Team Unicorn’s Seigo Asada led from the front as he and Haruki Muramatsu saw off Austria in the big shock on the opening night of the World Cup of Darts in Frankfurt.
It was a thriller, going all the way to a deciding leg, and Asada was sensational.
He hit four 180s and a 177 and finished superbly as they toppled Mensur Suljovic and Zoran Lerchbacher. It should have been more comprehensive. Japan missed three darts for a 4-1 lead after a hat-trick of Asada 180s.
Muramatsu missed a dart at the bull to wrap up a 5-3 victory and Suljovic led the fightback to force a dramatic decider.
Japan had the darts but it looked like being Austria’s night when Mensur hit a maximum. But not a bit of it.....Asada found another brilliant 180 in reply then hit the winning D10.
They will now face Canada.
Scotland produced a top performance as Unicorn star Gary Anderson teamed up with Peter Wright as the pair overcame a potentially tricky test beating the USA 5-1.
The tournament favourites and No.1 seeds looked good with the highest average of the night - just shy of 95 - and they will now face Brazil on round two.
There was never really any danger of another slip up after last year’s shock defeat against Singapore. Anderson set up the chances and Wright picked off the doubles. They worked well as a team and will really fancy their chances of World Cup glory this weekend. There were two 13 darters in the win
John Part led the way as Canada coasted through to round two. The Team Unicorn ambassador showed that experience counts as the Canadians beat Italy 5-1.
Part’s superb finishing saw Canada race into a 4-0 lead with the three-times World Champion hitting the winning double in all four legs. The Italians got a leg on the board but it didn’t matter as youngster Dawson Murschell wrapped up a comfortable victory.
The Aussies, led by Unicorn ace Kyle Anderson, will face Spain in the last 16 after a comprehensive 5-1 win over Hong Kong.
Kyle hit a crucial 68 finish to break throw and then a 180 followed as he and Simon Whitlock averaged an impressive 94.
China’s young Unicorn starlet Xiao Chen and his partner Momo Zhou were beaten 5-2 by Switzerland. Momo became only the second woman to play the World Cup of Darts, but between them the Chinese duo missed 20 darts at doubles. It was very costly. But there was a highlight for Xiao Chen who hit a maximum along the way.
Thursday 1st Round results (best of 9 legs)
Italy 1-5 Canada
Russia 4-5 Spain
Switzerland 5-2 China
Denmark 1-5 Brazil
Wales 5-3 Thailand
Australia 5-1 Hong Kong
Scotland 5-1 USA
Austria 4-5 Japan
Friday 1st Round schedule:
New Zealand v Singapore
Greece v Finland
Northern Ireland v Poland
Hungary v South Africa
Belgium v Republic of Ireland
England v Czech Republic
Sweden v Germany
Netherlands v Gibraltar
By STUART PYKE in Frankfurt
Photo courtesy PDC