A plethora of international talent takes to the stage at Alexandra Palace on Tuesday afternoon as the First and Second…
A plethora of international talent takes to the stage at Alexandra Palace on Tuesday afternoon as the First and Second Round action continues.
Austria, Poland, Australia, England, Spain and the Philippines are all represented in a fascinating afternoon as they look to put their nation on the map at the William Hill World Championship.
World number 21 Krzysztof Ratajski is the highest ranked player in action in the afternoon session as he looks to progress beyond the Last 64 stage of the World Championship for the first time by overcoming Austria’s Zoran Lerchbacher.
Ratajski has enjoyed a magnificent year on the circuit, winning the Gibraltar Trophy plus a further two Players Championship titles which led to qualification for every televised major over the course of the season, bar the Grand Slam.
The Polish number one now has his sights set on a place in the elite top 16, which could be achieved with a strong run this Christmas.
Ratajski, however, is yet to fully do himself justice in major tournaments to date, having not gone beyond the Last 16 stage in any of his eleven PDC major campaigns so far.
He faces an unexpected test in the shape of Lerchbacher, who pulled off a shock First Round win over Czech Open champion Jamie Hughes on opening weekend.
Lerchbacher, who is battling to save his Tour Card, reached the Last 32 here two years ago but and could trouble ‘The Polish Eagle’ if he can follow up his solid 94 average from Round One.
Ryan Searle returns to the scene of his biggest darting success to date when he takes on Australian qualifier Robbie King in the opening match of the afternoon
Searle enjoyed his best run in PDC major to date when he progressed to the Last 16 here 12 months ago and will be keen to rekindle those memories.
A three-time quarter-finalist on the ProTour this year, the 32-year-old has struggled to make the impact he would have hoped for after last year’s breakthrough run but will be determined to come alive again in the sport’s show-piece.
King made his TV debut in August’s Melbourne Masters, losing out to Rob Cross, and went on to win the prestigious Oceanic Masters tournament to secure a first trip to Ally Pally.
Spain’s Cristo Reyes starts his sixth consecutive World Championship campaign with a First Round tie against Lourence Ilagan of the Philippines.
Reyes reached the Last 16 on his debut here five years ago but has struggled for consistency in large spells this season, dropping to 44th in the world rankings with just two ProTour Quarter-Finals to show for his efforts in 2019.
Ilagan is back for a fourth stint in the World Championship in the space of a decade, having lost out to Vincent van der Voort 3-1 last year despite an impressive showing.
The 41-year-old finished top of this year’s Asian Tour Order of Merit and notably landed a streamed nine-dart finish along the way.
Ilagan’s fellow countryman Noel Malicdem gets set for his second successive Ally Pally appearance as he faces Austrian youngster Rowby-John Rodriguez.
Rodriguez may be 17 years Malicdem’s junior, but he has already appeared in four World Championships, beating Ricky Evans last year before being edged out in a fifth set decider by Cristo Reyes in Round Two.
The former World Youth finalist will be poised for a tricky test against fellow World Cup participant Malicdem – who defeated Jeffrey de Graaf on his debut 12 months ago and finished fourth on the Asian Tour Order of Merit this season.
The action gets underway from 12.30pm GMT, with First Round and Second Round matches to be contested over the best of five sets, best of five legs per set.
A tie-break will be in operation from the second round onwards, where the final set must be won by two clear legs. If the score reaches 5-5, the 11th leg will be sudden-death.
William Hill World Championship 2019/20 Match Schedule
Tuesday December 17
12.45pm Ryan Searle v Robbie King
1.45pm Cristo Reyes v Lourence Ilagan
2.45pm Rowby-John Rodriguez v Noel Malicdem
3.45pm Krzysztof Ratajski v Zoran Lerchbacher (Second Round)