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'Best darts I’ve ever played' - Stephen Bunting opens up on current form amid latest Masters shock

Stephen Bunting delivered a masterclass in big finishing to dump out World Champion Luke Humphries on Day Two at the Cazoo Masters.

Saturday’s double session saw eight second round ties take place at the Marshall Arena, with Humphries, reigning champion Dobey and 2023 World Champion Michael Smith all crashing out.

World number one Humphries was beaten 10-7 by an inspired Bunting, who registered a quartet of ton-plus checkouts to boost his hopes of landing a first televised PDC title.

Bunting made a blistering start to proceedings, opening his account with back-to-back 13-darters, and maintaining his two-leg buffer with a 130 checkout in leg four.

Humphries replied with 117 and 145 finishes midway through the contest, although he was unable to reel in a relentless Bunting, who landed a brace of 110 checkouts to retain his advantage.

Humphries – who averaged 99 in defeat - also fired in a stunning 140 outshot in leg 12, but a sensational 146 combination from Bunting in the penultimate leg catapulted him to victory.

“It’s a massive confidence boost for me,” admitted Bunting, who fought back from 5-2 down to deny Ross Smith in Friday’s first round.

“When you’re playing against the World Champion and world number one, you know you’ve got to produce something close to your best, and I think my finishing tonight got me over the line.

“I feel like I’m playing the best darts I’ve ever played, and I believe I can win again.”

Dobey, meanwhile, was brushed aside by five-time champion Van Gerwen, who punished a below-par display from the defending champion to run out an emphatic 10-4 winner.

Dobey drew first blood in 14 darts before Van Gerwen won the next six legs without reply, and the Dutch superstar raised his game in the latter stages to ignite his bid for a record-extending sixth Masters crown.

“I can’t complain too much,” insisted the three-time World Champion, who averaged 96 and crashed in five 180s.

“It wasn’t the best performance, but I think I played some really good darts towards the end of the match.

“I’ve been waiting a few years for this title, but I feel sharp, I feel comfortable, and I’m just focused on beating whoever is in my path.”

World number three Smith was another high-profile casualty in Milton Keynes, succumbing 10-6 a clinical Dimitri Van den Bergh in the evening's finale.

Van den Bergh rattled in 120, 132 and 150 finishes to send Smith packing, just days after the St Helens star claimed the spoils on Night One of the Premier League in Cardiff.

Photo Credit: Taylor Lanning/PDC

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