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European Darts Championship 2021 Day One preview and order of play | Big names aim to avoid scalp in Salzburg

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European Darts Championship 2021 Day Two preview and order of play | First Round action continues

Hempel dethrones Wright at the European Darts Championship

Jamie Shaw in European Championship 14 Oct 2021
Hempel stuns Snakebite (Photo by Vincent Amann/DAZN)

Florian Hempel pulled off a shock First Round win over defending champion Peter Wright at the 2021 European Darts Championship in Salzburg on Thursday.

Hempel, the world number 107, marked his TV debut with a stunning 6-3 scalp of the world number two at the Salzburgarena.

Wright, who also suffered a First Round exit at the recent World Grand Prix, paid the price for chopping and changing his setup as Hempel raced into a 4-1 lead before eventually crossing the line in leg nine.

German ace Hempel produced some clutch finishing in the early stages, landing finishes of 97, 85 and 68 in taking a 3-0 lead, before going on to finish 76 for a 5-2 advantage and clinching victory on tops.

“I’m really happy,” said Hempel. “He’s the number two in the world and everyone looks up to him.

“It’s an amazing feeling.

“It was not an easy draw but you can play with no pressure.

“The rest of the year, my target is to get to the World Championship and I think this could help me.”

He will now face home favourite Mensur Suljovic in the Last 16 on Saturday after the Austrian powered past Adam Hunt 6-2, sealing victory with a tidy 117 checkout.

William Borland enjoyed a dream European Championship debut as he knocked out 2012 champion Simon Whitlock 6-3 in the opening match of the tournament.

Scottish youngster Borland overturned a 2-0 deficit with a run of four straight legs, which included a 121 checkout before the interval.

Whitlock stopped the rot in leg seven but was made to pay for four missed darts at doubles in the eighth as Borland took out 65 to make it 5-3 and went on to clinch victory in spectacular fashion with a 142 checkout.

“The finish at the end was great and there were some glimpses of my best but I’m just glad to get the win and I can kick on now for Saturday,” said Borland.

“I enjoyed it and to beat a player like Simon is special. I’ve got to take it in my stride because I’m just at the start of my career.

“I’m happy to be here and I want to do my family proud. I’m really enjoying playing against the best in the world and I need to keep going.

“When I was a young kid I dreamed of this, I’m here now and I’m loving it. It’s all experience and I’m really happy with how it’s going right now.”

Rob Cross, the 2019 European Champion who faces pressure to defend his title-winning prize money against his ranking this weekend, began with a 6-3 win over 19-year-old debutant Keane Barry.

Cross landed a 148 checkout but will be eyeing a marked improvement on his end average of just 84.5.

Jose De Sousa dug deep to deny 19-year-old Lewy Williams a debut victory in Salzburg with a 6-4 success, punishing the Welshman’s 17 missed darts at doubles.

Joe Cullen, the 2018 semi-finalist, got off to a perfect start by whitewashing Ted Evetts 6-0 with three 180s and a 95 average.

UK Open runner-up Luke Humphries battled his way to a 6-5 victory over fellow debutant Callan Rydz from 5-4 behind.

Brendan Dolan was a comfortable 6-2 winner over Kim Huybrechts with a 96 average and three maximums to his name.

WATCH THE EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP STREAMED LIVE HERE (18+)

European Darts Championship 2021 Day One Results

Thursday October 14

First Round

Simon Whitlock 3-6 William Borland
Brendan Dolan 6-2 Kim Huybrechts
Rob Cross 6-3 Keane Barry
Luke Humphries 6-5 Callan Rydz
Jose de Sousa 6-4 Lewis Williams
Peter Wright 3-6 Florian Hempel
Mensur Suljovic 6-2 Adam Hunt
Joe Cullen 6-0 Ted Evetts

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