Michael Smith is the first player through to the Quarter-Finals at the World Matchplay after victory over Max Hopp which saw him win 12-10 in the end.
It is a first Quarter-Final in the tournament surprisingly for ‘Bully Boy’ but he was made to work for it by the Maximiser who went 4-1 up and then it was taken all the way with Smith holding his nerve to move through. Statistics wise it was a 96 average for Smith with six 180’s.
To start the tie off, Hopp pounced on missed doubles excellently early on in the contest with Smith hitting 1/9 at the interval and as a result, the Maximiser was 4-1 up.
The St Helens ace though found his mojo on the outer ring when they returned from the break with a 130 checkout being the catalyst for that.
He hit three legs on the spin including a break of throw to go 4-4. There was six perfect darts from Smith and despite Hopp nearly finishing off the leg himself, it was Smith who went into the lead.
His brilliant turnaround was complete with Smith at 6-4 with five consecutive legs, a 98 average as well as three 180’s.
He maintained his two leg advantage with a 65 checkout to go 7-5 up. Hopp though came back into the tie making it parity again with an 11-darter.
Smith hit back to regain the upperhand with a 68 checkout but Hopp produced a crucial break to go 8-8 and then held his throw to go two away.
He went one away after ‘Bully Boy’ missed three costly doubles but Smith didn’t give up and he sent it into overtime. He gained a crucial break of throw to go one away and then finished the job to move through.
Michael Smith (96.72) 12-10 (92.98) Max Hopp
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Tags: 2019 World Matchplay, Michael Smith
Michael Smith is the first man to secure a spot in the Quarter-Finals after a thrilling 12-10 victory over Max Hopp
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— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) July 23, 2019
Author: Samuel Gill