World number one Lorraine Winstanley and Japanese starlet Mikuru Suzuki will face off in today’s BDO Women’s World Championship final after they defeated Anastasia Dobromyslova and Maria O’Brien in the semi-finals respectively.
Both will be playing in their first World Championship final, with Winstanley having, prior to this event, reached one semi-final in 2012 and Suzuki making her debut this year. Lorraine has admitted she felt she would ‘win it eventually’, whether it this year or not, but her relief was tangible on Friday evening as she was visibly tearful after defeating her good friend Anastasia. Dobromyslova, who, after the quarter-final stage was the only remaining former champion, was looking for her fourth World Championship title but it was not to be as the 2017 Winmau World Masters champion prevented a shot for the Russian at equaling Lisa Ashton’s record of titles. Many have seen this as a long time coming for Lorraine, whose rapid rise to the summit of the women’s world rankings has seen her pick up various ranking titles as well as the aforementioned World Masters, her first major crown.
Winstanley may well go into Saturday’s final as favourite but will be fearful of doubting her opponent. Mikuru Suzuki was tipped by a few prior to the event as one to watch after her emergence on the darts scene in Asia. There, she is a renowned name, having won an incredible 18 consecutive stage events in the continent recently. Not only has she been a frequenter in darts events in Asia but she has also recently became a more familiar name in Britain and Europe. She came within two wins of making the 2019 PDC World Championship, losing 5-2 to eventual qualification event winner Anastasia Dobromyslova. As well as two World Masters quarter-finals in the last two years, she has definitely cemented her name as one of the best in women’s darts this week and her assured defeat of Maria O’Brien demonstrated her credentials and huge chance of lifting the trophy today. She is already the first Asian finalist in a World Championship of any code or gender and, if she were to defeat the number one seed Winstanley in the final, it could prove huge for the future of Asian and Japanese darts.
In the men’s draw, Michael Unterbuchner and Scott Waites were the afternoon’s winners in the opening two quarter-finals. Unterbuchner came through a thriller with Dutchman Willem Mandigers to reach his second successive BDO world semi-final. The German fell 3-1 behind early on with an incredible 158 out from Willem taking him two sets ahead of the favourite. The Grand Slam quarter-finalist demonstrated his class though to take the game to 3 sets apiece. Despite the nerves ramping up as both exchanged blows in the first men’s quarter of the day, the next two sets went on throw before the ninth and final set went to extra-time, level at 2-2 with little between them. However, after that, the legs were all with ‘T-Rex’ as he secured his place in the last four despite a resolute performance from Mandigers.
As for ‘Scotty 2 Hotty’, it was similarly difficult work as he battled past Conan Whitehead 5-3. Waites looked impressive with a 96 average and improved doubling but it was far from simple for the two-times champ, with Whitehead taking a 2-1 lead despite falling 1-0 behind early on. His third set victory featured a superb 154 checkout but ‘The Barbarian’ was unable to extend his lead any further as Waites pinned back and took the next three sets on the trot. Whitehead again clocked in another 100+ out in the seventh set, which he won to go within a set of the former Grand Slam winner. In the end, it looked to be the Huddersfield arrowsmith’s unmatched stage experience which was a determining factor in the way the game went as he took out 142 for victory. Scott looks to be again in a rich vein of form up on the Lakeside stage and his encounter with Michael Unterbuchner in the last 4 could prove to be the best match of the event.
In the bottom half of the draw, in the first quarter of the second session, number one seed Glen Durrant edged past Northern Ireland’s Kyle McKinstry in an eagerly anticipated encounter. Durrant evidently did not want a repeat of his Thursday night clash with Scott Baker as both battled it out well past 11pm before the defending champion edged through. The meeting between Duzza and ‘The Village Man’ appeared to be heading in a similar direction as McKinstry took the opening set. This didn’t worry the cool Middlesbrough man though as he levelled the game at 1-1. He then looked to have upped his game in the third as he hit a 12 darter en route to victory before winning the next two sets. After going 4-1 up, it looked like Duzza had half an eye on the semi-finals but McKinstry persevered and managed to reduce the gulf between him and two-times winner to two sets. However, it wasn’t enough as Glen closed out the win in the next set in just 46 darts.
Durrant will face best friend Jim Williams in the semi-final after he came through a late-nighter with 2015 winner Scott Mitchell. ‘Scotty Dog’ had been in a relaxed mood about his chances in the tournament after spending more time caring for his farm than practicing but was a huge threat to the Welshman, who was looking to make his first world semi-final. There was nothing between the two tungsten chuckers as the game rolled into the Surrey night with the match locked at 3-3. The game looked to be heading in the direction of Scott Mitchell as he went 2-0 up in the seventh set but Williams turned the last 8 clash on its head as he rattled off the next three legs to go 4-3 up. He then took the next one to guarantee his World Championship rematch with Duzza this evening. I’ll be back after Saturday’s action. Thanks for reading and catch you later!