King suffers opening exit in world darts finals
- Credit: PA
Mervyn King crashed out of the world championships last night after struggling to conquer a back problem.
The 10th seed, who lives in Bradenham, was beaten 3-2 by German teenager Max Hopp.
King had suffered a slipped disc in his back and had three cortisone injections yesterday.
He was clearly suffering at times, and Hopp was showing few signs of any sympathy.
After sharing the first two legs, King somehow managed to take a 2-1 lead.
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Hopp showed few signs of his inexperience, but King – 30 years his opponent's senior – remained calm as he tried to draw the sting out of his opponent.
King had a dart to take the match but missed double 16, leaving the door open for Hopp to make it two sets apiece.
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King had to dig deep in the final set, but just when it looked like his young opponent might be feeling the heat of the Alexandra Palace arena, Hopp pulled out a stunning 161 finish to win a thriller.
'I think I played well,' said Hopp. 'I never expected to win because over the last month Mervyn has been brilliant in his tournaments.
'I am so happy I can't explain it. I think that was my best game. I kept fighting and never gave up.'
Hopp now faces Vincent Van Der Voort who twice came from behind to beat John Henderson 3-2.