Ricky Evans fought back from a set down to record a 3-1 win over Fallon Sherrock, who was bidding to create more history on the sport’s biggest stage.
The 28-year-old defeated Ted Evetts and Mensur Suljovic three years ago to become the first woman to triumph at the PDC World Championship, and she produced another impressive display in the capital.
Evans certainly embraced the festive spirit, walking on to ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ by Shakin’ Stevens and donning a Santa hat and beard during a memorable walk-on.
However, Sherrock gave the capacity crowd plenty to cheer in the opening exchanges, reeling off three successive legs in 17, 14 and 17 darts to draw first blood.
Sherrock also seized the early initiative in set two with a clinical 76 combination, but a 122 finish on the bull from Evans turned the tide, as the Kettering star restored parity at one set apiece.
The Women’s World Matchplay winner recovered to move ahead in set three, but she paid the price for squandering four darts for a 2-1 lead, as Evans pinned tops to move a set away from victory.
The fourth set followed a similar pattern, although after Sherrock spurned two further darts to force a decider, Evans raced to victory, sealing the deal with a quick-fire 107 combination to advance.
“I knew it was going to be tough, but I didn’t expect it to be that tough. She is so good,” said Evans, who will play Masters champion Joe Cullen for a place in round three.
“Fallon was the better player. I got away with that, but I’m so happy to win. I have got nothing to lose now.”
The Cazoo World Darts Championship is being broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK & Ireland, through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and Viaplay, and on PDCTV (excluding UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria & Switzerland based subscribers).
Tuesday December 20
3x First Round, 1x Second Round
Jim Williams 3-2 Sebastian Bialecki (0-3, 3-1, 2-3, 3-0, 3-1) (R1)
Jimmy Hendriks 3-1 Jamie Hughes (2-3, 3-1, 3-2, 3-1) (R1)
Ricky Evans 3-1 Fallon Sherrock (1-3, 3-2, 3-2, 3-2) (R1)
Raymond van Barneveld 3-1 Ryan Meikle (1-3, 3-0, 3-2, 3-0) (R2)
Wednesday December 21
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
2x First Round, 2x Second Round
John O’Shea v Darius Labanauskas (R1)
Martijn Kleermaker v Xicheng Han (R1)
Callan Rydz v Josh Rock (R2)
Dave Chisnall v Andrew Gilding (R2)
Evening Session (1900 GMT)
4x Second Round
Mervyn King v Danny Baggish (R2)
Gabriel Clemens v William O’Connor (R2)
Michael van Gerwen v Lewy Williams (R2)Stephen Bunting v Leonard Gates (R2)
Images: Kieran Cleeves / PDC
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