The 2019/20 World Darts Championship enters the Quarter-Final stage on Sunday afternoon, with three hungry young guns and a former…
The 2019/20 World Darts Championship enters the Quarter-Final stage on Sunday afternoon, with three hungry young guns and a former finalist aiming to keep their title dreams alive.
The £2.5 million show-piece has seen 88 players depart Alexandra Palace over the past 13 days, leaving eight in-form hopefuls to continue their pursuit of the sport’s greatest prize.
The afternoon session features two finely-poised Quarter-Final ties, with all four players familiar to having reached this stage of the competition in recent outings.
World number 12 Nathan Aspinall aims to equal his breakthrough run to the Semi-Finals 12 months ago by denying two-time World Youth Champion Dimitri van den Bergh.
The two rising stars first crossed paths at Qualifying School in 2014 and five years on face off for a place in the Semi-Finals of the World Championship and a guaranteed payout of at least £100,000.
Aspinall put his name on the darting map by reaching the Last Four as a 500/1 outsider last year and has not looked back since, claiming his first major title at the UK Open in March before backing it up with a debut World Series triumph at the U.S Masters.
The Stockport ace followed up his opening win over America’s Danny Baggish with a superb all-round display to see off Polish ace Krzysztof Ratajski 4-3 with a 98.5 average before pulling off what he described as one of the biggest wins of his career as he defeated two-time World Champion Gary Anderson 4-2.
Aspinall has made the Ally Pally stage his second home and will be determined to remain on a potential collision course with Michael van Gerwen in the Semi-Finals by denying ‘The Dream Maker’ a landmark victory.
Van den Bergh is appearing at this stage of the competition for the second time, having suffered a narrow 5-4 defeat to eventual champion Rob Cross two years ago.
The Belgian number one enjoyed two impressive wins prior to the festive break, averaging 103.8 in a straight sets rout of Josh Payne before overcoming Luke Woodhouse 4-2 with a tenacious display.
A renowned big stage performer, the 25-year-old dug deep from 3-1 down to defeat two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis in a deciding set in the Last 16 and will be desperate to reach a new milestone in this prestigious tournament by going at least one step further.
The second match of the afternoon sees 2014 world finalist Peter Wright take on reigning World Youth Champion Luke Humphries.
A first televised encounter between the pair sees ‘Snakebite’ looking to reach his third Ally Pally Semi-Final, while Humphries eyes his first.
Wright has done it the hard way in reaching this stage, stumbling past Filipino qualifier Noel Malicdem in a dramatic tie break before eventually shaking off Japan’s Seigo Asada 4-2 after changing his darts midway through the match.
He then fended off a spirited fightback from Jeffrey de Zwaan from 3-0 down to three apiece by holding his nerve to prevail in another tense tie break.
The World Cup of Darts winner is through to only a third major ranking Quarter-Final of the season but will look to utilise his vast experience over the 24-year-old raw talent.
Humphries has proved last year’s breakthrough run to the Quarter-Finals was no flash in the pan, backing it up by reaching the business end once again and giving himself a chance of becoming the first player to win the World Youth Championship and World Championship titles in the same season.
The 11-time Development Tour winner dethroned defending champion Rob Cross last year and has followed on superbly with victories over Devon Petersen, Jermaine Wattimena, Nico Kurz and Kim Huybrechts to advance through a wide open section of the draw in 2019.
The action gets underway from 12.30pm GMT, with Quarter-Final matches to be contested over the best of nine 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
Sunday December 29
12.45pm Nathan Aspinall vs Dimitri van den Bergh
2.15pm Peter Wright vs Luke Humphries