World Darts Championship 2018/19 Quarter-Finals preview and order of play - Last Eight aim to keep title dream alive

Jamie Shaw in PDC Darts News 29 Dec 2018
Anderson and Chisnall face off (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

The 2018/19 World Championship reaches the Quarter-Final stage on Saturday as the eight remaining hopefuls aim to remain in the running for darts' ultimate prize.

One of the most unpredictable tournaments in the 25-year history of the World Championship has produced a plethora of shocks, with the top seeds tumbling left, right and centre in the early rounds.

That trend has continued into the latter stages, with half of the remaining field entering uncharted territory at Alexandra Palace and enjoying runs which could define their career.

Nathan Aspinall, Brendan Dolan, Luke Humphries and Ryan Joyce all started out as 500/1 rank outsiders with William Hill before a dart was thrown, but at least one of them will find themselves in Sunday's Semi-Finals.

Humphries has made a sensational step up from Development Tour winner to world beater on the sport's biggest stage and continued his remarkable breakthrough run by ending the reign of defending champion Rob Cross in the Last 16 on Friday night.

The 23-year-old, making only his third televised tournament appearance, has taken everything in his stride so far, dropping just four sets in setting up a Last Eight show-down with Michael Smith.

Humphries thrashed Adam Hunt 3-0 before knocking out former Lakeside Champion Stephen Bunting 3-1 and back-to-back World Youth Champion Dimitri van den Bergh 4-1 and sent shockwaves through the sport by coming from 2-0 down to reel off four straight sets and stun Cross.

He now faces another mammoth task against a player accustomed to the big occasions and heading towards a first world final at a rate of knots - world number ten Smith.

Smith, Shanghai Masters winner and Premier League finalist in 2018, has equalled his best ever run at Ally Pally and is now firm favourite to come through this fascinating bottom half of the draw.

Despite a whole host of big names tumbling around him, 'Bully Boy' has marched into the latter stages without being overly troubled, defeating Ron Meulenamp 3-1 before averaging 100.5 in a 4-2 win over John Henderson and 99.7 in a 4-1 defeat of Ryan Searle.

The evening's other contest sees world number one Michael van Gerwen look to remain on course for a third world title by ending the fairy-tale run of Ryan Joyce.

Van Gerwen, World Champion in 2014, and 2017, has staved off any threat of an upset so far, dropping just one set in each of his three wins en route to this stage with a tournament average of 104.

The Dutch sensation, a winner of 19 PDC titles this year including the Premier League and World Grand Prix, now aims to power past the world number 74 and stamp his authority over the extended format.

Joyce is in dreamland on his World Championship debut, having knocked out two of the world's top ten players on his way to picking up a guaranteed cheque of at least £50,000.

The Newcastle ace swept aside three-time women's World Champion Anastasia Dobromyslova in straight sets before repeating the dose on world number eight Simon Whitlock and holding his nerve in a seven-set epic against Alan Norris.

He then dumped out European Champion James Wade in another nail-biting deciding set after the left-hander had missed five match darts to wrap it up in set six.

A former shop floor worker, Joyce now has his sights set on pulling off what would be one of the biggest darting upsets of all time.

A mouth-watering show-down in the afternoon session sees two-time World Champion Gary Anderson take on a resurgent Dave Chisnall.

Anderson, the number four seed, is bidding to become the first player outside of Phil Taylor to win three PDC world titles, having gone the distance in 2015 and 2016.

The reigning UK Open and World Matchplay champion, however, has somewhat ridden his luck on the way to the Quarter-Finals, surviving one match dart from Jermaine Wattimena in Round Three as he edged through a nail-biting tie break before again being taken the distance by his young protege Chris Dobey in an epic battle.

The Flying Scotsman fell at the Quarter-Final hurdle to Phil Taylor 12 months ago and will be determined to avert a similar fate as he bid to remain on a collision course for a dream Semi-Final clash with MVG. 

Chisnall is appearing in his second World Championship Quarter-Final after a roller-coaster campaign which was almost ended at the first hurdle.

He recovered from two sets down to defeat Josh Payne in his opening salvo before recording a contrastingly straightforward 4-0 whitewashes of Kim Huybrechts and Jamie Lewis.

The St Helens power-scorer, Lakeside runner-up in 2010, has won just five of his 23 previous meetings with Anderson, notably going down 5-3 in an epic Quarter-Final at Ally Pally two years ago.

A hugely unlikely Quarter-Final contest before a dart was thrown a fortnight ago, Nathan Aspinall and Brendan Dolan will face off for a dream Semi-Final spot and the small matter of a guaranteed £100,000 payday.

Aspinall has announced his arrival into big time darts at Ally Pally in an incredible debut run which has seen him defeat Geert Nentjes, Gerwyn Price, Kyle Anderson and Devon Petersen.

The 27-year-old, a ProTour event winner in September, will not be content to stop there as he looks to set up a show-down with either Smith or Humphries.

Dolan, 45, has put a torrid year of results behind him to recapture his best form and break new ground in his eleventh consecutive World Championship appearance.

The 2011 World Grand Prix finalist whitewashed Chinese qualifier Yuanjun Liu and top 16 star Joe Cullen before overcoming Mervyn King 4-2 and Benito van de Pas 4-1.

He is aiming to become Northern Ireland's first ever World Darts Champion and give further precedence to his nickname 'The History Maker' - which refers to his double-start nine-dart leg seven years ago.

The action gets underway from 12.30pm GMT, with all matches to be contested over the best of nine sets.

All sets are the best of five legs. A tie-break is in operation where the final set must be won by two clear legs. If the score reaches five-all, the 11th leg will be a sudden-death leg.


World Darts Championship 2018/19 Schedule


Saturday December 29

Quarter-Finals

Afternoon Session
12.45pm Nathan Aspinall v Brendan Dolan
2.15pm Dave Chisnall v Gary Anderson
 
Evening Session
7.15pm Luke Humphries v Michael Smith
8.45pm Michael van Gerwen v Ryan Joyce


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World Darts Championship 2018/19 Quarter-Finals preview and order of play - Last Eight aim to keep title dream alive

The 2018/19 World Championship reaches the Quarter-Final stage on Saturday as the eight remaining hopefuls aim to remain in the running for darts' ultimate prize.

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