Dirk Blows Out Hurricane Huybrechts

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Dirk van Duijvenbode knocked out Belgian Kim Huybrechts (12-10), in the second tiebreak match of the 2023 World Matchplay.

It posed one of the most intriguing match-ups of the day, with Huybrechts’s record at this competition notably poor.

The early signs of this clash, which comes just weeks after the pair’s abrasive meeting at the World Cup, were not too promising.

A steady 13 dart opener from Huybrechts was followed by a hold and a break from van Duijvenbode, looking the most comfortable thus far.

The Belgian made sure that his winning legs remained of a high quality with an 11 dart innings, before van Duijvenbode took the next leg to establish the lead at the break.

The break of throw was consolidated in leg 6, before The Hurricane held throw. After a further steady run of legs from the two, a break in leg 10 would prove crucial for Kim to nullify the deficit and bring the tie level.

Huybrechts and van Duijvenbode came out firing in the next mini session, trading maximums, a 13 dart charge from Kim continuing an impressive record in winning legs.

The Dutchman would not relent on his defences though, impressive with a flurry of ton-plus scores in the 12th leg.

Heavy visits gave way to a leg in which neither got over the line with much grace, but Kim gathered the crucial nerve.

Tops from Dirk provided equity again. Double 2 bailed out the Belgian in the subsequent leg, a checkout which elicited visible reaction from the 37-year-old.

A hold from DvD was followed by a leg in which he gifted himself chances at doubles, opportunities duly taken.

This entertaining, nip-and-tuck tussle perhaps had another turn left in store. A perhaps unanticipated 168 from Huybrechts left him 16 after Dirk could not muster 142.

And one suspects there have been few better setup shots in his career, helping him to a tiebreak situation.

It was a command that Kim continued into the nineteenth leg, with a showy 108 to take the lead.

And he would come within a whisker of the match, but with the temperature now rising in the unseasonably cool Winter Gardens, van Duijvenbode pulled back.

Dirk had been notably measured until this point, but a mere 11 dart leg reestablished the lead and reanimated the Aubergenius.

Missed doubles came a cropper for Kim, and a double 12 came for Dirk. Cue the biggest cheer of the day so far from the crowd and more exuberance from Dirk.

the Dutchman said to Darts World:

“I have no preference on opponent. Jose [De Sousa] is obviously a very good player and it would be disrespectful to overlook him,”

He will face either Jose or Luke Humphries last on Wednesday evening.


Images: PDC

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