hit the triple 20 twice and just missed the check on the bullseye – but he still had the leg and bounced onto the stage like a bouncing ball after the break. Encouraged by the many German fans, the duel against the Englishman increasingly turned into a home game. After four breaks, the two met in the decider, and Schindler again came out as strong as an ox: five of his first six shots landed in the triple-20. Shortly after, he erased 88 points in two darts to win a 2-1 set. An 11-darter in the deciding set. Pure world class!

Schmidt played at eye level with the big favorite

Schmidt played at eye level with the big favorite

Photo: Steven Paston/dpa

“Oh, how beautiful,” echoed the Alexandra Palace, and memories of the previous evening stirred, but the 26-year-old was still two sentences away from the sensation. A few minutes later, however, it took on clear outlines: With a box of 128, the number 29 in the world rankings broke at 2-0 in the fourth set and thus also the new set perfectly winner: 3: 1 for the German. Smith now needed three straight sets.

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However, Schindler could also note the great opportunity just before the finish line. He missed five chances for what was perhaps a decisive break to make it 2-1, was punished for the errors, but then at least held his shot and forced Smith to make the call. With 121 points to play, he might have had a chance at a match dart, but he only hit the single-5 with the first dart. Smith checked the double 20 to make it 2-3. The favorites had now found their rhythm and won set six 3-1. The seventh and final round was to bring the decision.

Smith used his throwing advantage and took a 1-0 lead, but Schindler countered again after both teams missed chances to make it 1-1. The tension was unbearable and the pressure on both pros was immense. However, the experienced Englishman showed nothing, checked 83 points with two darts, and then walked away. His first match dart landed in the middle of the double 20. At the end of the day the average throw was 95.36 points, he hit 40% of his doubles, the dream of the first title lives on.

“Bully Boy” Smith was sometimes under a lot of pressure

Photo: Getty Images

had before Michel van Gerwen supported his ambitions for the world title, but struggled much more than expected in his task. Mensur Suljovic proved to be a real touchstone for the Dutchman in the 4:2. “It was a great game, definitely my best in the last three years,” said the Serbian, who started for Austria.

Months of suffering hide behind Suljovic. Due to latent health problems following his corona vaccination in the summer of 2021, he was only able to train continuously for a few weeks. All the more surprising was his performance against van Gerwen, who had to play an incredible average of 115.84 points to win the first two sets of the decisive.

His opponent scored 102.9, showed incredible safety when checking and won the third set 3:1. When he took a 2-1 lead in the fourth round, even the sensation seemed possible. His doubles rate was still an incredible 82%, he had hit nine of his eleven attempts. But van Gerwen forced the decider and started with six perfect darts – the basis for 3:1 after the sets.

The next round also went over five innings, with the match scene in the last. ‘Mighty Mike’ didn’t trust Suljovic with 161 points to win the set, gave up his match dart on the bullseye with 50 points left and instead went 32 points left on the 18. A mistake – l The Austrian asked the Dutchman to triple-20, triple-17, Bullseye at 2:3 after the sets. “You have to trust every player to check. You shouldn’t do what he did,” Suljovic later criticized, while van Gerwen admitted: “I would do it again and again.”

The two exceptional players played an exciting match

The two exceptional players played an exciting match

Photo: Getty Images

Unrelated to the result, but indicative of how close it was between the two: the legs were tied at 12-12. Who would have thought that before? The fact that van Gerwen then succeeded, kept his cool and closed the game at 4:2 could no longer hurt his opponent’s performance. However, in the astonishment of the 50-year-old’s resurrection, van Gerwen’s solid performance went down a bit further: the Dutchman finished with an average of 107.66 points and remains the top contender for the really big shot in the final. in January. 3rd would mean returning to first place in the world rankings.

By early evening, another player, Joe Cullen, was in talks for the title. The English beat Australian Damon Heta 4-0. “It wasn’t great, it was solid at best,” the “Rockstar” said after his 98.09 average, underscoring his own assertions.

After the last four games of the third round, the first two knockout stages will take place on Thursday evening in London. Gerwyn Price meets Jose de Sousa, young Josh Rock challenges Jonny Clayton. For him, it continues on Friday afternoon. Gabriel Clemens then wants to be the first German to reach a quarter-final of the World Cup against the Scottish Alan Soutar.

Darts World Championship, 3rd round results

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