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Luke Humphries kicks off bid for Paddy Power World Darts Championship glory with victory at London’s Alexandra Palace

Luke Humphries kicked off his bid for Paddy Power World Darts Championship glory with a straight-sets success against Lee Evans at London’s Alexandra Palace.

Humphries has been the world’s form player since October, lifting World Grand Prix, Grand Slam of Darts and Players Championship Finals titles to catapult himself to a career-high of world number three.

This saw Humphries arrive in the capital as the pre-tournament favourite.

And he extended his remarkable winning run on the televised stage to 14 matches with a hard-fought victory over Evans on Sunday.

The 28-year-old signalled his intent with back-to-back 14-darters on his way to claiming the opening set, before Evans raised the roof with the first 170 checkout of the tournament midway through set two.

After doubling his advantage in a second-set decider, Humphries extraordinarily survived nine set darts to book his place in round three, with Evans missing a trio of set darts at double in three consecutive legs.

“I wasn’t at my best there, but the most important thing for me is that it felt good,” claimed Newbury man Humphries.

“I just wanted to get through my first game, because that’s often the toughest, and I know I won’t play like that in the next round.

“When I come back again after Christmas, I will be ready to go.

“It’s going to be really tough, but if I play like I can, I think it is going to take a big performance to beat me.”

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