A host of PDC title winners get their World Championship campaigns underway at Alexandra Palace on Sunday afternoon as the…
A host of PDC title winners get their World Championship campaigns underway at Alexandra Palace on Sunday afternoon as the First and Second Round action continues.
The sport’s show-piece event continues to gather pace as a number of established names look to stave off an early exit in the £2.5 million major.
World number nine Ian White is the highest-ranked player in action in the afternoon session as he starts out with a Second Round tie against Darius Labanauskas.
White has enjoyed a landmark season, picking up two European Tour titles back in May alongside a further five ranking final appearances.
The Stoke star, a former News of the World winner, also reached his first PDC major Semi-Final at the Players Championship Finals last month, underlining his calibre as a dark horse in every event he competes in.
The 49-year-old will be determined to culminate a successful season with a strong run in the biggest event of all, but given his modest record in this tournament and those who have already fallen around him, ‘Diamond’ be wary of a potential banana skin against Lithuania’s top darter.
Labanauskas produced a fine display to thrash Matthew Edgar in straight sets on Saturday and continue his affinity with Ally Pally and will now be eyeing another upset to rival that of his First Round scalp of Raymond van Barneveld 12 months ago.
Brendan Dolan, who embarked on a resurgent run to the Quarter-Finals last time out, looks to press home his vast experience when he faces India’s Nitin Kumar.
Former World Grand Prix finalist Dolan has climbed back to within touching distance of a return to the world’s top 32, having won two Players Championship titles during the second half of the season.
The Northern Irishman had never been beyond the Last 32 of the William Hill World Championship prior to his inspired run last year, and he will be keen to hit the ground running by brushing aside Indian qualifier Kumar – who was beaten in straight sets by Jeffrey de Zwaan on his debut here 12 months ago.
Former Auckland Masters champion Kyle Anderson is another established name aiming to avert a huge upset as he comes up against China’s Xiaochen Zong.
The Australian number two has been blighted by health problems this year and has failed to reach a ranked Quarter-Final of any sort since February, missing out on a host of TV majors as a result.
The former European Championship semi-finalist has lost in the Last 32 in each of his last four visits to Ally Pally and will be targeting a routine win over the Chinese youngster.
The 21-year-old made his debut here in 2017/18, losing out to New Zealand’s Bernie Smith in the Preliminary Round, and will look to raise his game against another Oceanic thrower of much higher calibre.
Ross Smith heads to the people’s palace for the third time on the back of his best season to date and faces a tricky opening test against Irish youngster Ciaran Teehan.
Smith’s season highlights include a run to the Quarter-Finals of the UK Open and victory over Michael van Gerwen at the European Championship, and he is now in search of his first win on this famous stage.
Teehan, 20, is making his debut after winning a Challenge Tour event this year and reaching a further two Development Tour finals and was notably a quarter-finalist in October’s BDO World Masters.
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
Sunday December 15
12.45pm Kyle Anderson v Xiaochen Zong
1.45pm Ross Smith v Ciaran Teehan
2.45pm Brendan Dolan v Nitin Kumar
3.45pm Ian White v Darius Labanauskas (Second Round)