The battle to secure Third Round places continues at the 2019/20 World Darts Championship on Saturday afternoon a multiple World…
The battle to secure Third Round places continues at the 2019/20 World Darts Championship on Saturday afternoon a multiple World Champion and a former world finalist commence their campaigns.
Joe Cullen became the fourth top 16-ranked player to crash out of the competition on Friday, while a number of other seeded stars have had to survive huge scares before booking their place in the Last 32.
Four more darting heavyweights get their latest Ally Pally quests underway in a high quality afternoon session, with the stand-out tie seeing two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis take on Spain’s number one – Cristo Reyes.
Lewis became the first player barring Phil Taylor to successfully retain a PDC world title when he triumphed in 2011 and 2012 and came close to adding a third in 2015/16, losing 7-5 to Gary Anderson in the final.
The Stoke star, however, has endured a turbulent two years both on and off the oche and is vying to restore his former glories on the sport’s greatest stage.
Lewis has fluctuated in and out of the top 16 in recent seasons but heads to the capital as world number 13, having reached his first major Quarter-Final for more than two years at last month’s Grand Slam.
Reyes reached the Last 16 on his debut as a qualifier here in 2014/15 and is aiming to record a first win over ‘Jackpot’ in five attempts, having battled his way to a thrilling last-set victory over Lourence Ilagan of the Philippines in Round One.
Simon Whitlock, the 2010 runner-up, starts his latest pursuit of glory at the palace with a tie against emerging star Harry Ward.
Whitlock, the world number 14, followed up his run to the final a decade ago with Semi-Final appearances in 2012 and 2014, but has since struggled on this iconic stage, suffering three Last 64 exits and two Last 32 losses in his last five visits.
The Australian number one reached a European Tour final in April but has struggled to make an impact this year, with his last major televised Quarter-Final coming at the 2018 Grand Slam.
Ward, meanwhile, has enjoyed a superb first season as a PDC Tour Card holder after coming through Qualifying School, winning a Players Championship event in May and marking his debut here with a 3-2 win over Latvia’s Madars Razma.
The youngster, however, knows he will need to improve on his First Round average of 84 if he is to threaten an upset against the vastly experienced Aussie.
The opening match of the afternoon sees former World Youth Champion Keegan Brown take on Japanese number one Seigo Asada.
Brown, 27, has made three ranking Semi-Final appearances this season and has notably bagged a brace of victories over Michael van Gerwen on the European Tour.
The Isle of Wight thrower’s best run here saw him reach the Last 16 in 2017/18 before eventually losing out to Phil Taylor in his farewell tournament.
Asada is the last of the three Japanese qualifiers left standing in the tournament and is looking to progress beyond this stage of the competition for the first time in three attempts, having already knocked out former Players Championship event winner Mickey Mansell.
A closely-matched contest on paper sees world number 28 Steve West take on Ally Pally specialist Ryan Searle.
West, twice a major quarter-finalist in 2018, has reached three ProTour Semi-Finals this season but will be keen to make up for lost time after missing out on a number of TV majors, including the World Matchplay and World Grand Prix.
West reached the Last 16 here two years ago and has defeated Searle in both of their previous televised encounters, including a commanding 10-4 win in March’s UK Open.
Searle embarked on a landmark run to the Last 16 on his debut 12 months ago and started brightly again by defeating Australia’s Robbie King in a deciding set with nine 180s to his name.
The action gets underway from 12.30pm 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
Saturday December 21
12.45pm Keegan Brown v Seigo Asada
1.45pm Simon Whitlock v Harry Ward
2.45pm Steve West v Ryan Searle
3.45pm Adrian Lewis v Cristo Reyes