Mikuru Suzuki clinched a historic 3-0 victory over Lorraine Winstanley in the women’s BDO World Championship final on Saturday afternoon at the Lakeside.
Suzuki, nicknamed ‘The Miracle’, became the first Asian woman to compete at Frimley Green and she capped off a stunning debut campaign by producing the performance of the women’s tournament to seal the title.
The Japanese star – twice a World Masters quarter-finalist, has enjoyed a stunning 12-month unbeaten run on home soil, winning 18 consecutive events in the process. She reached the semi-finals of the PDC Women’s World Championship qualifier in November, but she was priced as 150/1 with the bookmakers just a couple of months ago.
Nevertheless, she made a mockery of those odds with several brilliant displays throughout the week; dumping out four-time world champion Lisa Ashton 2-0 on the opening afternoon of the tournament. She followed that up with victories over Sharon Prins and Maria O’Brien, before victory over Winstanley saw her become the first female champion outside of Europe.
Suzuki incredibly didn’t relinquish a set throughout the entire tournament and she saved her best performance for the final – averaging 90.12, posting two maximums and boasting a magnificent 60% checkout success rate to cap off a majestic display- becoming the first female to post an average of over 90 in a BDO World Championship final.
‘The Miracle’ made a blistering start to the contest, converting finishes of 72, 148 and 80 to wrap up the opening set without reply. Suzuki then threatened what would have been the first televised nine-darter in the history of the women’s game after posting back-to-back maximums to kick off the second set, before eventually wrapping up the leg in 14 darts.
The 36-year-old claimed a fifth straight leg with a 16-dart hold on D10, before Winstanley opened her account with an 18-dart hold on D16. Winstanley was appearing in her maiden Lakeside final, emulating her husband Dean, who was beaten in the final of the men’s tournament by Martin Adams in 2011.
The top seed left 76 after 12 darts in the following leg as she attempted to level the second set, but Suzuki continued her clinical finishing, completing a nerveless 74 combination to round-off a 15-dart hold and extend her lead to 2-0.
Suzuki drew first blood in the third with a solid 17-dart hold on D16, but Winstanley showed her class by responding with a brilliant 99 checkout. However, the former World Masters champion was unable to launch a fightback, as Suzuki moved to the brink of victory with a classy 13-dart hold on D4, before sinking tops to prevail and scoop the £12,000 winner’s prize.
Suzuki dropped just 11 legs throughout the tournament and Eurosport pundit Chris Mason believes her victory could change the landscape of women’s darts. “This will change the face of Ladies darts forever. If you look on social media Mikuru is an absolute mega star. That’s huge for the game,” Mason said.
“She is the Phil Taylor of the ladies game. He raised the bar for the men, this is the same for the ladies’ game. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see something massive happen in Asia now on the back of this for ladies darts and rightly so. Now they have a player to take it to another level.”
Asian darts is certainly growing at a rapid rate, which was evidenced by the superb performances delivered by Seigo Asada, Lourence Ilagan and Noel Malicdem at the recent PDC World Championship. However, Suzuki’s triumph could prove to be the ground-breaking moment.
“I knew that coming in that Lorraine was a fantastic player so I just wanted to play my best game and try to win it,” Suzuki said. “It was really fantastic to have my husband here to watch me. For this tournament it was my best darts and for possibly the past year. The 148 was my best but next time I want to go for the 170 checkout!”