PDC World Darts Championship 2020-21: Lisa Ashton beaten by Adam Hunt in first-round thriller
Lisa Ashton's defeat leaves Deta Hedman as only women left in tournament; she plays Andy Boulton on Saturday - coverage continues on Sky Sports Darts from 6pm on Thursday with two more sessions featuring Daryl Gurney and Jose De Sousa
By Paul Prenderville at Alexandra Palace
Last Updated: 17/12/20 10:19am
Lisa Ashton's second PDC World Championship appearance in three years ended in an agonising 3-2 first-round defeat at the hands of Adam Hunt.
Some 12 months on from Fallon Sherrock's history-making exploits at last year's tournament, Ashton was hoping to make more headlines having become the first woman to win a PDC Tour Card via Q-School when she battled through amongst more than 500 other hopefuls.
Wednesday Evening's results
|Round One||Max Hopp 3-0 Gordon Mathers|
|Round One||Callan Rydz 3-1 James Bailey|
|Round One||Adam Hunt 3-2 Lisa Ashton|
|Round Two||Glen Durrant 3-0 Diogo Portela|
The Lancashire Rose, a four-time women's world champion, matched Hunt but faltered in the decisive set with mistakes at crucial moments.
Hunt was coolness personified as he took out 120 to win the match after Ashton had missed three darts to force the fifth set into a deciding leg. Two years ago, Ashton had been beaten 3-1 by Jan Dekker in the first round, but a year on the circuit having won her Tour Card in January had sharpened the focus. She was chasing a first televised win over a male opponent - having racked up 20 of them during the regular darts season.
However, it wasn't to be as Hunt moved into a second-round meeting with Jamie Hughes, and Ashton was left to reflect on what might have been.
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Wednesday Afternoon's results
|Round One||Ryan Joyce 3-2 Karel Sedlacek|
|Round One||Ross Smith 3-0 David Evans|
|Round One||William O'Connor 3-0 Niels Zonneveld|
|Round Two||Chris Dobey 3-2 Jeff Smith|
Duzza ends Diogo's dream
Premier League champion Glen Durrant had to dig deep to see off Diogo Portela, the Brazilian who ended Steve Beaton's record-breaking 30th consecutive World Championship appearance on opening night.
Duzza was far from his brilliant best and laboured for much of the contest against Portela, who had experienced an emotional Tuesday evening during which he claimed his first win on the Ally Pally stage and revealed he had endured serious mental health struggles.
Durrant swept to the first set, winning all three legs without much resistance but he failed to build on that. Having contracted Covid-19 just over a month ago, he was short on energy.
In the end, the three-time BDO world champion, who reached the last eight on his debut last year, did enough to keep Portela at arm's length and he fought back from 2-1 down in the third set to complete a 3-0 win and a possible meeting with Adrian Lewis in the last 32.
Dobey fights back to win a thriller
Chris Dobey and Jeff Smith served up an early contender for the match of the tournament, with Dobey running out a 3-2 winner having stood on the brink of a surprise second-round exit.
The 22nd seed, who ended Fallon Sherrock's fairy tale last year, was averaging just 85 and his Canadian opponent is not the sort of player to mess around when given a chance took every opportunity that came his way, opening up an early 2-0 lead in sets.
Hard loss yes, but what a game to be part of. @Dobey10 played with some mega grit, determination, and heart to pull that back. I'll be routing for him. I was willing to stay 😉, but I will now I get a Christmas with my girls 💜 Can't thank you all enough for the support 🎯— Jeff Smith (@TheSilencer170) December 16, 2020
At the point of no return, Hollywood chose that moment to launch his comeback to win the third set thanks to a classy 116 finish and catapult himself back in the contest. There was no looking back as 15-, 12- and 12-dart legs gave him the fourth set and a level contest.
Smith's level had hardly dropped but Dobey was averaging more than 100 as he turned the match on its head, sweeping to all three legs in the decider for an impressive victory and a date with either William O'Connor or Daryl Gurney in the third round.
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Big names learn second-round fate
Despite being without the backing of his fans - Germans usually account for 25 per cent of the ticket sales pre-Christmas at Alexandra Palace - Max Hopp produced a professional display to see off Australian debutant Gordon Mathers.
An average of 96 and the loss of just three legs was enough for The Maximiser to win 3-0 and book a showdown with Players Championship Finals runner-up Mervyn King on Saturday afternoon - the man he recorded his first World Championship victory against in 2015.
Callan Rydz also booked his place in the second round; he will face seventh seed James Wade having seen off James Bailey 3-1 in a contest that featured four huge 100+ finishes.
Thursday's Order of Play
|Afternoon||Madars Razma v Toru Suzuki (R1)|
|Mike De Decker v Edward Foulkes (R1)|
|Ryan Murray v Lourence Ilagan (R1)|
|Daryl Gurney v O'Connor/Zonneveld (R2)|
|Evening||Luke Woodhouse v Jamie Lewis (R1)|
|Ron Meulenkamp v Boris Krcmar (R1)|
|Ryan Searle v Danny Lauby (R1)|
|Jose de Sousa v R Smith/D Evans (R2)|
Also on day two Ryan Joyce, Ross Smith and William O'Connor were among the first-round winners booking headline second-round meetings with big names.
Joyce was the first winner of the day, coming through a thriller against Karel Sedlacek to win a last-set decider, and survive six missed match darts from Sedlacek. Joyce's reward is a date with the world no 15 Krzysztof Ratajski on Monday night.
A pair of major winners await Smith and O'Connor after both eased their way past first-round opposition on Wednesday afternoon. Smith's reward for a 3-0 win over David Evans is a showdown with Grand Slam of Darts champion Jose de Sousa, while O'Connor set up an all-Ireland showdown with former World Grand Prix champion and 11th seed Gurney.
Don't miss a dart this Christmas thanks to the dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel all the way until January 4 with every session from the World Darts Championship, including the final on Sunday, January 3. Check out daily Darts news on skysports.com/darts, our app for mobile devices and our Twitter account @skysportsdarts