Day five and the till now only woman who qualified by a pub qualifier for the PDC World Championship
Really - even that happened once and it was not so long ago. And it matches the fifth day of the tournament as well as the woman who managed that was Anastasia Dobromyslova and she was one of the players who stood on the stage of the Alexandra Palace on day five.
Dobromyslova entered the pub qualifiers for the UK Open in 2008 after she had won the BDO Women's World Championship for the first time and managed to qualify. As it sometimes happen with the draw she was drawn against another pub qualifier who was a BDO player at that time - Robert Thornton. Sometimes PDC careers start like this. Dobromyslova lost a close match and somehow didn't seem to know to which organisations she belonged for some time.First she played the Winmau World Masters but she had an invitation to the Grand Salm of Darts as this year the PDC had decided to invite the BDO Women's World Champion as well and she switched to the PDC Circuit on which her husband at that time played.
She was the first woman who took part in the Grand Slam and though she didn't survive the group phase she almost defeated Wayne Mardle - something he till today doesn't like to be reminded of. Later the year she got a wildcard for the PDC World Championship 2009 - supposedly because an Indian qualifier had withdrawn. A lot of fierce discussions followed. Dobromyslova lost her Preliminary Round match against Remco van Eiden.
She qualified again for the UK Open in 2009 by the UK Open Ranking and played as PDPA member in the PDC Women's World Championship but lost in the semi-finals to Stacy Bromberg. 2010 she again took part in the Grand Slam and this time in the group phase defeated Vincent van der Voort. In the same year she as well played together with Roman Konchikov as team Russia in the very first PDC World Cup. When she couldn't qualify for the PDC World Championship again she left the PDC and returned 2011 to the BDO. Since then she twice - 2012 and 2013 - won the BDO World Championship. By now Dobromyslova sometimes plays as her husband in soft-darts events. She took part in the "Rest of the World" qualifier for the PDC World Championship 2019 and so returned to the Alexandra Palace.
The fifth day of the World Championship was after three long darts days the first day with only an evening session - again with three first round matches and one Second Round match. Despite its being a Monday evening the venue was well filled as was the press room. As it turned out it was not because of Raymond van Barneveld who played the last match of the night but because of Anastasia Dobromyslova. After her match a lot of the journalists and photographers disappeared.
The evening started with the match between Vincent van der Voort and Lourence Ilagan, a high-class and interesting and from both players fast match. Ilagan won only one set because he had a lot of trouble finding a double but nevertheless van der Voort couldn't' get rid of him and van der Voort's 3:1 win was a little bit lucky. Somehow both players seemed to be as strong - might be Ilagan was even a little bit better.
The second match between Devon Petersen and Wayne Jones was a very close match which was only decided in the last leg of the fifth set. Jones had six matchdarts but couldn't hit a double while Petersen needed some luck and eight attempts to hit the double to win.
After that the enthusiastically cheered Anastasia Dobromyslova came on stage who had to play against debutant Ryan Joyce. Joyce had qualified by the Pro Tour Order of Merit. He played till Qualifying School 2018 on the BDO Circuit so probably he knows Dobromyslova quite well.it was not really difficult for Joyce to win as Anastasia's average was almost 15 points lower than his. It looks Dobromyslova is not back to old strength after the birth of her son last year. She lost 0:3.
Was the defeat of Anastasia not really an upset, the last match of the night - the Second Round match - brought one. Raymond van Barneveld lost to Darius Labanauskas. Van Barneveld only recently announced he would retire end of 2019 but told he still felt he could win another World Championship. but in this World Championship he was rather etiolated and fought all the time to find a double. Besides he looked he didn't enjoy playing at all and didn't find a way throughout the match to improve. His opponent Darius Labanauskas on the other hand played as solid as in his First Round win over Matthew Edgar which was on this day enough to defeat Raymond van Barneveld with 3:0 and to progress into the Third Round. The second big upset of the tournament and the Dutchman will slide down in the ranking.
It was very late when I finally went back to my room and behind most windows I passed it was already dark. Nevertheless on a bald tree beside the street a bird sang full-throated...