Darts world champion Michael Smith has to abandon his title defense prematurely and will also lose his status as number one in the world. The Englishman, nicknamed Bully Boy, suffered a 4-0 defeat against his compatriot Chris Dobey in London.
Smith played at a decent level in the World Cup round of 16, but couldn't match Dobey's enormous level. The new number one after the World Cup will be either Michael van Gerwen (Netherlands) or Luke Humphries (England).
Van Gerwen had previously mastered the first major test of the tournament brilliantly. The Dutchman, nicknamed Mighty Mike, clearly won the first round of 16 against Englishman Stephen Bunting 4-0. Bunting was the most confident player in the tournament so far and had won 4-0 against the German Florian Hempel the day before after an excellent performance.
Against van Gerwen he quickly found himself behind, and the differences became clear over the distance. After converting the match dart, van Gerwen cheered euphorically and with his mouth wide open to the 3,000 enthusiastic fans at Alexandra Palace.
Before the game, both professionals had won seven of seven sets at the World Cup. Van Gerwen now confirmed his top form. A possible semi-final against England's top favorite Humphries, which is seen as an anticipated final, is becoming more and more concrete. Cool Hand Luke had just managed to avoid an early exit on Thursday evening. Against Ricardo Pietreczko he turned around a 1:3 deficit and won 4:3.