Christmas will now be bleak for Florian Hempel. Alone in London in a hotel room, without a family at home in Germany. His next game in the Darts World Cup won’t be until Monday, but he is not allowed to fly home for the Christmas holidays, the strict quarantine rules that all World Cup participants ban from.
“He doesn’t have big plans, but it’s going to be a great Christmas,” Hempel said Tuesday night.
He wanted it this way. If Hempel loses in the second round at Alexandra Palace, as expected, he may already be on board. Instead, he provided the biggest upset of the previous World Cup: As a World Cup rookie, he beat world number five and World Cup favorite Dimitri van den Berg of Belgium 3-1, against an obvious opponent in the semi-finals. Age match? Certainly this is from his short career. “No one will believe me,” Hempel said in Dozen, laughing.
Almost every arrow is in the dual mission fields—”unbelievable,” says Hempel
Like every darts professional, Hempel was born in 1990, and he has his own story. Like many, he came to the sport of archery during secondary education; In his first life he was a handball goalkeeper, completed a match in the second division for the team Dessau-Roßlauer HV, then played in the third and upper division. According to legend, his darts career began four years ago, at his stake in Cologne on a rather cheap dart board, “Eight Euro something of Lidl or Aldi” (Humpel).
Then things went quickly, the first tournaments, the first successes. Hempel has been a pro since February and qualified for the most important event of the year for the first time, the World Cup in London. In the first round he surprisingly easily won the German duel against Martin Schindler, 3-0. And now the world number five has been knocked out of the tournament.
In the first set, Hempel literally rolled over van den Berg with an average of 106 points – so he averaged 106 points with his three arrows, which is fantastic value. The Belgian won the second set and when Van den Berg seemed to have found his rhythm, Hempel weakened. He ruthlessly threw the remaining high points, sometimes the 104, then the 100 and yanked legs he believed to be safe from the Belgian. Almost every arrow was in the double mission fields. “Unbelievable, this is such an amazing moment for me,” Hempel said, “I felt so good on stage,” against “one of the best players in the world.”
Hempel’s story is somewhat reminiscent of that of Gabriel Clemens, who surprisingly ditched world champion Peter Wright last year and became the first German to reach the last 16. In a duel between two outsiders, Hempel now meets Australian Raymond Smith – she entered the round of 16. His strange opening song can be heard at least once: a carnival song, “Kölsche Jung” Brings, although players are actually required to select international hits so that 3,000 drunk fans of Ally Pally can sing along with them. But that doesn’t matter to Hempel.