The 16 remaining teams in the Betvictor World Cup of Darts 2020 in Salzburg started the second round on Saturday. Saturday’s second round sees the tournament format change to feature two Singles games, which will then be followed by a Doubles decider should the score be tied at one-all.
In the evening session, the second round was to become the final stop for the defending champions from Scotland. John Henderson and Robert Thornton, who replaced last year’s winners Peter Wright and Gary Anderson, were beaten by the Welshmen Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton.
The number 3 of the world, Gerwyn Price, showed an outstanding performance in the first singles match against John Henderson with an average of 104. Price was already leading 3:0 when “Big John”, who played a good game himself, came back with a 121 bull finish to make it 3-2, but in the end the “Iceman” prooved to be too much and won the match by 4:2.
But the Scots did not give in and the two-time Major Champion Robert Thornton forced the decisive pairs match with a 4-2 victory over Jonny Clayton. Clayton in particular had big problems in the game when it came to hitting the doubles which “The Thorn” was able to exploit well.
In the pairs match, the Welshmen then clearly won 4-0 as expected and ironically it was Clayton who won three of the four legs. However, the Scots had their chances especially in the first two legs, so the game could have gone differently.
“Gerwyn is a great team captain! After my lost singles match my head went down a little bit but “Gezzy” built me back up,” Clayton said after the win.
Gabriel Clemens and Max Hopp are into the round of the last eight aswell after a victory over the team from Greece! Clemens was able to lay the foundation for the success in the first singles match against John Michael. The man from the Saarland won 4:1 and played a good 95 average, although he also profited a little from the fact that the Greek was unable to take his chances on the doubles.
At least as far as the result is concerned, Max Hopp did even better in his match against Veniamin Simeonidis. The 24-year-old threw Germany into the quarter-finals with a 4:0 win and averaged 89 en route.
“We know that we still have a long way to go, but we cannot wait for the final day,” said Max Hopp with Sky Sports.
In the first game of the afternoon session, Canada and New Zealand faced each other; Jeff Smith (Canada) and Haupai Puha (New Zealand) played the first singles match. The favored Smith was able to secure a 4-1 victory in which he quickly took a 3-0 lead, with the averages of the two opponents identical at almost 89 points. However, in contrast to yesterday, Puha had big problems when it came to hitting the doubles (14%).
In the second singles match between Canada’s Matt Campbell and New Zealand’s Cody Harris, it looked at first as if the experienced Harris would be able to equalize the game when he quickly took a 2-0 lead. But Campbell played a great game with an average of 96 points, won four consecutive legs and won the match for himself and his country. This made Canada the first team to reach the quarter finals.
“I am super happy with my team mate! We both played really good darts and now we can go into the quarter finals with a lot of confidence,” Jeff Smith said happily after the success.
This was followed by the second appearance of local heroes Mensur Suljovic and Rowby-John Rodriguez for Austria, who were up against José de Sousa and José Marques from Portugal.
The first singles match was the encounter of the two team captains Suljovic and de Sousa. The Austrian started very well and took a 3-0 lead, before de Sousa slowly found his rhythm and won the next two legs. But “The Gentle” kept his nerve in the decisive moment and took the first point for Austria with the double 20 for the 4:2 win, although his average of only 86 points was seven points lower than de Sousa’s.
The third game of the afternoon session was Belgium against Latvia: Dimitri Van den Bergh and Kim Huybrechts against Madars Razma and Janis Mustafejevs.
The two lower-ranked players, Huybrechts and Mustafejevs, played the first singles match which turned out to be a very one-sided affair. The Latvian had a very bad day at the office and Huybrechts had no trouble to secure a 4-0 victory.
The way seemed to be paved for the current World Matchplay Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh to secure the quarterfinal spot for Belgium by beating Madars Razma. But the “Dreammaker” had a hard time and never found his A-game. Razmar was able to take a 3:1 lead and was only a leg away from forcing the decisive pairs match. But Van den Bergh fought back and took out 103 points to win the decisive seventh leg. This means that Belgium have reached at least the quarter-finals at every WCOD since 2012.
“We did not play well today. With all due respect for Latvia, but against any other nation we would have been eliminated today – we have to improve,” a self-critical Kim Huybrechts said after the game.
The last game of the afternoon did not provide a decisive pairs match either, when England met Lithuania. The “Bully Boy” Michael Smith put the British on the winning track early on and gave Darius Labanauskas no chance in the first singles match. A solid 91 average was enough for Smith to comfortably win 4:0.
A difficult day for the 2018 world champion Rob Cross though. He got off to a very weak start in his match against Mindaugas Barauskas, even trailing 2-1 before he found to his game. In the end it was a 4:2 victory for Cross, who got England into the quarter-finals with a 10-darter to close out the game.
“Michael had everything under control, but I started really badly before things got better, thank God. I definitely have to play better tomorrow,” Cross said after reaching the quarter-finals.
The evening session began with a duel between two players from the Top 20 of the world: Simon Whitlock from Australia faced Krzysztof Ratajski from Poland. It became the match that the big names had promised. Both players played an average of around 95 points and it was also very close. At the score of 3:3 the decision had to come in the decisive seventh leg. That was won by “The Wizard” from Australia, although Ratajski hit two 180s. The Pole missed a match dart on the Bulls Eye before Whitlock was there to hit the double 10 for the match.
This lead seemed to inspire Damon Heta in the second singles match against Krzysztof Kciuk, as the Australian played an average of around 130 in the first two legs. In the end, “The Heat” won 4-1, averaged 99.99 and secured a quarter final spot for Australia.
“I am incredibly proud of Damon! He played great and brought home the win for us,” Whitlock said about his teammate after the game.
In the last game of the 2nd round the four-time World Cup of Darts Champions from the Netherlands reached the quarter finals. Michael van Gerwen and Danny Noppert defeated the Spaniards Toni Alcinas and Jesus Noguera 2:0 and will meet Germany tomorrow in the round of the last eight.
MVG showed a great performance with an average of over 100 points and left Toni Alcinas no chance in a 4:0 win. Danny Noppert found it a lot harder in his 4:3 victory over Jesus Noguera and draged himself over the finish line in the end.
“I noticed before the game that Danny was nervous because he had never won against Jesus before. But we have to concentrate on ourselves and our strengths, that’s the only way to do it,” MVG stated after the game.
2020 Betvictor World Cup of Darts, Saturday, 2nd Round
Canada 2:0 New Zealand
Austria 2:0 Portugal
Belgium 2:0 Latvia
England 2:0 Lithuania
Australia 2:0 Poland
Wales 2:1 Scotland
Germany 2:0 Greece
Netherlands 2:0 Spain