The World Darts Championship Quarter-Finals take centre stage on New Year’s Day at Alexandra Palace as the final eight face…
The World Darts Championship Quarter-Finals take centre stage on New Year’s Day at Alexandra Palace as the final eight face off.
2022 is welcomed in style as eight of the sport’s top marksmen compete for a place in the Semi-Finals of the sport’s show-piece and the right to move a step closer to the £500,000 top prize.
An unmissable double-header at Ally Pally features three World Champions in action, as well as a multiple major winner and three players vying for their first PDC major silverware.
The afternoon session commences with a show-down between darting stalwarts James Wade and Mervyn King.
The pair have met on more than 50 occasions over the past 15 years and there remains little to choose between them in terms of the head-to-head stats.
Their most famous encounter came in the final of the 2014 Masters, which Wade eventually won 11-10, having trailed 9-2 and 10-6.
Wade is appearing in his ninth PDC World Championship Quarter-Final since his debut at the Circus Tavern back in 2005 and is widely regarded as the best player yet to reach a World Championship final.
The reigning UK Open champion defeated Maik Kuivenhoven 3-1 in his opener before Christmas despite an average of just 83.7 and then benefited from the withdrawal of Vincent van der Voort due to a positive Covid test.
He then whitewashed a below-par Martijn Kleermaker 4-0 and is into the Last Eight with a tournament average of 88.5 and no 180s to his name so far.
At 55, King is the oldest player left standing in the competition and finds himself at this stage of proceedings for the first time since 2009 – when he made the Semi-Finals.
King has produced two amazing comebacks en route to the Last Eight, recovering from two sets down to defeat Ryan Joyce in his opener, and after whitewashing Steve Lennon 4-0, he then came from 3-1 down to knock out Australia’s Raymond Smith in a decider.
The second Quarter-Final sees two-time World Champion Gary Anderson take on UK Open finalist Luke Humphries.
Anderson, winner here in 2015 and 2016, has continued his superb spell of consistency on the Ally Pally stage, reaching his seventh Quarter-Final in his last eight appearances.
The Flying Scotsman had endured a year to forget by his standards but has once again come good on the biggest stage of all and is into his first major ranking Quarter-Final of the season.
A 3-1 win over fellow multiple World Champion Adrian Lewis saw Anderson maintain his record of having never lost his opening match here, and he backed that up by recovering from three sets down to defeat Ian White 4-3 before edging out 2018 World Champion Rob Cross by the same scoreline.
Humphries has also continued his fine record at Ally Pally by progressing to his third Quarter-Final in the space of four years.
Cool Hand Luke began by thrashing Rowby-John Rodriguez 3-0 before Christmas, before Dave Chisnall’s withdrawal due to a positive Covid test on Wednesday handed him a walkover.
He then came through one of the stand-out matches of the tournament so far as he edged past Chris Dobey in a tie break with a 97.7 average and fourteen maximums.
The evening session kicks off with a clash between 2020 World Champion Peter Wright and emerging sensation Callan Rydz.
Wright is in pursuit of a second world title in the space of three years as he bids to defend the £500,000 prize money against his world ranking position.
The world number two opened up with a routine straight sets win over Ryan Meikle before averaging 102 in a 4-3 victory over Damon Heta after an inspired change of darts at two sets down.
Wright, who has also claimed the World Matchplay and Players Championship Finals titles this season, then swept aside an out of sorts Ryan Searle 4-1 with a 99 average to remain in contention for the Sid Waddell Trophy.
Rydz, 23, is the youngest player remaining in the field and has blasted his way into the Quarter-Finals for the first time, incredibly dropping just one set along the way.
The World Matchplay quarter-finalist and two-time ProTour event winner swept aside Yuki Yamada, Brendan Dolan and Nathan Aspinall to nil before ending the run of Scotland’s Alan Soutar with a 4-1 success.
The Geordie ace has already climbed six places to world number 30 as a result of his run and is now looking to pull off what would be by far the biggest win of his career to date.
The day’s biggest box office clash sees defending champion Gerwyn Price put his title on the line against 2019 world finalist Michael Smith.
Price is out to join an elite group of only three players to have successfully retained a PDC world title but faces his toughest test yet against perhaps the most impressive performer of the event so far.
The three-time Grand Slam champion defeated Ritchie Edhouse 3-1 from a set down on the opening night of the tournament, before battling past Kim Huybrechts 4-3 in a thrilling contest and going on to thrash Dirk van Duijvenbode 4-1 with a run of 12 consecutive legs.
The proud Welshman is aiming to make it three consecutive World Championship Quarter-Final wins but faces an opponent with a tournament average of 99.8 and 27 180s to his name.
Smith was a semi-finalist in November’s Grand Slam and has picked up a further two Players Championship titles this year.
Having suffered successive Last 64 exits at Ally Pally, ‘Bully Boy’ has brought his ‘A’ game to the oche this time around and is into only his third Quarter-Final on this iconic stage.
His 106.3 average against Ron Meulenkamp in Round Two remains the highest of the event so far, and the St Helens ace has gone on to defeat Willie O’Connor and Jonny Clayton in thrilling encounters with averages of 97 and 99 respectively.
The action gets under way from 12.30pm GMT, with Quarter-Final matches to be contested over the best nine sets, best of five legs per set.
Final set in matches 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 Quarter-Finals Schedule
Saturday January 1
Afternoon Session (12.30pm-5pm)
James Wade v Mervyn King
Luke Humphries v Gary Anderson
Evening Session (7.30pm-11pm)
Peter Wright v Callan Rydz
Gerwyn Price v Michael Smith