Reigning women’s world champion Mikuru Suzuki will make her PDC World Championship debut at Alexandra Palace next month after defeating her compatriot Kasumi Sato 6-3 to prevail in the Rest of the World Women’s Qualifier in Hildesheim on Saturday afternoon.
Suzuki – who also featured in this week’s Grand Slam of Darts, came through a 38-player field in Germany to become the fourth female representative to qualify for the PDC World Championship, dropping just nine legs en route to securing qualification.
‘The Miracle’ kicked off her campaign with a dominant 6-1 win over Marina Letica – averaging 83.30 – the highest of the afternoon. The Japanese sensation then recorded successive 6-2 wins over Amanda Loch and Aletta Wajer to secure her spot in the semi-finals.
This set up a showdown against former Lakeside finalist Corrine Hammond, who dumped out three-time world champion Anastasia Dobromyslova in a last-leg decider in the quarter-finals.
Dobromyslova progressed through the Rest of the World qualifier 12 months ago, defeating Suzuki in the semi-finals. Nevertheless, the Russian was denied a third Alexandra Palace appearance by the tenacious Australian, who has also qualified for this year’s BDO World Championship.
However, Suzuki swept aside Hammond in emphatic fashion, racing into a 5-0 lead before closing out a 6-1 success, which set up a mouthwatering all-Japanese final against Sato – a semi-finalist at last month’s World Masters.
Sato boasted the highest first nine-dart average of all 38 participants, but it wasn’t enough for the 28-year-old to clinch a coveted qualification spot as Suzuki ran out a 6-3 winner in their decisive clash, averaging 78.50 in the process.
Sato began her campaign with a comprehensive whitewash win over Kristina Erkelenz, before battling past two-time major winner Aileen De Graaf 6-4 to reach the last eight. Sato then defeated Priscilla Steenbergen by the same scoreline to move to within two wins of qualification.
In the last four, Sato posted her highest average of the afternoon – averaging 82.70 en route to a thumping 6-1 win over Renata Slowikowska. Despite this, the World Masters semi-finalist was unable to replicate that performance against her compatriot, as Suzuki earned the spoils.
Suzuki will follow in the footsteps of Gayl King, Dobromyslova and Lisa Ashton by competing in the PDC World Championship. King was the first woman to feature back in 2000, losing 3-1 in the opening round to Graeme Stoddart.
Dobromyslova was beaten in the preliminary round back in 2009, before making her return exactly a decade later alongside Ashton, after the PDC introduced two separate women’s qualifiers.
The Russian was beaten in straight sets by eventual quarter-finalist Ryan Joyce, whilst four-time world champion Ashton lost out 3-1 to Jan Dekker, despite storming to the opening set with a 107 average.
‘The Lancashire Rose’ will bid to make it back-to-back Ally Pally appearances in the UK & Ireland Women’s Qualifier in Wigan on November 25, where Deta Hedman, Beau Greaves, Fallon Sherrock, Lorraine Winstanley, Laura Turner and Maria O’Brien will also be in attendance.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Rest of the World Women’s Qualifier
Mikuru Suzuki 6-2 Aletta Wajer
Corrine Hammond 6-5 Anastasia Dobromyslova
Renata Slowikowska 6-5 Sandra Kaup
Kasumi Sato 6-4 Priscilla Steenbergen
Mikuru Suzuki 6-1 Corrine Hammond
Kasumi Sato 6-1 Renata Slowikowska
Mikuru Suzuki 6-3 Kasumi Sato