Ian White and Callan Rydz are among the notable names looking to avoid early exits on Day Four of the…
Ian White and Callan Rydz are among the notable names looking to avoid early exits on Day Four of the 2021/22 World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace.
Twelfth seed Krzysztof Ratajski became the first seed to crash out as he was put to the sword by Steve Lennon on Friday, and a clutch of big names will be out to avert a similar fate.
White returns for his 11th consecutive appearance at Ally Pally but a recent drop in the rankings means he comes into the event as number 27 seed.
The 2014 quarter-finalist has struggled with injury problems this season, with his only televised Quarter-Final appearance coming in October’s World Grand Prix.
The former world number nine kicks off his World Championship campaign against debutant Dutch qualifier Chris Landman in the final match of the afternoon session.
Landman, quarter-finalist in the 2020 BDO World Championship, came through the West Europe Qualifier to seal his spot in this event and took advantage of a plethora of missed doubles from 2015 Lakeside Champion Scott Mitchell to coast to a straight sets victory in Round One.
Elsewhere, in-form Callan Rydz opens up with a clash against Japan’s Yuki Yamada in Round One.
Tyneside thrower Rydz is the top-ranked ProTour Order of Merit qualifier after picking up two Players Championship titles this season.
The 23-year-old enjoyed a fine debut at the World Matchplay, where he reached the Quarter-Finals, and would move into the world’s top 32 for the first time with a win here.
Former Asian Tour event winner Yamada is making his second appearance at Ally Pally, having defeated Ryan Meikle in 2020 before losing out to Darren Webster in the Second Round.
The opening match of the afternoon sees former European Tour event winner Jamie Hughes take on New Zealand’s Raymond Smith.
Hughes is making his first appearance in a televised event since the UK Open back in March, having struggled for form on the floor circuit and missed last month’s Players Championship Finals due to Covid.
Back-to-back semi-finalist at Lakeside in 2016 and 2017, ‘Yozza’ will be out to recapture the form which led him to the Czech Open title two years ago.
Smith is part of an historic father and son duo competing in this year’s World Championship, with his son Ky having qualified for the first time.
The DPA qualifier and WDF world number 29 is set for his second stint on this famous stage, having lost out to Alan Tabern in Round One in 2018/19.
Darius Labanauskas faces a tricky opening test against Belgium’s Mike de Decker – who received a late call-up to the event following the withdrawal of South Africa’s Charles Losper.
Lithuanian star Labanauskas reached the Quarter-Finals on his debut here in 2020 and is under pressure to defend that prize money against his ranking position this time around.
De Decker, the highest ranked runner-up from the PDPA Qualifier, also featured in last month’s Grand Slam and is back into the world’s top 64 courtesy of his unexpected second chance this week.
The action gets under way from 12.30pm GMT, with First Round and Second Round matches to be contested over the best five sets, best of five legs per set.
The tie break rule does not apply to First Round matches, meaning the fifth leg of a deciding set would be sudden death, while the final set in matches from Round Two onwards must be won by two clear legs, unless the score reaches 5-5, in which case a sudden-death leg will be played.
World Darts Championship 2021/22 Day Four Schedule
Saturday December 18
12.45pm Jamie Hughes v Raymond Smith (R1)
1.45pm Callan Rydz v Yuki Yamada (R1)
2.45pm Darius Labanauskas v Mike De Decker (R1)
3.45pm Ian White v Chris Landman (R2)