The race to reach the latter stages of the World Darts Championship intensifies on Tuesday afternoon with a further trio…
The race to reach the latter stages of the World Darts Championship intensifies on Tuesday afternoon with a further trio of Third Round ties.
Just four places in the Last 16 remain up for grabs at Alexandra Palace, with ten of the world’s top 16 payers still in the running for the Sid Waddell Trophy.
Kicking off the afternoon’s action is a clash between nine-time major champion James Wade and former Lakeside World Champion Stephen Bunting.
Wade is widely regarded as one of the best players yet to have won a William Hill World Championship title, but his current form suggests he has as good a chance as any this time around.
The Aldershot left-hander has finished runner-up in both the European Championship and Grand Slam this season, while also reaching the Last Four of the World Series Finals.
Wade has fallen at the Semi-Final hurdle here on three previous occasions, most notably squandering a 5-1 lead in an eventual 6-5 defeat to Adrian Lewis in 2012.
He began his latest campaign with a routine straight sets victory over Callan Rydz and will be out to avenge his 4-1 defeat to Bunting at this stage of the competition in 2014.
Bunting went on to reach the Quarter-Finals on his debut six years ago but had since failed to progress beyond Round Two in four of his last five attempts.
However, he dug deep to edge out Andy Boulton in a sudden death leg before Christmas and is now targetting a place in the Last 16 of a TV major for only the second time this year.
One of the most closely-matched ties of the Third Round sees two-time major champion Daryl Gurney take on Premier League ‘Challenger’ Chris Dobey.
Gurney thrashed an out of sorts Dobey 7-2 when the pair met in the Premier League back in August, extending his unbeaten head-to-head record in televised competition to three games.
World number 11 Gurney suffered successive First Round exits in both the European Championship and Players Championship Finals during a below-par season which also saw him fail to qualify for the Grand Slam.
His best run of his seven Ally Pally appearances to date saw him reach the Quarter-Finals in 2016/17 before losing out to eventual champion Michael van Gerwen.
Dobey has had to wait 13 days for his return to action after coming from two sets down to defeat Canada’s Jeff Smith in his opener.
Dobey is appearing in his fifth consecutive World Championship, having suffered narrow 4-3 defeats at the Last 16 stage in each of his last two Ally Pally campaigns.
The two-time major semi-finalist reached the Last 16 of the UK Open back in March but has struggled for consistency since and will be keen to get out of the blocks quicker than in his opening match.
The final match of the afternoon sees South African star Devon Petersen take on Jason Lowe – the lowest ranked player left standing in the competition.
Petersen has picked up his first PDC ranking title this season on the European Tour and came into this event seeded for the first time, having also reached the Semi-Finals of the European Championship.
Renowned as one of the deadliest scorers on planet darts, Petersen reached the Last 16 at Ally Pally two years ago to save his Tour Card and has not looked back since.
Petersen began by defeating Ireland’s Steve Lennon 3-1 and will be poised for another tough test against a player with no pressure on his shoulders.
Lowe pulled off perhaps the biggest shock of the tournament so far when he knocked out fourth seed Michael Smith 3-1 prior to the Christmas break.
The world number 81 is guaranteed to climb at least 18 places in the Order of Merit as a result of his run but will be determined to ensure it does not end here.
The 48-year-old, who came through Qualifying School in January, is bidding to reach the Last 16 of a televised tournament for the first time.
The action gets underway from 12pm GMT, with all matches to be contested over the best of seven sets, best of five legs per set.
In a change from previous World Darts Championship rules to reduce the possibility of sessions over-running, there will be no tie-break in any match. Should any deciding set reach two-all, the fifth leg would be the final leg.
William Hill World Darts Championship 2020/21 Schedule
Tuesday December 29
12.15pm James Wade v Stephen Bunting
1.30pm Daryl Gurney v Chris Dobey
2.45pm Jason Lowe v Devon Petersen