Major upset as Lewis crashes out of William Hill World Darts Championship

Two-time  winner Adrian Lewis suffered one of the biggest shocks in the history of the William Hill World Darts Championship as he was beaten in the first round by German qualifier Kevin Munch last night.

Seventh seed Lewis had never lost in the first round before in 12 years of playing in the event, but it was unlucky number 13 as he came up against an inspired Munch

The German left-hander had overcome Russia’s Aleksandr Oreshkin in straight sets in the preliminary round, and took his game to a remarkable level against the Stoke superstar.

After 63-year-old Paul Lim’s memorable win on Monday, Munch managed to go one better in knocking out one of the perennial tournament favourites thanks to an incredible burst of heavy scoring and big checkouts.

Munch found seven of his eight 180s in seven pulsating legs that took him from a set down to the brink of victory, adding finishes of 158, 118 and 124 for good measure.

The 27-year-old from Bochum recently gave up his job as a landscape gardener to try and make a career in darts, and after producing a performance that Lewis himself would have been proud of that now looks like a good decision.

“I can’t believe it,” said Munch, who previously qualified for the World Championship six years ago. “It feels so amazing. I will realise what I’ve done tomorrow. I was so confident in that moment and not scared of him.

“I didn’t realise the fans were so loud but I do now! I will relax and practice for the second round now.

“It’s the biggest win in my career. I’m very proud “

Trailing 2-1 in the second set after Lewis swept through the opener without reply, Munch embarked on his dizzying spell of darts with a pair of 15-darters before a 180 helped him take the set in a deciding leg.

The third set proved to be something special from the German as Munch hit four 180s in just three legs, adding finishes of 158 and 118 for good measure in a blistering assault that left a shell-shocked Lewis 2-1 down and on the ropes.

The 180s continued for Munch in the fourth, as did the finishes with a superb 124, before Lewis plugged away and pulled out two maximums to level the set up at 2-2.

Munch, though, would not be denied and he claimed the deciding leg on double eight to complete a momentous victory.

Five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld was never in danger of joining the growing list of seeds heading for the Alexandra Palace exit as he calmly overcame debutant Richard North 3-0.

Van Barneveld is now an expert at the tricky first round stage following six consecutive 3-0 victories in his opening matches, as he set up an intriguing second round clash with Kyle Anderson.

Playing in his 50th match in the event, Van Barneveld averaged 102 – the fourth best effort so far of the event – hit three 180s and 17 140+ scores, as well as landing nine out of 19 doubles.

“There are so many tournaments but this one is special to me, so maybe I keep all my energy for these two weeks,” said Van Barneveld. “This means the world to me.

“I’m flying back to Holland tomorrow morning then I’ll be focusing on Kyle Anderson for Saturday. He’s an amazing player.

“He’s so tough, he’s a 180 man, good at doubles, good at high finishes so I’m really looking forward to that match.”

Scotland’s John Henderson enjoyed a comfortable 3-0 win over Finland’s Marko Kantele to set-up a World Grand Prix rematch with Daryl Gurney, who took victory in their semi-final two months ago.

Henderson is the last man to have defeated Michael van Gerwen, also in October’s World Grand Prix, and knows he will need to raise his game significantly to somewhere near his Dublin form for his second round clash.

“If you can’t take confidence from beating Michael van Gerwen then you can’t take confidence from anything,” Henderson said. “I believe I’m still the last person to beat him so that’s a nice mantle to have and the confidence is still there.

“I didn’t play my best tonight but I hope I can find it on Saturday, I’ll need it against Daryl.”

The preliminary and first rounds continue on Wednesday at Alexandra Palace, including 2010 finalist Simon Whitlock opening his challenge against another German ace, debutant Martin Schindler.

Michael Smith takes on Irish newcomer Steve Lennon, while Justin Pipe will face the winner of the preliminary round tie between Chinese teenager Xiao Chen Zong and New Zealand’s Bernie Smith.

William Hill World Darts Championship

Preliminary & First Rounds

Tuesday December 19

Aleksandr Oreshkin 0-2 Kevin Munch (P)

John Henderson 3-0 Marko Kantele

Raymond van Barneveld 3-0 Richard North

Adrian Lewis 1-3 Kevin Munch

Wednesday December 20 (7pm)

Xiao Chen Zong v Bernie Smith (P)

Michael Smith v Steve Lennon

Simon Whitlock v Martin Schindler

Justin Pipe v Xiao Chen Zong/Bernie Smith

Preliminary Round – Best of three sets

First Round – Best of five sets

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