Round Three gets underway at the 2019/20 World Darts Championship on Sunday afternoon with six players from five different nations…
Round Three gets underway at the 2019/20 World Darts Championship on Sunday afternoon with six players from five different nations battling it out for a place in the latter stages after Christmas.
The Alexandra Palace was shaken to its core once again as its newly-crowned queen Fallon Sherrock pulled off a monumental upset by knocking out world number 11 Mensur Suljovic on Saturday night.
The 2,500/1 outsider continued her trailblazing run in the sport’s show-piece and generated global headlines for the second time in the space of four days to progress to the Last 32 on her debut.
Sixty-four players have now departed the competition over the last nine days, leaving a fascinating mixture of decorated stars and in-form underdogs to compete for the Sid Waddell Trophy and £500,000 top prize.
The opening tie of the Third Round sees world number 16 and 17 collide as Jonny Clayton takes on Stephen Bunting in one of the most closely-matched contests of the round on paper.
Bunting came through an epic tie break set against Spain’s Jose Justicia in Round Two, registering ten maximums in the process, and is now appearing at this stage of the competition for the first time since 2015/16.
Bunting claimed glory at Lakeside in 2014 before joining the PDC and quickly establishing a place among the elite, which he has maintained since.
Runner-up in June’s Czech Open, ‘The Bullet’ has also reached three televised Quarter-Finals in a resurgent season and is looking to make it back-to-back televised wins over Clayton, following a 2-0 win in the opening round of October’s World Grand Prix.
Clayton was far more clinical in his opening salvo, dropping just three legs in a straight sets rout of Jan Dekker with a 95 average to gain only his second victory on this iconic stage.
The Welsh ace claimed his third PDC ranking title earlier this season alongside a further four Semi-Final appearances but has not been beyond the Last 16 of a ranked major since the 2018 Players Championship Finals.
Two of this year’s most notable success stories go head-to-head as multiple televised tournament winner Nathan Aspinall takes on multiple tour event winner Krzysztof Ratajski.
UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall is bidding to emulate his ground-breaking run to the Semi-Finals here 12 months ago and opened up with a solid 3-1 win over North American champion Danny Baggish on Friday night.
Aspinall, who has also claimed U.S Masters glory this year, defeated the likes of Gerwyn Price, Kyle Anderson and Brendan Dolan en route to the Last Four in 2018 and has been widely tipped as a potential challenger for the title at his latest time of asking.
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, 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.
Ratajski was solid as opposed to spectacular in seeing off Austria’s Zoran Lerchbacher 3-1 with 91.3 average in Round One and will be eyeing a marked improvement against the world number 12.
German takes on Lithuania as Max Hopp meets Darius Labanauskas for the right to advance to the Last 16 at Ally Pally for the first time.
Hopp admitted he was preparing himself for a clash with new German rival Gabriel Clemens, but after his compatriot’s exit at the hands of Benito van de Pas, Hopp battled his way to a five-set victory.
Hopp made his debut here as a 16-year-old back in 2012 and has already gone on to become the most successful player in German darts history.
The 2018 German Open champion is now ranked 24th and is looking to finally come of age on the biggest stage of all, having fallen at the Last 32 stage on three previous occasions.
Labanauskas, the world number 82, famously defeated Raymond van Barneveld on debut here last year and has continued his love affair with the Ally pally stage by defeating Matthew Edgar 3-0 and world number nine Ian White 3-1 en route to Round Three.
The ProTour event finalist defied a 100 average from White to pull off a superb scalp and is now looking to extend his ground-breaking run as he flies the flag for the Baltic region.
The action gets underway from 12.45pm GMT, with Third Round matches to be contested over the best of seven 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 22
12.45pm Jonny Clayton v Stephen Bunting
2.15pm Darius Labanauskas v Max Hopp
3.45pm Nathan Aspinall v Krzysztof Ratajski