Home favourite Max Hopp created history by becoming the first German player to reach the quarter-finals of a PDC televised major on a dramatic night of darts in Dortmund, as James Wade, Gerwyn Price and Darren Webster also secured their places in Sunday’s quarter-finals.
However, the big story from Saturday’s action saw Max Hopp delight a partisan 7,000 crowd at the Westfalenhalle by defeating James Wilson 10-7 in a topsy-turvy affair. ‘The Maximiser’ averaged 92.59, fired in four maximums and converted 42% of his attempts at double to complete a ground-breaking moment in the history of German darts.
The opening eight legs all went with throw, before Hopp secured the lead for the first time after sinking D10. However, Wilson replied with an instant-break back; taking out a two-dart 66 combination to level up proceedings at five apiece.
The next three legs all went with throw as ‘Lethal Biscuit’ edged 7-6 ahead, but Hopp produced the goods in the latter stages; reeling off four consecutive legs to secure one of the biggest victories of his career.
The former World Youth champion restored parity at seven apiece with a mesmerising 10-dart leg, which he followed up with a 13-dart break on tops. Wilson appeared poised to break straight back and level at 8-8, but Hopp mustered up a magical 156 checkout to send the crowd into raptures, before sealing a historic win courtesy of pinning D16.
Darren Webster produced a stunning 156 finish to seal a pulsating deciding-leg victory over Cristo Reyes in a thrilling second-round affair in Dortmund. ‘The Demolition Man’ led 7-3 at one stage, but Reyes fought back magnificently to force a last-leg shootout, only to be denied by a moment of brilliance from the Norwich ace.
Reyes drew first blood with a tidy 13-dart opener, but Webster took control by winning four of the next five legs. The Spanish star reduced the arrears to 4-3 by virtue of a clinical 104 outshot, but Webster won the next three legs in 14, 13 and 15 darts to establish a commanding 7-3 cushion at the second interval.
However, Reyes fought back superbly; winning the next three legs to reduce the deficit to the solitary leg, before Webster missed ELEVEN darts at a double in the 14th leg as ‘The Spartan’ levelled up proceedings at seven apiece. The Spaniard then secured the lead for the first time since the opening leg with a majestic 10-darter, but the drama continued.
Webster won the next two legs to move 9-8 ahead, before spurning two match darts at D4. Reyes was sat on 145 and conjured up a wonderful skin-saver to force a decider in which he had the advantage of throw, but Webster went one better; firing in a sensational 156 checkout in the finale to triumph with a 91.84 average and six 180’s.
James Wade recorded a convincing 10-5 victory over Ricky Evans to seal his place in the quarter-finals. Evans fought back from 7-1 behind to reduce the deficit to 8-5, but ‘The Machine’ kept his cool to triumph with a 94.40 average, five maximums and a 34% checkout success rate.
The eight-time major winner squandered four darts at a double in a scrappy opening leg, which enabled Evans to draw first blood on D8. However, ‘Rapid’ endured a nightmare in the doubling department and Wade capitalised; reeling off seven consecutive legs with the help of four 14-dart legs to secure complete control at 7-1.
Evans stopped the rot with a 16-dart break on D8, before converting a classy 106 kill to register back-to-back legs. He continued his resurgence after the break to close within three legs of Wade, but ‘The Machine’ showed his class when it mattered most; completing sublime 130 and 121 finishes to close out victory with successive 12-dart legs.
In the night’s opener, Gerwyn Price produced a clinical display of finishing to defeat Dave Chisnall 10-5 and secure a place in his third televised quarter-final of the season. ‘The Iceman’ averaged 95.19, crashed in four maximums and converted 50% of his attempts at double to cap off a professional display and seal his spot in the last eight.
The Welshman made the perfect start – drawing first blood with a 14-dart break of throw, before the next six legs all went with throw. Chisnall then threatened a break back in the eighth leg, but Price produced a nerveless 90 finish on the bull to regain his two-leg cushion at 5-3.
The third seed extended his lead with a clinical 72 kill and also conjured up a brilliant 126 outshot on the bull to move 8-3 ahead, but Chisnall stopped the rot with a 13-dart break, before capitalising on two missed darts from Price to reduce the arrears to 8-5.
Chizzy produced a dazzling 157 finish to defeat Adrian Lewis in Friday’s first-round, but there were no last-gasp heroics on this occasion. With Chisnall sat on tops after 12 darts, Price mopped up a vital 70 finish to move to the brink of victory, before converting a classy 86 outshot to reach his first ever European Championship quarter-final.
Photo Credit: Kelly Deckers/PDC Europe
Unibet European Championship
Saturday October 27 (2000 local time, 1900 UK time)
Gerwyn Price 10-5 Dave Chisnall
Darren Webster 10-9 Cristo Reyes
James Wade 10-5 Ricky Evans
Max Hopp 10-7 James Wilson
Sunday October 28
Afternoon Session (1345 local time, 1245 UK time)
Steve West v Simon Whitlock
Joe Cullen v Rob Cross
Darren Webster v Max Hopp
James Wade v Gerwyn Price