It’s done. 17 years after the first participation of Andree Welge and “Shorty Seyler”, a German has made it into the quarterfinals of the darts world championship. Gabriel Clemens made history with the 4:1 win against Alan Soutar. Two years ago, the Saarlander was the first and only one of the 16 German World Cup starters to reach the round of 16. Now the next big step has followed.
The 39-year-old started well against the Scot, claiming the first four legs in a row. When he went into the break after the first set, he had thrown his first 180, checked a high finish with 114 points, had an average of 100.2 points and had only thrown one arrow past the outer ring – a dream start that gave the “German Giant” has already secured at least a small improvement. In his first round of 16 participation two years ago, he lost 4-0 to Welshman Jonny Clayton.
After the early break to make it 1-0, however, the first mistakes crept in. Three missed chances on double eight prevented the 2-0 in the second leg and he made two mistakes on doubles in the next leg as well. The Scottish firefighter took advantage of the favor.
The set equalization and the missed opportunities left no traces. It is one of the greatest strengths of the down-to-earth Saarwellinger not to be thrown off course by the course of the game. With 3:0 he got the third set and took the lead again.
There was no sign of any particular pressure from the historic opportunity. “That’s not what I’m about,” he said before the match in an interview with “Sport1”: “I want to play a good game, and if I can do that, I have a good chance.”
It succeeded. As with his 4:3 coup in round three against Jim Williams, he was there especially in the decisive moments of the match. This was also the case in round four: With an 11-darter he forced his opponent into the decider and kept his nerve. On double eight he checked with the last dart in hand to make it 3-1 in sets. A big point.
Unlike Martin Schindler, who narrowly lost 3:4 to superstar Michael Smith in the third round and lost a 3:1 lead, “Gaga” pulled through. A decent point average of 93.96 was enough thanks to an excellent double rate of 41.9 percent.
Even two missed match darts to make it 3-0 on double 18 did not faze him. He later got the set in the decider with the fifth match dart, but also had to survive another set dart from his opponent. The question of what would have happened if Soutar had checked remained unanswered. Clemens’ hit on double 20 became an arrow for the history books.
With the success and his personal record prize money of 50,000 pounds, he passed Soutar’s compatriot Gary Anderson in the world rankings and improved to 21st place for the time being. If he were successful again, he would be the first German to make it into the top 20. But he would have to overcome a very high hurdle to do so. Opponent on January 1st is world number one Gerwyn Price. Previously, the Belgian Dimitri van den Bergh had also reached the quarterfinals. The world number 15 prevailed in a one-sided match against compatriot Kim Huybrechts and now meets Jonny Clayton after the rest day in the new year.
Round of 16:
Kim Huybrechts (BEL/31) – Dimitri van den Bergh (BEL/15) 0:4 (0:3; 2:3; 1:3; 0:3)
Gabriel Clemens (D/25) – Alan Soutar (SCO) 4:1 (3:0; 1:3; 3:0; 3:2; 3:2)
Michael Smith (ENG/4) – Joe Cullen (ENG/13)
from 8.15 p.m.:
Chris Dobey (ENG/22) – Rob Cross (ENG/6)
Michael van Gerwen (NED/3) – Dirk van Duijvenbode (NED/14)
Stephen Bunting (ENG/21) – Luke Humphries (ENG/5)
From 1.45 p.m. (order of games still open):
Gerwyn Price (WAL/1) – Gabriel Clemens (D/25)
Michael van Gerwen (NED/3)/Dirk van Duijvenbode (NED/14) – Rob Cross (ENG/6)/Chris Dobey (ENG/22)
Michael Smith (ENG/4)/Joe Cullen (ENG/13) – Luke Humphries (ENG/5)/Stephen Bunting (ENG/21)
Jonny Clayton (WAL/7) – Dimitri Van Den Bergh (BEL/15)