Kim Huybrechts dumped out reigning champion Peter Wright on a dramatic night of third-round action at the Cazoo World Darts Championship.
Following a three-day Christmas break, the sport’s flagship tournament resumed in some style at the Alexandra Palace, as Wright’s bid for a third World Championship crown was curtailed by an impressive Huybrechts.
The Belgian – a former quarter-finalist in the capital – recovered from a sluggish start to triumph in convincing style and set up an all-Belgian last-16 showdown against Dimitri Van den Bergh.
Wright came through a scrappy opening set to strike the first blow, but Huybrechts responded emphatically, following up legs of 13 and 14 darts with a 100 finish to square proceedings.
Two-time World Champion Wright changed his darts following set two, but it didn’t have the desired effect and Huybrechts continued to dominate, wrapping up set three before edging ahead in the fourth.
Wright wired the bull for a 121 finish which would have levelled the contest at 2-2 and Huybrechts capitalised, before surviving another set dart in a nervy fifth set to complete a surprise 4-1 win.
“To beat one of the best players in the world, the reigning champion, it means the world,” said an emotional Huybrechts, through to the fourth round for just the second time in a decade.
“It wasn’t my best performance. Peter didn’t even play his B-game, but I took my chances where I could and I’ve done what I had to do, so I’m very happy with that.
“Darts in Belgium is massive now. It’s huge. We’ve got an all-Belgian last 16 game and that is massive. It’s never been as big as this moment, so I’m very happy and very thankful.”
Images: Kieran Cleeves/PDC.
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