Kevin Munch beats Adrian Lewis in World Darts Championship first round
Jackpot suffers first opening-round defeat while Raymond van Barneveld eases into last 32
By Paul Prenderville at Alexandra Palace
Last Updated: 20/12/17 9:46am
Two-time world champion Adrian Lewis became the most high profile seed to crash out in the first round of the World Darts Championship after defeat by Kevin Munch.
German Munch, who won the night's preliminary match against Aleksandr Oreshkin to set up his showdown with the world No 7, produced a sensational sprint to the finish line as he fought back from a set down for a 3-1 victory that will go down as one of the biggest shocks in the tournament's history.
Jackpot, champion in 2011 and 2012, has endured a miserable year that included serious surgery on his back and could do nothing as Munch found eight 180s and three spectacular 100+ finishes to seal a memorable victory on the Alexandra Palace stage.
Earlier in the night, Raymond van Barneveld kicked off his bid for world title number six with a 3-0 demolition of Richard North, and John Henderson was too good for Marko Kantele, but the story was all about Lewis' exit as he became the 10th seed to fall at the first hurdle
|Aleksandr Oreshkin||0-2||Kevin Munch (P)|
|John Henderson (29)||3-0||Marko Kantele|
|Raymond van Barneveld (9)||3-0||Richard North|
|Adrian Lewis (7)||1-3||Kevin Munch|
Like Lewis, Dave Chisnall and James Wade have been below their best this season, but the depth of talent on the PDC circuit means their below-par performances are now being punished.
Jackpot took to the stage having never lost in the first round and as the red-hot favourite against the 29-year-old Munch from Bochum who won the German Superleague finals in November to seal a second appearance at the tournament and has given up his job as a landscape gardener to turn professional.
Lewis took the opener - including a brilliant 121 finish - but, with neither man firing, no-one could have seen the barrage from Munch coming as he went through the gears to edge the second set and level the contest.
Munch, who will seek a PDC card at Q-school in January, blazed his way to a 2-1 lead and when he missed three darts for a 2-0 lead in the fourth set, it looked as though Lewis was poised to rally.
But having taken out 158 and 118, Munch found a brilliant 124 via the bullseye to stand on the brink of victory - a win that he sealed with double eight to set up a showdown with either Cristo Reyes or Antonio Alcinas.
It was a very different story for five-time world champion Van Barneveld as the Dutchman was too good for debutant North, who never got going.
A brilliant Van Barneveld stormed to the first set, reeling off three successive legs with an average of 107.36 to leave North reeling.
The Englishman got himself on the board by levelling up the second set early on but it proved to be just a stay of execution as Barney motored to a comprehensive first-round win.
In the night's opening first-round match Henderson, the last man to beat Michael van Gerwen, proved too strong for Kantele as he eased into a second-round showdown with Daryl Gurney.
An evenly-contested first set went all the way before Henderson won six of the last seven legs to book his spot in the last 32.
Henderson clinched the with the first moment of real quality, a brilliant 160 check-out gave him the lead which he never looked like relinquishing.
A more relaxed Henderson eased through the second set as Kantele's level dropped and, just as in the first, the Highlander pinned a fantastic big finish to stand on the brink of victory.
Having taken out 121 via the bullseye to take final leg of the second set, Henderson clinically cleaned up 72 for a fifth leg in succession before Kantele was able to stop the rot.
But it merely delayed the inevitable as Henderson took out the next two legs to reach the second round for the first time since the 2014 tournament.
Gurney ended Henderson's run at the World Grand Prix in the semi-finals but only after Henderson had stunned Van Gerwen in the first round in Dublin at the start of October.
The 2018 World Championship from Alexandra Palace continues on Wednesday night with coverage underway from 7pm on Sky Sports Darts and ending with the final on New Year's Day.
Keep up to date with the news as the PDC celebrates 25 years on Sky Sports. So get all the latest at www.skysports.com/darts and join in the conversation @SkySportsDarts - don't forget to use #LoveTheDarts