Darts history does not repeat itself this time: Florian Hempel narrowly missed a sensation in the second round of the World Cup. From a German point of view, the tournament still has the potential to become a memorable one. Although Martin Schindler is still waiting for his arrows.
366 days after his sensational coup in "Ally Pally" Florian Hempel has almost done it again: Germany's third-best darts professional according to the world rankings led 2-1 in sets against Luke Humphries late Thursday evening. At that moment, Hempel was on the verge of taking fifth place on the seed list out of the tournament for the second time in his second World Cup appearance.
On his debut last year, Hempel triumphed sensationally against top Belgian player Dimitri Van den Bergh. He was then, just like Humphries this year, number five in the world rankings. "Maybe that's a good omen," Hempel said before the tournament started in the darts podcast "Checkout".
And indeed, after this third sentence, things looked good for the 32-year-old former handball semi-professional. Hempel had dominated the first set against an initially weak Humphries, but in the end almost gave up due to massive problems throwing onto the doubles. Although Hempel took a 1-0 lead, the checkout difficulties should anticipate the end of the game.
Humphries responded to the early shock with a smooth 3-0 in the second set. But the 27-year-old couldn't keep up the momentum. The third set went to Hempel, who was able to benefit from his opponent's double problems in this round. "I took a 2-1 lead, but didn't really know why. Luke was better in the game," said Hempel after the game at Sport1. Humphries was able to underline in the fourth set that the interim lead actually belied the course of the game. The round went to "Cool Hand Luke" with a smooth 3:0.
In the fifth set, the decision was ultimately made at 1:1 in the legs. Hempel couldn't get 80 points to zero, narrowly missing double ten. Humphries, on the other hand, got his double weakness under control in the decisive phase of all times, and the Englishman couldn't take the 2-1 lead in the deciding set with his own throw.
"Florian played well when I played well. Florian played badly when I played badly. A strange game," Humphries summed up after his resounding victory at the start of the Darts World Cup. Resilience was the key to victory. "The experience I've gained over the past 18 months has allowed me to win this game. You don't become number five in the world by throwing in the towel."
After the game, Hempel struggled with his double quota of just 25 percent. Not enough to create the next sensation against a top player. "I didn't reward myself. The double quota wasn't what I imagined. It was a chaotic game. The nervousness was palpable, and so was Luke," summarized Hempel, who jumped to 50th place in the world rankings after the World Cup. in an interview with Sport1.
The narrow end of Cologne by choice is the first damper for darts Germany at this year's World Cup in London's Alexandra Palace. Gabriel Clemens, ranked 24th in the seeding list, won his opening game in an impressive manner on Wednesday evening. In round three, the Saarlander meets Jim Williams somewhat surprisingly on December 27th. The Welshman was victorious over world number eight James Wade just before the Hempel match.
For Clemens, the starting position changes fundamentally before his next game. The "German Giant" would have been an outsider against Wade, in the duel with Williams Clemens is the slight favorite in the race. The defeat of Wade offers an open picture in the tournament tableau. With a victory over Williams, Clemens would set the previous top result of a German at the Darts World Cup. Clemens himself was the only German darts professional to reach the round of 16 two years ago.
Martin Schindler is the third and last German to enter the tournament this Friday evening. Strausberger, who lives in Hesse, plays in the first game of the evening session against the Englishman Martin Lukeman. A hard-fought, very balanced game is likely. For Schindler, it's about winning a game at "Ally Pally" for the first time ever. In three World Cup appearances, the 26-year-old was eliminated in round one.
Thanks to his status as a top 32 player, he is now safely in round two, but victory in the most important darts tournament in the world remains the declared goal. "I really want to win my first game, and then I'll be able to beat Smith if this match comes up," Schindler said before the tournament started in the "Checkout" podcast. Against the two-time world champion and fourth in the world rankings Michael Smith, Schindler would be a clear outsider in the next round. A win against Lukeman should provide the necessary looseness.
The preparation of the German was anything but normal. Schindler gave birth to a daughter last week. It is quite possible that the birth of the world number 29. gives an extra boost. Schindler's arrival, on the other hand, was not optimal. The first flight to London was canceled without further ado, and after a rebooking, the flight to the British capital was two hours late. However, the luggage did not come along, including the jersey and darts, which are not allowed to be transported in hand luggage.
Without further ado, Schindler visited an English dart shop, which equipped him with a set of his own darts. "That's why I can play. Nevertheless, I hope that my own luggage will still arrive," Schindler wrote on Facebook.