Fallon Sherrock returned to the scene of her finest hour, but fluffed her lines as world number 51 Jermaine Wattimena overcame the boos and a partizan Alexandra Palace crowd to dump ‘The Queen of the Palace’ out of the tournament in the first round.
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Four years on from her breakthrough moment – and roared on by the thousands in attendance – the 29-year-old delighted the north London crowd, taking the first set with a couple of 180s and some trademark ice-cool finishing.
Wattimena hit back as Sherrock lost her way, levelling the match by claiming the second set in comfortable fashion, and adding the third to stand on the brink of victory.
Sherrock threatened to take the match into a fifth and final set as she led 2-1 in the fourth, but she missed a dart at double eight that would have taken the contest into a decider. Her Dutch opponent swooped to win the next two legs and despite missing match darts, Sherrock could not take advantage and Wattimena advanced.
The Queen of the Palace caused a sensation in December 2019 when she became the first woman to beat a man in the tournament’s history – beating Ted Evetts and then following up with a win over 11th seed Mensur Suljovic to reach the third round.
Her two following appearances resulted in first-round exits, but defeat on Sunday night on the sport’s biggest stage means she followed boyfriend Cameron Menzies in exiting the tournament in the opening three days. Sherrock had watched on on Friday as Menzies won to reach the second round, where he was beaten on Saturday afternoon.
Sherrock was virtually unknown when she made her World Darts Championship debut, but her achievement at Alexandra Palace made headlines all over the world including TV appearances in the US and Australia as well as a spot at the US Darts Masters at Madison Square Garden.
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She has continued to make huge strides, winning the first ever women’s World Matchplay in 2022 and reaching the quarterfinal of the Grand Slam of Darts. She lost to then world number one Michael van Gerwen in the final of the Nordic Darts Masters.
This year she has made more history with the highest ever women’s average and became the first woman to record the sport’s perfect nine-dart finish in a televised event – and was awarded an MBE in the King’s Birthday Honours List.
Mikuru Suzuki is the other woman to qualify, she plays Ricardo Pietreczko on Tuesday and will hope to become just the second woman to win a match against a man in the tournament.
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