The Darts World Championship hasn’t even reached the round of 16 and the defending champion is already gone. A day after Christmas, Peter Wright experienced a very nasty mess at Alexandra Palace. “Snakebite” lost 4-1 to Belgian Kim Huybrechts. and, like two years ago, was eliminated as world champion in round three.
The number 31 in the world laid the foundation for his victory in the fourth round. It was Wright’s throw-off, but the Scot, who seemed powerless from the start, lost the decider and found himself trailing 1:3. However, the result corresponded to the actual balance of power on stage. While Huybrechts had a decent average of 96.4 points at the time, the number two in the world rankings stagnated at 90.81. In the fifth round, the favorite saved himself again in the decider and even had a chance to make it 2:3, but missed double 18.
“That wasn’t Peter Wright,” Huybrechts later admitted: “I hit the name of Peter Wright, but not the person. She wasn’t present today. Usually he’s 20 times better. That’s why I’m not going to brag about hitting him now. But I took my chances.”
For the 2022 world champion, it’s the logical end of a messed-up season. Since his title in January, there have been no major successes. At the latest after the health problems of his wife Joanne, who had complications following a gallbladder operation, it was unclear whether and how the 52-year-old would present himself at the highlight of the season. Huybrechts, on the other hand, secured his place in the top 32 with £35,000 in prize money and now meets his compatriot and friend Dimitri van den Bergh in the round of 16.
At the beginning of the evening, Gabriel Clemens, the “German Giant”, beat Jim Williams 4:3 in an extraordinary thriller. Then Gerwyn Price didn’t give old master Raymond van Barneveld a chance. In the afternoon, alongside van den Bergh and Jonny Clayton, youngster Josh Rock also reached the round of 16. The 21-year-old Northern Irishman defeated Nathan Aspinall 4:3 in a high quality and exciting match. Wednesday afternoon is dedicated to Gary Anderson, who, like in the past twelve years, wants to reach the round of 16, and tournament favorite Michael van Gerwen in the evening. In the last match, Strausberger Martin Schindler wants to create a surprise against Michael Smith and reach the round of 16 as the second German.
Dimitri van den Bergh (BEL/15) – Krzysztof Ratajski (POL/18) 4:1 (3:2; 3:0; 0:3; 3:1; 3:1)
Nathan Aspinall (ENG/10) – Josh Rock (NIR) 3:4 (2:3; 3:1, 3:1; 1:3; 2:3; 3:0; 1:3)
Jonny Clayton (WAL/7) – Brendan Dolan (NIR/26) 4:1 (3:2; 3:2; 3:2; 2:3; 3:2)
Jim Williams (WAL) – Gabriel Clemens (D/25) 3:4 (1:3; 3:0; 1:3; 3:2; 3:1; 2:3; 1:3)
Gerwyn Price (WAL/1) – Raymond van Barneveld (NED/32) 4:0 (3:1; 3:1; 3:2; 3:1)
Peter Wright (SCO/2) – Kim Huybrechts (BEL/31) 1:4 (3:0; 0:3; 1:3; 2:3; 2:3)
3rd round (from 1.45 p.m.):
Ryan Searle (ENG/16) – Jose de Sousa (ENG/17)
Danny Noppert (NED/9) – Alan Soutar (SCO)
Gary Anderson (SCO/11) – Chris Dobey (ENG/22)
from 8.15 p.m.:
Joe Cullen (ENG/13) – Damon Heta (AUS/20)
Michael van Gerwen (NED/3) – Mensur Suljovic (AUT/30)
Michael Smith (ENG/4) – Martin Schindler (D/29)