It seems that the UK Open did not quench the thirst of the darting underdog as the first day of the German Darts Championship saw big names tumble out with shocking regularity.
Having made their way all the way over to Berlin and with the Matchplay just around the corner, the top players were expected to bring their A-game, but with three of the world’s top four gone after day one, it looks more like a C for effort and D for attainment for the big boys.
For James Wade and Adrian Lewis to both go out in the first round on the same evening is almost unheard of in a major competition, but that is exactly what happened on Friday night. The world champion was unlucky to an extent as his average of plus-97 was perfectly good, but he met an inspired James Hubbard at the wrong time. The same can’t be said about Wade though who threw a miserable 91.09 to bow out to his old foe Mensur Suljovic, bringing back terrible memories of his shock World Championship defeat two years ago.
Gary Anderson was forced to withdraw with an eye problem so can’t be blamed, but the shocks results still hadn’t finished. Michael Rosenauer seeing off world finalist Andy Hamilton, Michael Mansell beating UK Open quarter-finalist Jamie Caven and Reece Robinson eliminating Richie Burnett are all major upsets that may be swept under the carpet with the likes of Wade and Lewis crashing out.
Of course, Phil Taylor did not succumb to the same problem as the great man fired in a 103 average to beat Jerry Hendricks and the Power will now be the overwhelming favourite to lift the title on Sunday.
The opportunities are now there though for the chasing pack and the likes of Justin Pipe, Dave Chisnall and Wes Newton will be all the more confident of a win against the odds now some of the heavy hitters are gone.
With the remaining field it is Taylor’s to lose, especially if he can keep up his thee-figure averages; but if day one is anything to go by we could be in for some very unusual results on Saturday.
Quarter Final Tips: Taylor, Van Barneveld, Newton, Pipe, King, Chisnall, Whitlock, Huybrechts