Gerwyn Price begins his latest pursuit of World Darts Championship glory in Round Two at Alexandra Palace on Monday night….
Gerwyn Price begins his latest pursuit of World Darts Championship glory in Round Two at Alexandra Palace on Monday night.
Price returns to the sport’s greatest stage as the number three seed once again, having enjoyed a superb year of success on the circuit.
The Welsh star has picked up the World Grand Prix, World Series Finals and World Cup of Darts titles this season, while also finishing runner-up in the UK Open.
Price banished his previously underwhelming record in the William Hill World Championship by reaching the Semi-Finals last year for the first time, losing out to eventual champion Peter Wright.
The 35-year-old comes into the tournament as second favourite to lift the Sid Waddell trophy and become the first Welsh winner of a PDC World Championship.
He starts his campaign against fellow countryman Jamie Lewis – a player with a proven pedihgree on this famous stage.
Lewis enjoyed a remarkable run to the Semi-Finals in 2017/18 as a PDPA qualifier, and having come through that same last-chance qualification route, will be hopeful of lightning striking twice.
Lewis, who has endured a torrid year on the circuit, must reach at least the Last 16 stage in order to save his Tour Card, and began with a magnificent comeback win over Luke Woodhouse from two sets down in Round One.
The opening match of the night sees world number 15 Krzysztof Ratajski take on in-form Ryan Joyce.
Ratajski is making his fourth consecutive appearance at Ally Pally and comes here as a seed for the first time, reflecting his terrific run of results this season.
The Polish star, a former BDO World Masters champion, reached his first major ranking Quarter-Final at the World Matchplay, as well as one title and a further two final appearances on the ProTour.
Ratajski is aiming to reach the Last 32 for the second successive year, having lost out in a seven-set thriller to Nathan Aspinall 12 months ago.
Joyce rode his luck on the way to sealing his Second Round spot, surviving six missed match darts from Czech ace Karel Sedlacek before eventually prevailing in a sudden death leg.
The Tyneside thrower, a Players Championship event winner this summer, reached the Quarter-Finals on his Ally Pally debut in 2018/19 and is renowned as one of the most efficient finishers on the circuit.
World number 11 Ian White aims to avoid becoming only the third seed to bow out of the competition so far when he faces a resurgent Kim Huybrechts.
Stoke stalwart White, like Huybrechts, has featured in every World Championship since 2012, with his best run coming in 2014 when he reached the Last Eight.
White has picked up 13 non-televised PDC titles, the most recent of which coming at a Players Championship event back in March.
Huybrechts, meanwhile, was a quarter-finalist on his Ally Pally but in 2012, but has since failed to make it it beyond the Last 16 stage – which he reached last year.
The former Premier League star produced one of the most impressive performances of the First Round, averaging 104 in a 3-0 whitewash of China’s Di Zhuang.
Huybrechts and White met at the Last 32 stage here in 2013/14, with White coming out on top in a tense seventh set decider.
A fascinating all-German affair sees Gabriel Clemens take on Nico Kurz in the final match of the evening.
Clemens leapfrogged talisman Max Hopp to become the new German number one this year and enters the tournament as the number 31 seed.
The 2019 German Masters finalist reached the Last 16 of March’s UK Open and is now looking to reach the Third Round of the World Championship for the first time.
Kurz is a player who knows what it takes to reach the Last 32 here, having done so on his debut last year, and will look to subject his compatriot to a shock early exit.
The 23-year-old defeated 2012 world finalist Andy Hamilton 3-1 in Round One last week, and like Clemens, will have his sights set on a show-down with defending champion Peter Wright after Christmas.
The action gets underway from 6pm 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
Monday December 21
6.15pm Krzysztof Ratajski v Ryan Joyce (R2)
7.15pm Ian White v Kim Huybrechts (R2)
8.15pm Gerwyn Price v Jamie Lewis (R2)
9.15pm Gabriel Clemens v Nico Kurz (R2)