Eight players from seven different countries feature at the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace on Saturday afternoon. Jamie Hughes…
Eight players from seven different countries feature at the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace on Saturday afternoon.
Jamie Hughes became the first seeded player to crash out of the competition on Friday, while 66-year-old Paul Lim pulled off a remarkable recovery from two sets down to defeat Luke Humphries.
The pick of the ties on Saturday afternoon sees Players Championship Finals runner-up Mervyn King take on German talisman Max Hopp.
The pair met in this competition in six years ago, with emerging star Hopp prevailing 3-2 in a thrilling First Round encounter.
Hopp has since gone on to become the first German to win a PDC ranking title (at the 2018 German Open) and was also a semi-finalist at the European Championship that year.
He has reached the Last 32 in his last two Ally Pally appearances but runs into a resurgent King – who remains one of the most formidable competitors on both floor and stage.
King has been an ever-present in the PDC World Championship since 2008, with his best run coming in 2009 when he reached the Semi-Finals.
The 54-year-old was narrowly beaten in a 21st-leg decider by Michael van Gerwen in the final of the Players Championship Finals last month, having dispatched the likes of Dave Chisnall, Damon Heta and Peter Wright along the way.
Meanwhile, two-time BDO World Champion Scott Waites marks his long-awaited Ally Pally debut with a clash against Canada’s Matt Campbell.
Waites earned a PDC Tour Card at Qualifying School in January and made it to the William Hill World Championship as the 19th highest ranked player on the ProTour Order of Merit.
The Yorkshireman, who won the Grand Slam a decade ago, was narrowly beaten in a deciding leg by Nathan Aspinall in the recent Players Championship Finals.
Campbell was hugely impressed during the World Cup of Darts as he partnered Jeff Smith to the Quarter-Finals.
He qualified for his second successive Ally Pally appearance by finishing second on the CDC Order of Merit and will be quietly confident of pulling off an upset.
Belgian ace Kim Huybrechts begins his campaign with a tie against Chinese qualifier Di Zhuang.
Huybrechts, who reached the Quarter-Finals here on his debut in 2012, has enjoyed a fine recent resurgence, reaching the Last 32 of the UK Open and Semi-Finals of the World Cup of Darts.
Zhuang, 39, is taking to the sport’s most iconic stage for the first time, having won the PDC Asian Tour qualifier in China last month.
The opening match of the afternoon sees Republic of Ireland’s Steve Lennon take on Swedish number one Daniel Larsson.
Lennon is making his fourth consecutive World Championship appearance, having narrowly lost out to Callan Rydz 12 months ago.
A former World Cup of Darts finalist, Lennon has reached the Semi-Finals of a ProTour event this season and featured in three European Tour events.
Five-time World Cup representative Larsson notably defeated Robert Thornton here in 2019 and recently landed a nine-darter on the PDC Home Tour.
The action gets underway from 12pm GMT, with all matches to be contested over the best of five 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
Saturday December 19
12.15pm Steve Lennon v Daniel Larsson (R1)
1.15pm Scott Waites v Matt Campbell (R1)
2.15pm Kim Huybrechts v Di Zhuang (R1)
3.15pm Mervyn King v Max Hopp (R2)