Hempel shocks Van den Bergh on dramatic Day Seven
Florian Hempel stunned Dimitri Van den Bergh to reach the third round of the William Hill World Championship on debut, while Michael Smith produced the highest quality display of the tournament so far.
Tuesday's action from Alexandra Palace saw Hempel and Michael Smith progress to the last 32 of the 2.5m Pound tournament along with Dave Chisnall, Vincent van der Voort, Mervyn King and Raymond Smith.
Emerging German talent Hempel, who only started playing darts four years ago, completed the biggest shock of the first two rounds by toppling world number five Van den Bergh in a thrilling contest.
Having defeated compatriot Martin Schindler in his first round match, Hempel defied a 101.78 average from Belgian ace Van den Bergh to claim a 3-1 victory.
Hempel took the first set with an 11-darter to win a deciding leg before Van den Bergh completed a dominant second set with a brilliant 142 finish.
The 2020 World Matchplay champion took the lead in set three but Hempel ran riot from there, rattling off six successive legs to complete the upset.
"Getting to the third round by beating the number five in the world is a big moment for me," said the 31-year-old former professional handball player.
"I think I played the first set well but Dimitri was incredible in the second and it felt like he was turning the match around but I fought hard and did my job.
"I don't know how I've managed to do this so quickly. All I can say is I just am doing it. The coordination between the hand and the eye that I learnt playing handball has definitely helped me.
"I will stay here for Christmas and prepare for my next match. I don't have any plans but it will be a great Christmas."
Hempel will take on Raymond Smith in round three after the Australian qualifier knocked out seeded opponent Devon Petersen with a stunning straight sets victory.
Smith, who defeated Jamie Hughes in the first round, cruised into the last 32 at the expense of the out-of-sorts South African number one.
"Devon Petersen is a great player but that wasn't him in that game and I was able to take advantage," said Smith, who dropped just three legs.
"I need to bring more energy in the next match and I'm looking forward to it. I felt comfortable tonight and I hope that can continue."
2019 finalist Michael Smith dropped just a single leg in a stunning display that saw him post both the highest average and the joint best doubles success percentage in any match at this year's event.
The world number nine, who had lost his opening match in each of the last two years, averaged 106.23 and hit nine from 12 double attempts - the same 75% success rate as Hempel - in a dominant display to reach round three.
"I'm delighted to get the win and can have a nice Christmas after two bad years," said Smith, who landed six 180s in the triumph.
"I didn't miss a dart at a double in the first set and that really helped me settle down from the start.
"I know where my game is and I know it is always there. I'm doing the right things and I know it will be my time soon. Once I win my first major title, I will go on a run of winning more.
"I'm always there or thereabouts. Nobody talks about me but I know I am capable. I just have to work hard."
Chisnall breezed to a three-set victory over Belgium's Mike De Decker to set up a third round meeting with either Luke Humphries or Rowby-John Rodriguez.
The 14th seed landed a fabulous 146 checkout in what was a comfortable win despite both players posting exactly the same average of 96.43.
After winning the opening set in a deciding leg it was plain sailing for Chisnall, who won six of the last eight legs to progress.
Van der Voort eased into the third round by winning all of the crucial legs against Adam Hunt.
The Dutchman, making his 15th consecutive World Championship appearance, punished his opponent for missing a darts to win each of the first two sets to open up a lead.
He then raced through the third set 3-0 completing a six leg burst to earn the victory, which included three 180s, to set up a third round meeting with James Wade.
Veteran star King produced a remarkable turnaround against Ryan Joyce, winning 3-2 to reach the last 32 stage for a fourth World Championship in a row.
King, the 21st seed, found himself 2-0 down in sets to former quarter-finalist Joyce, who clinically hit checkouts of 86, 84 and 78 as he won six of the opening seven legs.
After the second interval, King turned the tie on its head, winning nine successive legs to seal his place in round three where he will face Steve Lennon.
Lewy Williams enjoyed a dream debut as he whitewashed Japan's Toyokazu Shibata 3-0, with the Welsh teenager to face Gabriel Clemens in round two.
Jason Lowe also enjoyed a 3-0 first round win against Sweden's Daniel Larsson, dropping just one leg to set up a meeting with seventh seed Jose de Sousa.
Wednesday will see eight second round ties across two sessions of action, with the afternoon session seeing nine-dart hero William Borland taking on Ryan Searle and Joe Cullen opens his campaign against Jim Williams.
The evening session will feature two-time World Championship semi-finalist Nathan Aspinall, who takes on Joe Murnan, while former finalist Simon Whitlock faces Martijn Kleermaker.
Statistics - First Round
Statistics - Second Round
|96.43||4||9/26||Chisnall ||3:0||de Decker||96.43||3||4/10|
Statistics - Second Round
|87.03||2||3/8||Petersen ||0:3||Ray Smith||93.25||2||9/16|