Ricardo Pietreczko caused a small sensation on the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) tour. The 28-year-old, who has been on the circuit since this season, made it to the semi-finals of the Players Championship 28 in Barnsley, England, celebrating the greatest success of his career.
“Pikachu”, already in strong form at the tournaments on the previous days, crowned an extremely successful day from a German point of view.
With Pietreczko, Martin Schindler, Gabriel Clemens, Florian Hempel and Max Hopp, all five German players who are on the professional tour had reached the third round. And the fact that the path ended for two after two opening wins was solely due to defeats against compatriots.
Schindler lost 4:6 in a duel between the two best German dart players Clemens. Hempel, who made up ground in the race for a World Cup ticket and qualification for the Players Championship Finals at the end of November, surprisingly lost 6-1 to Hopp. With Hopp, Clemens and Pietreczko, however, three Germans were also in the round of 16.
Pietreczko confidently prevailed on his triumphal march against Englishman Ryan Meikle (6:4), John O’Shea from Ireland (6:2) and Dutchman Luc Peters (6:2). In the round of 16 he beat the German number one with Clemens 6:4 and defeated Ross Smith 6:1 in the quarterfinals.
The fairy tale ended for the previous number 116 in the world, however, in the semifinals. He missed a few opportunities on the doubles against Luke Humphries at the beginning and had no chance against the top seeded Englishman during the course of the match. More than a 2:7 was simply not possible with a weak average of 85.42.
In the second round of the Players Championship 25 on Tuesday he had played an average of 98.31 points against Humphries and was unfortunately eliminated 5:6 after missed match darts.
For Pietreczko it was an extraordinarily successful weekend, with which the multiple Super League participant played in the top 100 for the first time and with two tournaments still to come, currently 60th, has a good chance of participating in the Players Championship Finals for the first time. 64 professionals qualify for the major tournament at the end of November.
Hempel is seven places behind him in the qualifying ranking. He is only 1500 pounds behind in 64th place and Max Hopp still has a small chance in Sunday’s form with a difference of 3750 pounds.
After months of crisis, Hopp showed an increase in performance that many no longer thought possible and advanced to the third round after victories over Adam Hunt (6:1) and Brendan Dolan (6:2). In the 6:1 win over Hempel, the long-standing German number one played an average of just over 100 and was also able to beat Englishman Ted Evetts 6:3 in the round of 16.
He held an early break against Luke Humphries in the round of the last eight, leading 3-1 but then giving down five legs in a row. Humphries thus ended the surprises of the two German outsiders, but had to admit defeat in the final to youngster Josh Rock, who, thanks to a final average of 108.07 points, kept the upper hand with 8:5 and celebrated his first title with the professionals.
The tour continues on Thursday with the European Darts Championship (live on DAZN and Sport1). Clemens and Schindler, two Germans, are also present at the four-day European Championships in Dortmund.