How about that then? Never before had a German won a German Darts Masters tie. Now three of them have done it, all at once.
Germany’s public transport system is a bit too efficient for them to understand the ‘London bus’ theory, but it came into play at the Lanxess Arena on Friday. First, Nico Kurz became the first German to win a match at the German Darts Masters. Then Gabriel Clemens did it. And then Martin Schindler added his name to the list.
Incredibly, it’s the first time in World Series history that three PDC invitees have gone out on day one. The size of those scalps – Gary Anderson, Raymond van Barneveld and Michael van Gerwen – makes it all the more impressive. The final day of play could dish out yet more drama.
Kurz after double Scot scuttling
Let’s start with Kurz, the 22-year-old, who wasn’t fancied to lay a finger on Gary Anderson. Thanks to an impressive 95 average and the Scot’s inability to go up a gear, Kurz claimed the win. It was a magical moment for a man whose previous big stage exploits have ended in narrow defeat. He may feel he can topple Peter Wright too. Snakebite was pushed by Robert Marijanovic, and isn’t averse to a surprise drop in form.
The second tie of the evening’s a dreadfully vanilla affair. We’ll have to settle for the dull old prospect of two of the world’s best duking it out. James Wade and Daryl Gurney made short work of Kevin Munch and Christian Bunse. Given their half of the draw, both will feel like a spot in the final is within easy reach. It’s a hell of a quarter-final hurdle to leap first, though.
Mini Martin targets Gentle giant
At 5-1 down to the best player in the world, Martin Schindler looked dead and buried. If he tires of ‘The Wall’ as a nickname, he can surely claim ‘Lazarus’ now. The diminutive two-time world youth finalist will be a much bigger challenge for Mensur Suljovic than Maik Langendorf was. There’s nothing to say that Schindi can’t play David to Suljovic’s Goliath.
Perversely, the German player who performed the best in the German Darts Masters first round won’t be in the second round. Max Hopp, averaging 106.62, was stupendous. Unfortunately, Rob Cross has the game to beat stupendous darts. A mesmerising 100 per cent doubles success rate put the world number two through. Now he faces Gabriel Clemens, who was the favourite against Raymond van Barneveld, and proved why with aplomb. Cross will need to keep up that ruthless streak.
The final stages
Play starts at 8pm local time, or 7pm BST, with all the play shown on ITV4.
The first semi-final will pit Wright or Kurz against the winner of the Wade-Gurney clash. Then we could see Schindler versus Clemens, Cross against Suljovic, or a mix of PDC star and homegrown hero.
Calling the finalists might leave you prone to embarrassment in hindsight. Probably best to watch and drink it all in.
Peter Wright v Nico Kurz
Daryl Gurney v James Wade
Martin Schindler v Mensur Suljovic
Rob Cross v Gabriel Clemens
Wright/Kurz v Gurney/Wade
Schindler/Suljovic v Cross/Clemens
Winner SF1 v Winner SF2
Author: Ed McCosh