Two-time PDC world champion Gary Anderson said darts fans would have been better off watching Coronation Street than his controversial 4-3 third-round win over Mensur Suljovic.
The Scot missed 33 shots at doubles and admitted to being frustrated by Austrian Suljovic’s inconsistent pace of play at London’s Alexandra Palace.
“It was dire, an absolute joke of a game,” Anderson told Sky Sports.
“I’ve always played darts, but if that’s darts, I’m offski.”
He added: “If that’s how darts is going to be played, I’m away for a game of golf. I’m not going through that again.
“I’m sure there are 90% of folk watching at home, they probably turned over and watched Corrie or something – I would have done.”
Questioning Suljovic’s variable pace of play, Anderson added: “Was he slow in the last set or the third set? No, he wasn’t slow then.
“I just want to throw darts and if you get spanked, the boy’s been better than you. You shake his hand and then you go.
“But I didn’t enjoy that and I’m just sorry for the folk who watched it.”
Anderson – who saw Suljovic miss four darts to close out both the first and third sets before losing them – trailed 3-2 after losing six successive legs.
But the number 13 seed rattled off six legs of his own to finally overcome the Austrian and reach the last 16.
World number three Gerwyn Price beat Brendan Dolan in another seven-set thriller settled by a last-leg decider.
Welshman Price almost took victory in the sixth set, but missed double top for a match-sealing 145 finish.
Northern Irishman Dolan’s reprieve was short-lived as Price, who averaged 99.74, took the final set 3-2 to set up a last-16 date with Mervyn King, who earlier beat Grand Slam champion Jose de Sousa, from Portugal, 4-0.
Price said: “I was all over the shop. One minute I was playing really well, the next minute I couldn’t hit a barn door.
“I thought the luck was up against me, but I stuck in there until the end and I was thankful to see that last dart go in.
“You can’t just think you can turn up and win because anyone can win this tournament, but I never thought Brendan was going to play as well as he did. Thankfully I got over the line.”
In the afternoon session, world number six Nathan Aspinall lost 4-2 to Vincent van der Voort.
Van der Voort, the 27th seed, raced into a 2-0 lead before the English sixth seed levelled it at 2-2.
But Aspinall never looked comfortable and Van der Voort capitalised.
“In the beginning I was good. I didn’t have the same aggression after the first two sets, but I can’t complain,” said the Dutchman.
Van der Voort will next face either Northern Ireland’s Daryl Gurney or England’s Chris Dobey.
World Grand Prix finalist Dirk van Duijvenbode from the Netherlands set up a last-16 meeting with two-time BDO world champion and Premier League winner Glen Durrant after beating Adam Hunt 4-0.
England’s Durrant, the 12th seed, led American Danny Baggish 3-0 but eventually came through 4-2.