Anastasia Dobromyslova ready for World Championship return
Ten years on from making her PDC World Championship debut, Anastasia Dobromyslova is looking to create more history ahead of her Alexandra Palace return.
Dobromyslova became just the second woman to feature at a PDC World Championship when she was beaten 5-3 in the preliminary round by Remco van Eijden in 2009.
Prior to this year’s event, Gayl King was the only other woman to compete in the tournament, losing 3-1 to Graeme Stoddart in 2001.
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Nevertheless, the PDC announced a new look to an expanded 96-player World Championship field that would guarantee female players two places at the event via separate qualification events.
Reigning Lakeside women’s world champion Lisa Ashton stormed through the UK & Ireland qualifier, dropping just five legs throughout her seven matches.
Meanwhile, Dobromyslova came through the Rest of the World Qualifier in a similarly comprehensive fashion; losing just four legs across her six qualification ties.
Ashton headlined the opening night of this year’s tournament as she took on former BDO World Championship semi-finalist Jan Dekker.
‘The Lancashire Rose’ received a rapturous reception and made an electrifying start; clinching the opening set to nil with a stunning 107.36 average, converting finishes of 110 and 121 on the bull.
Dekker recovered to close out a 3-1 victory but Ashton acquitted herself superbly, becoming the first woman since King in 2001 to win a set at a PDC World Championship.
However, now it’s the turn of Dobromyslova to fly the flag for women’s darts, when she takes on Pro Tour qualifier Ryan Joyce, who is making his Alexandra Palace debut.
“I’m so excited. I can’t wait to go on the stage,” Dobromyslova told Sky Sports. “I’m a little bit nervous but I think as soon as I go on the stage I will be fine.
“Since I’ve qualified I’ve got the fire in my belly again, I’m hungry again, I want to play again and I want to practice, but it’s really hard with a two-year-old running around you! I’ve done as much as I could,” she added.
Ashton received the majority of support in her clash against Dekker on Thursday evening, and Dobromyslova admits that support from the crowd is very welcome.
“We’ve put so much work into darts and so much travel, so it’s always nice when people appreciate you and it’s nice when people want you to win, rather than saying: ‘You shouldn’t be there or you’re not good enough’, so it’s a bonus.”
Nevertheless, while Dobromyslova concedes that the women’s game still has its detractors, she’s simply focusing on the task in hand on Monday night.
“At first it was a little bit heartbreaking because you’re thinking I’ve travelled so much, I’ve practised so much and I’m probably not spending as much time with my family and the baby and someone is making comments who doesn’t even know me, the ladies game or anything about it.
“Then I thought ‘Do you know what? Your opinion doesn’t really matter’. I’m here for myself, my family and for ladies darts.”
The three-time women’s world champion famously claimed the scalp of Vincent van der Voort at the 2009 Grand Slam of Darts, while also pushing Wayne Mardle close back in 2008.
I’m really proud of myself, I made the right decision and I do not regret it one little bit. I think it made me a stronger player, a better player and I always like to challenge myself.
Dobromyslova on playing the PDC circuit
Dobromyslova was a regular feature on the Pro Tour circuit during this period, and she believes her experiences on the PDC circuit made her a better player.
“I’m really proud of myself, I made the right decision and I do not regret it one little bit. I think it made me a stronger player, a better player and I always like to challenge myself.”
Dobromyslova is already guaranteed £7,500 by virtue of qualifying for the tournament, more than she received for reaching the BDO Women’s World Championship final in January.
Victory over Joyce would see the 34-year-old set up a second-round showdown against eighth-seed Simon Whitlock and pocket a record pay-day of £15,000 in the process.
PDC Chairman Barry Hearn recently played down suggestions of a separate PDC Ladies Tour, but Dobromyslova is hopeful that this becomes a reality in the future.
“Answering the question of whether women can be as good as men, probably not at the moment because we don’t have as much experience, we don’t have such a setup and longer formats, but give us five or 10 years and yeah, why not?” Dobromyslova said.
“We could have a ladies tour, who knows? That would be awesome. Maybe not next year, but the year after maybe. I would say 90% I believe it will happen.”
The introduction of the two female qualifiers has certainly captured the imagination of the darting public, while adding another fascinating dimension to darts’ biggest-ever tournament.
It’s already proven to be a groundbreaking event for women’s darts, but Dobromyslova, one of the original trailblazers of the ladies game, will be hoping to create another piece of history on her Alexandra Palace return on Monday night.
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