Dthe last arrow didn’t land in doubles. The two remaining darts were in the blue carpet on the World Cup stage. Peter Wright had slammed it straight down to relieve the tension. The previous arrow, which hit the targeted Double-20, was insufficient to cause the pressure to drop.
“Snakebite” had just made it 5: 4 in the extension of his quarter-finals against Callan Rydz, and such an emotional reaction has never before been seen in the Scotsman. “Happy New Year for me,” he said later, “but I could have made it easier for myself.”
From the start it was a high-class and exciting duel that the two unequal professionals had fought for almost two hours.
Rydz started it with a checkout of 152 points in the first leg, then deleted 54 for the break and took the first set to zero. A start at express speed that left no time for any nervousness. The 23-year-old quick thrower also started the second round with the next high finish (106) to break, although the number two in the world rankings had stood at 36 points after nine darts.
Only in the fifth attempt did the youngster miss a double, which Wright immediately punished with a re-break: pure world class in series production. Rydz checked 106 for the next break, followed by his own loss of service. But the final point was reserved for the quarterfinal debutant: 105 for his fourth break and fourth high finish. “Nothing can shock these youngsters. They go on stage, don’t think, and just do their thing, ”Wright said later.
The Breaks Festival continued in the third set: Wright was the first to serve to 3: 1 and got his first set. In the fourth round it was Rydz again who made the decisive break to 2-1. Both kept their throwing average just over 100 points. The decisive difference was the double quota. While “Snakebite” only hit six of his 29 attempts, the man from the Northeast of England only got 20 throws for ten hits.
Peter Wright and the double / double checks
However, the world champion did not have any fundamental problems on the doubles, as he documented at the beginning of the fifth round and deleted 80 points over tops / tops for the break. The foundation for winning the set was laid: Wright took advantage of the set win and reduced it to 2: 3.
“I should have cracked that,” said Wright, who followed up with eight perfect darts in the sixth set, but missed the double-12 and checked to make it 2-1 in ten attempts.
Rydz managed at least the 141 finish to make it 2-2 in the upcoming leg, but missed his set dart on the double-20 in the decider. So it was Wright’s turn again for the next highlight. He checked 96 points over 20, double 18, double 20. A compensation for 3: 3 in style.
And because it was so nice, “Snakebite” delivered the 96 again for a 1-0 break in set 7. Breathtaking moments of a duel, which the average of both of them played beyond 100 points. Wright’s double rate now also looked better at 35 percent, although he missed two darts to make it 2-0 and conceded the break.
Rydz then missed three set darts, but Wright suddenly failed to hit the doubles again, so that Rydz was still able to check on the double-1. The drama has now been added to the world-class level. With 4: 3 for Rydz, the two went into the last break, which the favorite had apparently used well.
With zero he got the next round, then took the serve from Rydz and confirmed the break over the bullseye to 2-0. Rydz shook his head. His outstanding achievement seemed to go unrewarded.
He reduced it again to 1: 2, but now needed the break and after nine darts he actually stood at 54 points. The fact that he then left five check darts should have meant the end. Wright weakened again, so that Rydz actually saved himself in overtime on the double-2.
Both missed a dart to make it 3-2, then the Scot, who ended up with an average of 99.75, checked on the double-9 to break again and used his throw-off on the double-20 to win.
Rydz (average: 97.8, double quota: 41.9 percent) missed the leap into the top 20 and a participation in the Masters, in which the top 24 can play a little prize money among themselves at the end of the month.
In the afternoon, James Wade and Gary Anderson were the first two quarter-finalists to be determined. Wade had to go through the decider in four sets, but presented himself with nerves and won 5-0 against Mervyn King. Anderson prevailed against Luke Humphries 5-2 and now meets Wright in the world championship duel between the two 51-year-olds on Sunday evening.
The complete schedule and the tournament tree can be found here
Darts World Cup, quarter finals
James Wade (ENG/4) – Mervyn King (ENG/21) 5:0
Gary Anderson (SCO/6) – Luke Humphries (ENG/19) 5:2
Peter Wright (SCO/2) – Callan Rydz (ENG) 5:4 n.V.
Gerwyn Price (WAL / 1) – Michael Smith (ENG / 9)
Darts World Cup, semi-finals on Sunday
James Wade (ENG / 4) – Gerwyn Price (WAL / 1) / Michael Smith (ENG / 9)
Gary Anderson (SCO/6) – Peter Wright (SCO/2)