A former semi-finalist at the Alexandra Palace, Stephen Bunting is riding a wave of momentum once again at the PDC World Darts Championship, proudly declaring "that's the best I've ever played on that stage."
The 37-year-old former BDO World Champion had endured a torrid time against his good friend Dave Chisnall in recent years, this being his first victory over his fellow St Helens native since 2017. "Chizzy is a very good friend of mine, but we're all up on that stage to do one thing and that's win," Bunting said post-match. "I'm so happy for the win but I'm gutted for Chizzy at the same time."
Tournament Centre 2022/23 PDC World Darts Championship: Schedule, results, TV Guide and Prize Money Breakdown
As mentioned, Bunting is no stranger to a deep run at Ally Pally. Reaching the quarter-finals on debut in 2015 and making it to the last four just two years ago before losing to eventual winner Gerwyn Price. However, this performance tops the lot in his own eyes. "I'd probably say that's the best I've ever played on that stage," Bunting says. "Chizzy was throwing everything at me as well, there were stages in that game where I felt like I could just place them in the treble 20 but I'd turn around and Chizzy would have all three in there as well."
"I hit a nine-darter in practice, I felt really good," Bunting reveals and he'll be hoping to carry that form into his last 16 tie against number 5 seed, Luke Humphries. "I always believe I can win it but it's going to take my best," a confident Bunting declares. "Was that my best? I don't know. I think there are more levels in the locker."
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