The big guns begin to assemble at Alexandra Palace with the first full session of Second Round ties taking place…
The big guns begin to assemble at Alexandra Palace with the first full session of Second Round ties taking place on Thursday evening.
With Round One now done and dusted, focus shifts solely to the Last 64 as a number of big names look to book remain in the running for the sport’s ultimate prize.
All eyes will be on man of the moment Gerwyn Price as he commences his title quest with a show-down against Republic of Ireland’s William O’Connor.
Price has proved nothing short of a phenomenon this year, backing up his maiden major title by successfully retaining the Grand Slam last month, while also finishing runner-up in the European Championship and Players Championship Finals.
The Welshman, provisionally ranked world number two for the first time, has emerged as Michael van Gerwen’s closest challenger for major silverware and heads into this event at by far his shortest ever outright odds of 5/1.
Situated in the opposite half of the draw to his nemesis MVG, all the talk is of a dream potential final between the two box office stars on New Year’s Day, but Price’s worrying record at Ally Pally suggests that is far from a formality.
The 34-year-old has crashed out at the Last 64 stage in four of his previous five appearances, with his best run coming two years ago – when he reached the Last 16.
He faces a stern opening examination against the World Cup of Darts finalist – who brushed aside Finland’s Marko Kantele in straight sets in Round One.
O’Connor has clinched a Players Championship title this term and warmed up for this event in style by reaching the Last Eight of the Players Championship Finals in Minehead to mark his first major Quarter-Final appearance.
World Grand Prix finalist Dave Chisnall launches his latest pursuit of an elusive maiden major when he takes on crowd favourite Vincent van der Voort.
Chisnall reached his second William Hill World Championship Quarter-Final 12 months ago and has since won the Danish Open, two Players Championships and finished runner-up to MVG in October’s Grand Prix.
The St Helens power-scorer has been widely tipped for another strong run at Ally Pally but faces a difficult opener against former UK Open finalist – who averaged 95.8 in a solid display to see off 17-year-old Keane Barry in straight sets.
Van der Voort is appearing in his 13th consecutive PDC World Championship, having twice reached the Quarter-Finals, and has experience of defeating ‘Chizzy’ on this stage, having done so in straight sets in the First Round in 2016/17.
The opening match of the night sees world number 22 Chris Dobey take on Dutch left-hander Ron Meulenkamp.
Dobey has enjoyed another superb season, moving within sight of a place in the world’s top 16 after runs to the Semi-Finals of the World Grand Prix and Players Championship Finals in recent months.
Dobey reached the Last 16 at Ally Pally 12 months ago before losing out to Gary Anderson in an epic deciding set and will be out to go even further to culminate another memorable year.
Meulenkamp brushed aside New Zealand debutant Ben Robb in straight sets in Round One and is making his fourth appearance in this competition, having suffered Last 64 exits in each of his previous three, but has enjoyed a fine year on the circuit, reaching three ProTour Semi-Finals.
Another fascinating contest sees World Series Finals runner-up Danny Noppert take on emerging star Callan Rydz.
Noppert reached his first PDC televised final in Amsterdam in November, having also reached the final of the BDO World Championship, and is now in search of his first win on the sport’s greatest stage.
The Dutchman has broken into the world’s top 32 for the first time after a fine season in which he has reached four ProTour Semi-Finals and featured in the World Matchplay, World Grand Prix and Grand Slam.
Rydz marked a dream debut in this competition with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Ireland’s Steve Lennon earlier in the week and is looking to follow in the footsteps of fellow Tyneside thrower Chris Dobey.
The 21-year-old finished top of the Challenge Tour Order of Merit to secure a two-year Tour Card as well as a debut here and will look to make a name for himself at the first time of asking.
The action gets underway from 7pm GMT, with 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, 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
Thursday December 19
7.15pm Chris Dobey v Ron Meulenkamp
8.15pm Danny Noppert v Callan Rydz
9.15pm Dave Chisnall v Vincent van der Voort
10.15pm Gerwyn Price v William O’Connor