Joe Cullen stormed into the semi-finals of the German Darts Masters with an incredible 6-0 whitewash victory over the world champion Gary Anderson at the Ballhausforum, Dolce Hotel, Munich, on Monday evening.
‘The Rockstar’ averaged 99.6 and converted 6 of his 9 double attempts to punish an abject performance from Anderson. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ had been in sumptuous form earlier in the tournament, dropping just three legs in victories against Daryl Gurney and William O’Connor.
Nevertheless, Anderson averaged a miserly 79.17 in his quarter-final clash and only had three attempts at double in the entire match. However, Cullen deserves immense credit for a fine performance, which could secure him a place in the rest of this year’s major TV events.
Both players started sloppily initially, but Cullen sparked into life with a brilliant maximum, which he followed with a majestic 158 checkout to clinch the opening leg. The Bradford star then kicked off the second leg with successive 140’s and pinned D20 for a 13-darter to double his lead.
The world champion was lacking any sort of rhythm and was throwing an alarming number of single 1s and 5s. The 26-year-old took full advantage of his opponent’s struggles to establish a commanding 3-0 advantage, courtesy of a fantastic 144 finish.
Anderson had his first shot at double in the fourth leg and wired the bullseye for a 128 checkout, and Cullen punished this miss ruthlessly, converting D5 to move two legs away from his first ever European Tour semi-final.
Cullen, who reached his first PDC major quarter-final at the UK Open three weeks ago, was scoring prolifically and stormed to a fifth consecutive leg by pinning D14 for his second 13-darter of the contest.
The world champion appeared poised to open his account in the sixth leg after finding the trebles with greater regularity, but he missed two chances at D16 for an 86 kill, affording Cullen an opportunity to take out 54 and secure a memorable whitewash.
Cullen had been clinical throughout the contest and maintained his composure superbly, pinning D20 with his last-dart in hand, to sail through to the semi-finals and set up a clash against the world number one Michael van Gerwen, who came through an epic last-leg decider against Chris Dobey.
However, this victory underlined Cullen’s growing maturity as a player. It can be difficult to maintain your focus when a top-player is clearly playing way below their best, but Joe retained his professionalism throughout to complete a thumping victory.
It was arguably one of Anderson’s worst performances in many years, although the Scot will be aiming to bounce back when he faces James Wade in Week 9 of the Premier League at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena.
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