Mon, 23 Dec 2019
Pic: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
LUKE Humphries stormed to a 4-2 win against Nico Kurz to progress into the fourth round of the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace.
The 24-year-old made a stunning start in the contest as he took out a checkout of 124 and win the opening set, averaging 93 in the process.
The second set went all the way with the German holding his nerve to win 3-2 and level up the game.
Kurz took the lead when he claimed the third set, but back came Humphries who won the fourth which included checkouts of 122 and 71.
Despite being broken in the next set, Humphries came from behind to lead 3-2 and move to within a set of the next round.
Although Kurz hit a stunning 131 checkout in the seventh set, Humphries held his nerve to see out the victory. The 24-year-old hit a total of eight 180's and finished the game with an average of 94.80.
After the game, Humphries admitted that if his scoring can improve, a place in the final of the competition is not an impossible target.
"The doubles I am hitting and the crucial finishes I am taking is showing my progression and I am not feeling the pressure anymore.
"I think I am becoming a better player and if I find my trebles better than I am, I believe I can get to the final.
"If I can start to find that first treble 20, I feel my finishing is too good not to reach the final," he added.
Humphries will now face Belgium's Kim Huybrechts in the fourth round and it's another game he is looking forward to.
"It is a huge opportunity for us both," he said. "Kim is on the resurgence and he is just like me as he has had some tough games.
"We’re both unseeded and we have defied to odds of reaching the last 16 and I know it’ll be a good game.
"It’ll be a big coup for me to get to back-to-back quarter-finals and Kim will look at it in the same way as me because it’s a winnable game for us both."
With the Newbury man returning to Alexandra Palace after Christmas for the second successive year, he’s keen to keep up the hard work.
"Last year I only had to play two games to get to Christmas, but this year I had to play three and it really makes Christmas better to celebrate because I am still in the competition.
"Even though it is Christmas, I’ll be spending three days practicing."