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I've set the bar for World Championship title bid, says Gurney

 

By Adam McKendry

Daryl Gurney says he'll need to replicate his performance against Ronny Huybrechts if he wants to win the PDC World Darts Championship at the Alexandra Palace.

Gurney opened his campaign last night with a 3-1 win over the Belgian in a high-quality match that saw the Londonderry man produce a 100.51 average on his way into the second round.

"I played really well in the first two sets, and then I was trying too hard in the third set to close it out 3-0," Gurney admitted.

"The first three sets were really good from both me and him, and I need to produce that all the time in every game."

Elsewhere, Mensur Suljovic defeated Kevin Painter 3-0, while qualifier Paul Lim stunned former World champion Mark Webster 3-1.

While Gurney didn't have it quite as easy as title rival Suljovic, he got off to a stunning start, opening with a 10-dart leg after just falling short of a nine-darter.

However, the rest of the set wasn't as straightforward as Huybrechts won the second leg and broke Gurney in the third.

Fortunately for the Ulsterman, Huybrechts couldn't take out double 20 for the set in the fourth leg, allowing him back in to tie it up, before going on to take the set in the fifth.

And Gurney kept that momentum going into the first leg of the second set, breaking immediately and following it up by taking out 72 in the second leg and breaking again in the third leg for a whitewash second set.

Gurney solidified his position by taking the first leg of the third set, but Huybrechts took the second, his first since the third of the first set, with a 64 checkout.

That seemed to rejuvenate the Belgian, who, despite missing five darts to win the leg, still came through on double five for the break after Gurney missed three of his own to hold his throw.

That opened the door for Huybrechts to take the third set, again finishing off 64 to keep the match alive, but any fears that a comeback was on were immediately allayed by Gurney.

With Huybrechts sitting on 32 to hold throw in the first leg of the fourth set, 'Superchin' placed two in the treble 20 before finding the bull for a 170 finish.

He followed that up with a hold of throw, while Huybrechts did the same with a 112 checkout in the third leg, but the Belgian couldn't stop Gurney holding again in the fourth for the win.

Gurney now faces the winner of Scotland's John Henderson and Finland's Marko Kantele.

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