Gary Anderson rebuffed rumours of retirement after he cruised into the third round of the World Championship with an emphatic straight sets victory over Brendan Dolan on Monday night.
‘The Flying Scotsman’ had seen four out of five seeds dumped out prior to his arrival at Alexandra Palace and given Dolan’s resurgence over recent months – this was seen as a precarious tussle for the two-time world champion.
Nevertheless, Anderson swept to victory for the loss of the solitary leg – averaging 93.77 and crashing in seven maximums. The Scot averaged just 79 in a scrappy opening stanza, but produced a blistering spell in the latter stages to send out an early marker to his title rivals.
In his post-match interview, the fifth seed was asked about rumours surrounding his future in the sport, although the Scot was typically coy when discussing whether retirement was around the corner.
‘I’ve heard that rumour as well, I’ve heard certain people asking certain players if this is my last World Championship. If I want you to know, I won’t tell you,” quipped the 48-year-old.
It’s been a tough year for Anderson, who was forced to pull out of this year’s Premier League due to a persistent back injury. His World Cup success with Peter Wright in June was an obvious highlight, but he’s been unable to replicate that form throughout the rest of the campaign.
He’s failed to reach the semi-finals of an individual televised event since last year’s World Championship and his sporadic participation on the Pro Tour saw him fail to qualify for last month’s Players Championship Finals.
“There’s days I can throw and there’s days that I can’t, I might be able to throw for the next couple of weeks,” Anderson admitted. “It’s been a hard year but the last two or three days I’ve been over the moon on the practice board.”
“There’s days that I can throw and my throw’s right and there’s days I can’t throw, so I just need to keep pushing on. It’s getting there. Yesterday, over the moon.
“If it was yesterday tonight I’d be £100,000 richer, which tells you how they were going on the practice board. The back’s alright but there’s days I can’t move like I should do. There’s days I’m like a gazelle and days I’m like a hippo but I just get on with it,” he added.
Also on Monday, Vincent van der Voort set up a second round showdown against 10th seed Dave Chisnall after defeating 17-year-old Irish star Keane Barry 3-0. Barry acquitted himself excellently on debut, but the Dutchman produced a clinical display to triumph with a 95 average.
William O’Connor defeated Finland’s Marko Kantele in straight sets to set up a meeting with third seed Gerwyn Price in the second round and ‘The Magpie’ fired a warning that he will fight fire with fire against the exuberant Welshman.
Elsewhere, Callan Rydz made a winning start on his World Championship debut, surviving two match darts to edge out Steve Lennon in a last-leg decider. The opening four sets were all won 3-0, but the fifth went the distance, as Rydz held his nerve to prevail with a 15-dart hold.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC