Yesterday was the opening night of the Darts word cu in Frankfurt, Germany, the hosts were in action later on as well as Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis of England. There were no shocks on the opening night as all the usual suspects took their places In the round of 16.
Number 12 seeds Spain were the first team to make it through to the semi-finals with a 5-0 whitewash of Norway. The Spanish pair of PDC professional Cristo Reyes and Antonio Alcinas controlled the match throughout hitting an average of 91 to see off their opponents. Both teams showed elements of class in the fourth leg by hitting 180’s but overall the match was played at a slow tempo which favoured the throwing style of the Spanish. Of course they reached the Semi final in 2001 and will hope to do so again after an impressive opening display.
The second match saw 16th favourites Japan take on fellow Asian duo China. The Chinese’s miscounting led to Japan taking the first leg. They squeezed through the second leg on double 2 after China missed 6 leg darts. It’s important to remember that none of these players are professionals and have day jobs, so practise is at a minimum compared to the big names of the sport. Saying that, Morihiro Hashimoto played in this years World Championship and took out a 74 with two darts to stretch Japan’s lead to 3 legs. The fourth was taken with the bullseye and they rounded off the victory with a simple double 16 finish.
The vigerous pairing of Mensur Suljovic and Rowby-John Rodriguez fought back from 2-1 down to beat the unpredicatble Czech Republic duo by 5 legs to 2. The Czech’s looked like the best unseeded pairing of the night as they romped into a lead early on. The experienced Suljovic took time to settle into his methodical rhythm, but once he had got rid of the nerves he started to hit the big scores that took him past Michael Van Gerwen in the 2010 World Championships. The break of throw in the fifth leg was crucial as Austria then played on with confidence to conclude the game with a 5-2 win.
The fourth match of the night saw Gibraltar pitched against Italy. Both teams produced some excellent darts but Dyson Parody’s finishing was the difference between the two teams. With his bubbly personality firing up the crowd, they were firmly supporting Parody ad his partner Manuel Vilerio. After loosing the opening leg they took control and took a 3-1 lead. Marco Brentagali did all the leg work for the Italian pair, but his partner Daniele Petri let him down o numerous occassions. Dyson Parody took out double 5 at the first time of asking queuing wild celebrations and a 5-2 victory to send the Gibraltan pair through to the next round.
Pre-tournament 5th favourites the Huybrechts brothers, eased to a 5-1 victory over the Philippines. Ronnie struggled in the opening legs but with Kim hitting four 180’s they were able to ease past the unseeded pair. After experiencing this years Premier League Kim is now a vastly improved player and at times had to carry his older brother through the tricky first round tie. The former runners-up gained confidence throughout the match with Ronnie hitting a 132 to settle the score.
After losing last years final to the Dutch, the English duo of 16 time World Champion and world number 4 Adrian Lewis will be hoping they can go one better and claim the trophy as they did in 2012 and 2013. They took on a Danish side littered with experience. 49-year-old Per Laurson beat Terry Jenkins in last years World Championship but has failed to win a major in the PDC. His partner Per Skau made his first appearance back in 1992. England took a 2-0 lead without giving the Dane’s a dart at double and their dominance would continue as they took the third leg with ease. They continued to cruise past the Danish pair with 5-0 whitewash to set up a meeting with Japan.
The German home favourites Max Hopp and Jyhun Artut glided past India with Artut playing an outstanding game. He has always played well when representing his country but has failed to make an impact on the big stage. The home crowd got firmly behind the German pair with youngster Hopp feeling the pressure at times. The experience of Artut was enough to win the match 5-0. They will now face Austria in the most mouth-watering clash of the second round and with the big scores and accurate finishing they produced last night, you wouldn’t put it past them to reach the quarter finals.
The final match of the night was an sterling spectacle and the crowd could just sit and applaud as Simon Whitlock produced the darts of the night to sent him and his partner the controversial Paul Nicholson into the round of 16 with a win over Russia. Whitlock hit a 140 and a 177 in the opening leg to give his nation an unassailable lead before hitting two consecutive double 4 shots to give Australia a 4 leg cushion. Paul Nicholson missed 3 darts at double 16 and gave Aleksei Kadoshlikov a chance to take out 114. He obliged to reduce the deficit to 2 legs. In the fifth leg it was the Russian’s turn to miss and given hit back by taking out 60 with 20 double top. Nicholson completed the victory with a double 10. Hopefully this can be a confidence booster for ‘The Asset’ who’s national team place is under pressure from Kyle Anderson.