Bitter World Cup vs. Smith
Martin Schindler exceeds the feeling of darts
By Kevin Schulte, London
It was not enough for the big sensation of the World Cup of Darts: Martin Schindler was the second German to be eliminated from the most important tournament of the year. ‘The Wall’ lost 4-3 to Michael Smith at Alexandra Palace in London after a big fight.
Germany has (almost) a darts holiday immediately after Christmas at the world championships in London. After Gabriel Clemens reached the knockout stages on Tuesday night, everything seemed to indicate that Martin Schindler was set to win in sensational fashion over England’s top player and title contender Michael Smith. In the end, however, the German ran out of steam, Smith turned the game from a 1:3 deficit into a narrow 4:3 victory.
Initially booed by the mostly English fans on the march to the biggest darts stage in the world, the game had started well from the German’s point of view. With an average of more than 100 points, “The Wall”, as the native of Brandenburg is nicknamed, secured the first set of a very fine 3-2. Although Smith fought back with a good 3-0 in the second half, Schindler came out of the second half with fireworks. Schindler won sets three and four, buying the nerve of his much-favorite opponent with a number of 180 shots.
The fact that Smith managed to “Big Fish” (checking 170 points with three throws) didn’t bother Schindler for long. This increasingly sat with high scores and kept its composure on double fields. “I’m going to have to club all the time to catch up,” Schindler had feared beforehand.
At times, however, Schindler acted like he was going wild in what was easily the biggest and most important match of his career. There were again complications with luggage at London Airport on the return trip to Britain on Boxing Day. ” There was a problem. The staff went on strike. The suitcase has not been unloaded. game to “Sport1”.
Even the chaos of the lucky suitcase didn’t help against Michael Smith. For Martin Schindler, one dramatic darts night at “Ally Pally” just wasn’t enough. Because the “Bully Boy” with the courage of desperation under sometimes strong pressure hit the decisive double fields and made a 3:3 deficit in sets from a 1:3 deficit and finally scored a little better in the “Decide”.
Van Gerwen continued despite the arrogance attack
Just before the duel between Smith and Schindler, world championship favorite Michael van Gerwen sent a signal to the competition with a terrific performance. For his Austrian opponent Mensur Suljovic, a peak performance was not enough to create the sensation. Although Suljovic hit 65% of his attempts on the eight-millimeter narrow double fields, “MvG” almost always had a ready answer and therefore prevailed 4:1. By the end of the game, the World Cup favorite was averaging 107 points per shot. By far the best value of a player in the current World Cup.
Statistics that the third in the world ranking and world champion of 2014, 2017 and 2019 also needed to qualify for the knockout stages. Sets one and two narrowly went to van Gerwen. The third set was again grabbed by Suljovic 3-1. And in the next round as well, “The Gentle” held up well in the race with his outstanding double rate of over 80% at times. Until “MvG” made a statement in the deciding game with two 180 shots and took a 3-1 lead.
What looked like the preliminary decision only emboldened underdog Suljovic even more. The fifth round was also to be played in the decisive round. Here, everything looked like Michael van Gerwen’s first dartboard. But the 33-year-old deliberately missed a chance for Bullseye to face an easier brace instead. A crisis of arrogance that Suljovic was able to punish immediately. Suljovic took 161 points to zero and ‘Ally Pally’ – ‘MvG’ fans aside – ecstatic. Ultimately, however, Suljovic’s victory was no longer decisive for the outcome of the match. The number five match dart was eventually used by van Gerwen.
The double world champion Anderson already absent
In the first game of the evening session, Joe Cullen surprisingly clearly won against Australian Damon Heta. The “rock star”, who is now Michael Smith’s next opponent in the round of 16 on Friday afternoon, won 4-0.
In the afternoon, on the other hand, the double world champion Gary Anderson had to say goodbye to the tournament. After reaching the final of the 2021 World Cup and making the semi-finals last year, the ‘Flying Scotsman’ was knocked out in the third round of the 2023 World Darts Championship. Anderson was never able to lean on his successful years against Chris Dobey. The 4-1 loss amounts to a dramatic drop in the world rankings, which is based on prize money earned over the past two years. Anderson is no longer in the top 20.
Firefighter Alan Soutar also went one round further, beating Danny Noppert after trailing 2-0. In the first game of the day, José de Sousa ran an even bigger deficit against Ryan Searle. The Portuguese came back from a 0:3 deficit, survived a match dart from Searle and still won 4:3. “The Special One” earned a round of 16 win over world number one Gerwyn Price on Thursday night.
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