Three televised title winners are among the star attractions at the 2021/22 World Darts Championship on Thursday afternoon. Round Two…
Three televised title winners are among the star attractions at the 2021/22 World Darts Championship on Thursday afternoon.
Round Two of the sport’s show-piece is nearing its conclusion as the pre-Christmas action draws to a close on Day Nine at Alexandra Palace.
A further eight places remain up for grabs in the Third Round, and a host of heavy hitters will be looking to ensure their place in the second phase following the three-day festive break.
Jose de Sousa is the highest-ranked player in action in the afternoon session, and the Portuguese star opens up with a clash against giant-killer Jason Lowe.
De Sousa is the number seven seed having picked up three Players Championship titles this season, though his form in ranked majors has not been as prolific, with Quarter-Final runs at the European Championship and Players Championship Finals marking his best performances of the season.
The Special One, however, finished runner-up in his debut Premier League campaign and is now out to reach the Third Round at Ally Pally for only the second time in five appearances, having been whitewashed 4-0 by Mervyn King 12 months ago.
Lowe, the world number 53, is bidding to replicate last year’s shock scalp of Michael Smith at this stage of the competition and marked his first appearance in front of fans at Ally Pally with a commanding straight sets win over Sweden’s Daniel Larsson.
Mensur Suljovic aims to improve on a miserable record on this iconic stage and starts out with a tricky tie against Scottish debutant Alan Soutar.
Suljovic has featured in all but one World Championship since the event moved to Ally Pally in 2008 but has never made it beyond the Third Round stage.
The former World Matchplay finalist, who was runner-up in this year’s World Cup of Darts alongside Rowby-John Rodriguez, has dropped to 26th in the PDC Order of Merit after missing a number of tournaments this season, including the World Matchplay.
Soutar, meanwhile, marked his debut with a hard-fought 3-2 win over Brazil’s Diogo Portela and will be keen to improve on his match average of 89.
Now provisionally ranked inside the world’s top 64, the 43-year-old fireman is looking to extinguish Suljovic’s chances of glory at the palace.
Multiple ranking title winner Brendan Dolan starts his campaign against emerging star Callan Rydz in a distinct clash of styles.
Dolan the 2011 World Grand Prix finalist, was involved in one of the stand-out matches of last year’s World Championship, losing out to eventual champion Gerwyn Price in a sudden death leg in the Last 32.
Number 23 seed Dolan comes into this event on the back of a sensational run to the Semi-Finals of November’s Players Championship Finals, defeating Price along the way to mark his best run in a TV major since 2012.
Rydz, meanwhile, ran out a comfortable 3-0 winner over Japanese qualifier Yuki Yamada in Round One but is now braced for a formidable test against the methodical Northern Irishman.
Quarter-finalist in this year’s World Matchplay, Rydz has lost at this stage of the World Championship in his two previous appearances and will be determined to take the next step by knocking out seeded opposition.
The opening match of the afternoon sees former World Series event winner Damon Heta take on Luke Woodhouse.
Heta is making his third consecutive appearance in this event and is seeded for the first time, having featured in all but one (Grand Slam) major ranking event this year.
The Australian ace, ProTour event winner in 2020, faces a tough opener against the world number 44 – who reached the Third Round here on his debut two years ago and came from a set down to defeat James Wilson 3-1 in his First Round tie last week.
The action gets under way from 12.30pm GMT, with Second Round matches to be contested over the best five sets, best of five legs per set.
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 Nine Schedule
Thursday December 23
12.45pm Damon Heta v Luke Woodhouse (R2)
1.45pm Brendan Dolan v Callan Rydz (R2)
2.45pm Mensur Suljovic v Alan Soutar (R2)
3.45pm Jose de Sousa v Jason Lowe (R2)