A quartet of Second Round ties take centre stage on Day Seven of the 2021/22 World Darts Championship at Alexandra…
A quartet of Second Round ties take centre stage on Day Seven of the 2021/22 World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace.
A pulsating week of First Round action has produced two nine-darters and a host of dramatic encounters, while two seeded stars have already crashed out at the Second Round stage.
Focus now shifts fully onto the remaining Second Round ties as a clutch of top stars look to avert a nightmare exit before Christmas.
Dimitri van den Bergh is the highest ranked player in action on Tuesday night as he opens up with a clash against emerging German star Florian Hempel.
Van den Bergh, the number five seed, reached the Quarter-Finals here in 2017/18 and 2019/20 and came close to defending his World Matchplay title from 2020 in Blackpool this year, losing out to Peter Wright in the final.
The Belgian star was forced to miss last month’s Grand Slam after contracting Covid-19 and will be out to bounce back from an early exit at the Players Championship Finals by putting in a strong display on the sport’s show-piece stage.
Hempel has established himself as one of Germany’s hottest new darting properties and has made huge strides since earning his Tour Card at European Qualifying School in February.
The former Handball player marked his World Championship debut with an impressive straight sets win over compatriot Martin Schindler and is now aiming to pull off what would be the biggest win of his career to date.
Michael Smith is a player who knows what it takes to reach a world final, having done so in 2019 – where he was denied glory by Michael van Gerwen.
The multiple major finalist remains in pursuit of an elusive maiden crown and is situated in the top quarter of the draw which also houses defending champion Gerwyn Price and Premier League champion Jonny Clayton.
Smith has picked up two ProTour titles this year and is making his eleventh consecutive appearance at Alexandra Palace as he bids to atone for last year’s shock Second Round exit at the hands of Jason Lowe.
Bully Boy’s first test comes against Dutch left-hander Ron Meulenkamp – who overcame four-time Women’s World Champion Lisa Ashton in the opening round.
Meulenkamp has never been beyond this stage of the competition in five previous appearances at Ally Pally and faces a considerable task against the world number nine.
The opening match of the evening sees crowd favourite Vincent van der Voort take on two-time Challenge Tour event winner Adam Hunt.
Van der Voort has been an ever-present since the World Championship moved to Alexandra Palace in 2008 and has twice reached the Quarter-Finals.
The 2007 UK Open finalist warmed up for this event in style with a fine run to the Last Eight of the Players Championship Finals three weeks ago.
Hunt enjoyed a run to the Third Round behind closed doors 12 months ago and returns having secured the penultimate qualification spot via the ProTour Order of Merit.
The 28-year-old made light work of Croatia’s Boris Krcmar in the opening round as he ran out a straight sets winner and will be keen to continue in the same vein.
The final match of the night sees South African star Devon Petersen take on Australia’s Raymond Smith.
Petersen, the number 28 seed, has featured in eight previous PDC World Championships and reached the Last 16 for the third time 12 months ago before losing out to Gary Anderson.
European Tour event winner in 2020, Petersen’s form has suffered a considerable drop this year but he will be determined to spark a resurgence in front of a packed Ally Pally crowd.
DPA qualifier Smith pulled off a superb 3-1 win over Jamie Hughes in his opener to taste success on the sport’s greatest stage for the first time.
Having watched his son Ky depart the competition on Sunday, Smith is now looking to lead the way and continue his landmark run, having averaged 94.8 in a strong opening salvo.
The action gets under way from 7pm 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 Seven Schedule
Tuesday December 21
7.15pm Vincent van der Voort v Adam Hunt (R2)
8.15pm Michael Smith v Ron Meulenkamp (R2)
9.15pm Dimitri Van den Bergh v Florian Hempel (R2)
10.15pm Devon Petersen v Raymond Smith (R2)