Third seed Danny Noppert produced one of the performances of the second-round to cruise into the quarter-finals and set up a clash with defending champion Scott Waites, as Darius Labanauskas, Anastasia Dobromyslova and Corrine Hammond all triumphed on an entertaining night of darts at the Lakeside Country Club on Thursday evening.
Noppert’s dream Lakeside debut continues as he stormed into the last eight after whitewashing his Dutch compatriot Richard Veenstra in round-two. ‘Noppie’ averaged 91.02, landed the solitary maximum and converted an impressive 48% of his double attempts to triumph comprehensively against last year’s semi-finalist.
Noppert opened up proceedings with a confident 15-dart hold. Veenstra seemed destined to level but squandered seven darts at double as ‘Noppie’ doubled his tally via D9. ‘Flyers’ continued to be plagued by double trouble after missing a further three darts to break back and the third seed clinched the first set with a ruthless 77 kill on the bullseye.
The scrappy start continued as Noppert broke throw on D1 after Veenstra failed to open his account with a 107 checkout; his eleventh missed dart at double in the match. The Lakeside debutant won his fifth straight leg after recording a 16-dart hold on tops, before he landed his first maximum and converted a sublime 11-darter to double his lead.
The intermission appeared to come at the perfect time for Veenstra, who kicked off the third set strongly. Last year’s semi-finalist converted a two-dart 86 combination to open his account in 14 darts, before crashing in his second maximum and dispatching a clean 82 outshot on tops, as his double woes seemed to have subsided.
Nevertheless, these fragilities resurfaced as Noppert fought back. ‘Flyers’ hit his third maximum but relinquished a set dart as ‘Noppie’ completed a nerveless 60 kill to stay alive. The third seed then recorded a clinical two-dart 72 checkout after Veenstra spurned a further two set darts, before slotting away D3 to establish a three-set cushion.
The pair were boasting similar averages but Noppert’s accomplished finishing was the decisive factor and that was clearly illustrated in set four. The 26-year-old landed a classy 81 outshot on the bull to continue the procession, before rounding off a 14-darter on D12 to move to the brink of an emphatic victory.
‘Noppie’ hadn’t performed at his vintage best but he was still in merciless mood and sealed victory in sensational style, with a majestic 164 finish on the bull to continue his dream Lakeside debut. Noppert will face defending champion Scott Waites in the last eight, and the Dutchman will be quietly confident of ending Waites’ reign.
Eighth seed Darius Labanauskas survived a valiant fightback from preliminary qualifier Krzysztof Ratajski to reach the World Championship quarter-finals for the first time. Labanauskas appeared in cruise control but was taken to a seventh and final set as the Lithuanian prevailed with an 89.37 average to set up a clash with top seed Glen Durrant.
Labanauskas secured a break of throw in the opening leg via D10. Nevertheless, Ratajski squared up the set on D8 after the Lithuanian missed nine darts at double to extend his advantage. Labanauskas responded impressively however; securing the third straight break with a 15-darter, before converting a nerveless 110 checkout to win the first set.
The eighth seed was warming to the task and pegged a classy 114 checkout on tops for his third consecutive 15-dart leg. In the following leg Labanauskas posted his first maximum to record his fifth leg in succession with a 13-darter, as ‘Lucky D’ then doubled his advantage with an effortless two-dart 88 out-shot to complete a 14-dart hold.
Ratajski rallied impressively after the interval however, and registered his first maximum before completing a 79 outshot on D11. The Pole then hit the same target to extend his cushion in set three after Labanauskas spurned three darts at double to hold.
Labanauskas hit straight back though. He secured an instant break back with a clinical 80 checkout on tops after Ratajski spurned two set darts, before forcing a set decider by following up a majestic 177 by pinning D8. Despite this, Ratajski held his nerve to post his second maximum and convert a 14-dart hold to reduce the arrears to the solitary set.
Nevertheless, the eighth seed produced a stunning sequence of darts in the fourth set to re-establish control. He kicked off proceedings with a 13-dart hold, before conjuring up a magical 132 finish (Bull, Bull, D16) having posted a score of 171 in the preceding visit. Ratajski was stunned, and Labanauskas wrapped up the set without reply via D18.
The Lithuanian dispatched a tidy two-dart 56 kill to break, before crashing in his second maximum and hitting tops for a fifth straight leg, to move to the brink of victory. Yet, out of nowhere, Ratajski launched a stirring fightback.
He posted a timely 177 and nailed D4 to prolong the contest before punishing an indifferent leg from Darius to break on D16. The Polish qualifier had the advantage of throw and maintained his composure superbly; landing his third maximum before slotting home D8 to steal the set from an improbable position.
Ratajski punished some indifferent scoring from the Lithuanian early in set six to clinch his fourth straight leg but Labanauskas halted his slide with a fine 120 finish; his fourth ton-plus checkout of the contest. However, Ratajski secured yet another break of throw via D16, before dispatching a two-dart 78 out-shot to restore parity and force a decider.
The preliminary qualifier had fought back superbly to force a final set, but he missed seven darts at double in the opening two legs of the decider as Labanauskas recorded 40 and 86 finishes for successive 17-darters.Yet this time the Lithuanian finished the job; taking out a classy two-dart 100 finish to seal his progression in dramatic fashion.
Anastasia Dobromyslova remains on course to secure her fourth World Championship title after overcoming her best-friend Lorraine Winstanley in an entertaining tussle. The Russian made a blistering start but was pegged back, only to recover and secure a battling 2-1 victory with an 82.80 average.
Dobromyslova made a rip-roaring start, firing in an early maximum en route to a 13-dart hold. The three-time world champion then converted a clinical 99 finish on D16 to extend her lead inside 15 darts before pegging D5 to clinch the set without reply, with a mightily impressive average of over 98.
Winstanley opened her account on D10 for an early hold in set two, but normal service was resumed for the Russian as she levelled with a 13-darter on tops. However, Winstanley regained the lead after Dobromyslova bust 68, before levelling up proceedings at one apiece as the fourth seed spurned five darts which would have forced a set decider.
The third and final set was a nervy affair. Lorraine fired in her second maximum but Dobromyslova held in scrappy circumstances on D2. The roles were reversed moments later as Anastasia registered her second 180 but missed three darts to break, as Winstanley held her nerve to post D14 with her last dart in hand.
The match essentially became a best of three legs contest and both players spurned opportunities in a nerve-jangling third leg. However, Dobromyslova regained her cool to peg D4, before producing a stunning final leg to triumph. The Russian ace posted three successive 140’s and completed a thrilling victory with a quality 14-dart leg.
Australia’s Corrine Hammond secured a spot in her maiden World Championship semi-final with a hard-fought 2-0 victory over 20-year-old Casey Gallagher. The Kent ace dumped out top seed Deta Hedman in the previous round but couldn’t quite replicate that display, as Hammond won both sets in deciding legs to prevail with a 70.08 average.
Gallagher drew first blood on D8 but missed six darts to extend her lead as Hammond levelled on D2. The 20-year-old responded strongly however, following up successive 140’s with a 16-dart hold. Despite this, the Australian forced a set decider with a clinical 74 finish on tops before stealing the opener on D8 after Gallagher spurned three set darts.
The roles were reversed early in set two, as Gallagher punished five missed darts from her opponent to secure an early break. The 20-year-old extended her cushion on D4 after the eighth seed narrowly missed D18 for a spectacular 156 checkout, but Hammond remained in contention by pegging D10.
It was a very even-affair, but Hammond possessed more conviction in the decisive moments and she wrestled back the initiative in set two with a 16-dart break. The five-time Australian Masters winner had the throw for the match, and she followed up successive 140’s with another 16-darter on tops to seal her place in the last four.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Evening session (1900-2100)
TV Coverage: BT Sport
Casey Gallagher 0-2 Corrine Hammond (8) (QF)
Dennis Labanauskas (8) 4-3 Krzysztof Ratajski
Lorraine Winstanley (5) 1-2 Anastasia Dobromyslova (4) (QF)
Danny Noppert (3) 4-0 Richard Veenstra (14)