James Hubbard completed the remarkable feat of qualifying for the Betfair World Matchplay in his first year as a professional, when the 19-year-old defeated Mark Walsh in the third round of the European Darts Open.
James Wade, Raymond van Barneveld, Simon Whitlock and Mervyn King also claimed victories on Sunday afternoon, to join Hubbard in the quarter-finals of the PDC’s third European Tour Event.
Hubbard, who won the PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship in May, continued a fantastic debut year by booking his place in the Blackpool tournament with a 6-3 triumph over Walsh.
The youngster was overcome with emotion as he received a standing ovation from the 1,800 strong Dusseldorf crowd, after finishing the match in style by taking out 110 for a 12 darter.
Hubbard faces Richie Burnett on Sunday evening after the Welshman defeated Michael van Gerwen, as the last eight participants battle it out for the £15,000 title.
Wade eased past Andy Smith to book his place in quarter-finals, claiming a 6-2 triumph over ‘The Pieman’.
“Andy’s a very difficult player to beat so I’m happy to have won that.,” said The Machine, who sealed the win with a 120 checkout.
“I’ve been practising hard for the last couple of weeks and I’m trying hard to take that up onto stage.”
Wade will take on van Barneveld on Sunday evening after the Dutchman beat compatriot Gino Vos 6-2, posting an impressive 103.68 average.
“It’s special for me to play Gino,” said Barney, whose victory included a brilliant 156 checkout. ”
“I practiced with him last year and he is a very talented player. He’s done very well in this event and was awesome in the first three or four legs, but I stayed calm and to average nearly 104 is fantastic for me.
“I’m looking forward to playing James as we always have cracking matches.”
Whitlock enjoyed a 6-3 victory over Speedy Services UK Open winner Robert Thornton, whose run in Germany has guaranteed his place in Blackpool later this month.
“Robert’s a fantastic player and that was a great game,” said ‘The Wizard’ who faces Dave Chisnall in the last eight.
“I’ve been blown away by the support of the crowd here and it’s brilliant to be in the quarter-finals now.”
King was the first man through to the quarter-finals, after running out a 6-5 winner against Steve Beaton.
“I had two nine-darters in practice today but it didn’t quite happen on stage,” said King, who will play Colin Osborne on Sunday evening for place in the last four.
“I’ve a little bit to work on and I want to improve in the next game.”
The quarters, semis and final will all take place on Sunday evening.
By Chris Murphy