Ireland’s Willie O’Connor has progressed to the third round of the World Darts Championship following a 3-0 win against Glen Durrant on Wednesday afternoon.
The Limerick man was in outstanding form throughout as he cruised into a last 32 meeting with ninth seed Michael Smith after Christmas.
The win was O’Connor’s second of the tournament following a first round defeat of America’s Danny Lauby last week and there was a substantial increase in the quality of the Irishman’s performance as he dropped just one leg on the way to his biggest win at the tournament to date.
O’Connor had a lot to say after he started the tie with a 170 checkout before going from strength-to-strength on the Alexandra Palace stage.
“It was a good finish to start the game, “O’Connor said after the game. “I put him under the cosh from the start.
“I thought Glen threw pretty well in the first set. Obviously, I didn’t think he played fantastic but he didn’t miss much. He kept me under pressure.
“I scraped the first set, but when I came back after the first set, he didn’t turn up.”
O’Connor insisted that the 2020 Premier League champion was unable to deal with the pressure that was put on him.
“I hate to say the word ‘crumbled’ but yeah, he wasn’t the same man he was. It’s very hard to prepare for someone, especially when you know they’re not in form. You can’t really focus on yourself, which you should but somehow you get dragged into their game because you’re focused on what they do.
“And that did happen.
“I thought I threw alright [for] the first while but I didn’t keep the pressure on and I dipped with his game a little bit. Towards the end of the game wasn’t great.”
The Limerick native had this to say about his upcoming third round fixture:
“This is where big things will happen, whether or not they’re for me, they’re going to happen for someone.
“I’m going to be here involved after Christmas and please God it’s going to be me that’s involved in the big things that’s happening. I can’t play like that in the next game. If I play like that, I’m going home.
“I just hope Michael [Smith] drops his level a little bit because he’s the man of the tournament.”
Carlow’s Steve Lennon advanced to the third round last week following a famous victory against Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski.