Saturday, December 14th, 2019
The reigning world champion Michael van Gerwen won his first round game at the Darts World Cup against Jelle Klaasen 3: 1. After van Gerwen still had problems against the high-performing Klaasen in the first set, the defending champion found his throwing rhythm and decided the match in four sets. But he only showed his world class in phases.
"I made a bad game from the start," said van Gerwen after the game. And further: "Everyone knows that Jelle and I have a past, do not like us. That made it more difficult."
Van Gerwen and Klaasen were the two most hopeful darts talents in the Netherlands in their youth. They became friends and training partners. Until Klaasen sent nude pictures to the underage sister of van Gerwen's present wife in August 2012. Klaasen pleaded guilty and was sentenced to pay damages and community service. The PDC blocked him for six months.
Van Gerwen loses the first sentence
Who will win the Darts World Cup 2020?
The game started with van Gerwen's taste. He had a break in the first leg and then the 2-0 lead. But Klaasen struck back, equalized to 2: 2 and then got the first set on his own throw.
Klaasen already led 2-1 in the second set, but this time van Gerwen still equalized. Then he achieved the highest possible finish, he brought 170 remaining points to zero with his three darts and equalized according to sets to 1: 1. The Dutchman slowly found his normal form and rose to an average score of over 90.
It was only in the 13th leg that van Gerwen reached his first maximum with three arrows, the 180. Then he brought 130 rest to zero and then went 2-1 after sets in the lead. The world champion found the game better and better, played his kick-off games in the fourth set and ended up breaking for a 3-1 win.
Van Gerwen's statistics, however, did not seem like a world champion. Van Gerwen only threw a 180, Klaasen threw the maximum seven times. His average ended up at 96.37 points – previously van Gerwen had averaged over 100 points in 18 World Cup games in a row.