Durrant: I was weak in the mind

Glen Durrant progressed to the third round of the World Championship with a straight sets victory over Diogo Portela on Wednesday evening, but the three-time BDO world champion offered a scathing assessment of his performance in his post-match press conference.

The 50-year-old cut a frustrated figure for much of the contest against ‘The Braziliant’, despite winning the opening six legs without reply. Portela rallied in set three and wired one dart at tops for the set, although a clinical 112 combination from ‘Duzza’ helped him to secure an emphatic 3-0 victory.

Durrant secured Premier League glory in October – his first major title in the PDC. Nevertheless, he’s endured a tumultuous period since then, having tested positive for Covid-19 just weeks later, which was followed by early exits at the Grand Slam and Players Championship Finals.

“I’m just looking for a big win right now, I’m in this four to five week slump and I’ve been playing with Gabriel Clemens and I’ve been playing so much better than that,” Durrant reflected post-match.

“The game of darts – a lot of it is in your mind and I was weak tonight. I’m pretty disappointed in my behaviour. As in the way I produce darts tonight. I’m just a little bit disappointed in myself there. I’m not here to have an 88 average, I thought there was better than that tonight.”

“I had a chat with Wayne Mardle to see if he could help me and he told me everything I thought was the problem with my game. The COVID is a great excuse, it’s an easy excuse. I feel fit, I feel strong. That’s not the real issue, I was a bit weak in the mind.”

It was a good day for the North East at the Alexandra Palace, as the Geordie quartet of Ryan Joyce, Chris Dobey, Callan Rydz and Adam Hunt also registered victories.

Joyce – a quarter-finalist two years ago – survived six match darts as he overcame Czech Republic star Karel Sedlacek in the afternoon’s opener, whilst Dobey rallied magnificently from 2-0 down to defeat former Lakeside finalist Jeff Smith, averaging 111 in the final two sets.

Rydz progressed to the second round for a second straight year, as he defeated Australian qualifier James Bailey 3-1. The 22-year-old made an electrifying start, only for Bailey to restore parity at one apiece, although finishes of 116, 117 helped the talented youngster to a comfortable victory.

Meanwhile, Hunt sealed his place in round two with a dramatic deciding-set win over four-time women’s world champion Lisa Ashton. ‘The Lancashire Rose’ was bidding to replicate Fallon Sherrock’s heroics from 12 months ago, and she enjoyed the perfect start.

After the pair traded four 13-dart holds, Ashton pinned a clinical 70 kill on the bull to draw first blood, despite Hunt boasting an average of 106. ‘The Hunter’ restored parity at one apiece, before punishing a barren scoring spell from Ashton to close out a scrappy third set.

The four-time women’s world champion wasn’t done there – forcing a fifth and final set courtesy of a magnificent 11-dart hold, although she was left to rue missed opportunities in a dramatic climax, spurning four darts to force a last-leg decider as Hunt sealed the deal with a classy 120 checkout.

Elsewhere, Max Hopp cruised to a straight sets win over Gordon Mathers to set up a second-round showdown against Mervyn King. The former World Youth champion was always in control, despite the mercurial Australian converting eye-catching 102 and 139 combinations.

Ross Smith will lock horns with Grand Slam champion Jose De Sousa for a place in the third round, courtesy of a straight sets success over debutant David Evans, whilst World Cup finalist William O’Connor eased past Niels Zonneveld to set up a meeting with world No 11 Daryl Gurney on Thursday.

Image Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

2020/21 William Hill World Darts Championship
Schedule of Play

Wednesday December 16
Afternoon Session (1200 GMT)
3x First Round, 1x Second Round

Ryan Joyce 3-2 Karel Sedlacek (R1)
Ross Smith 3-0 David Evans (R1)
William O’Connor 3-0 Niels Zonneveld (R1)
Chris Dobey 3-2 Jeff Smith (R2)

Evening Session (1800 GMT)
3x First Round, 1x Second Round
Max Hopp 3-0 Gordon Mathers (R1)
Callan Rydz 3-1 James Bailey (R1)
Adam Hunt 3-2 Lisa Ashton (R1)
Glen Durrant 3-0 Diogo Portela (R2)
Best of five sets (no tie-breaks in deciding sets)

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