The World Darts Championship resumes on Sunday afternoon as Round Three gets underway at Alexandra Palace. Following the three-day Christmas…
The World Darts Championship resumes on Sunday afternoon as Round Three gets underway at Alexandra Palace.
Following the three-day Christmas break, it’s back to business in the sport’s blue riband event with 32 players left in pursuit of the Sid Waddell Trophy.
The pre-Christmas action saw six seeded stars sent packing at the Second Round stage, including world number four Michael Smith and former World Champions Rob Cross and Adrian Lewis.
A host of decorated darters remain in the running for the £500,000 top prize and will look to move a step closer to glory by reaching the Last 16.
The opening match of the afternoon session sees 2010 world finalist Simon Whitlock take on 2017 World Masters champion Krzysztof Ratajski.
Whitlock has reached the Semi-Finals of both the World Grand Prix and Grand Slam of Darts this season, defeating Michael van Gerwen during both runs.
The rejuvenated Australian is making his 13th PDC World Championship appearance, having also reached the final at Lakeside in 2008, and is eyeing a place in the Last 16 at Ally Pally for the second consecutive year.
He came from a set behind to defeat Lithuania’s Darius Labanauskas 3-2 in the Last 64 with a superb 101.2 average and ten 180s along the way.
The Wizard is now poised for an even tougher test against world number 15 Ratajski – who averaged 100.4 in a straight sets opening salvo against Ryan Joyce.
Ratajski reached his first major ranking Quarter-Final at this year’s World Matchplay, while also winning one title and making a further two final appearances on the ProTour.
The Polish number one lost out in a seven-set thriller to Nathan Aspinall at this stage 12 months ago and will be keen to go one step further.
Reigning World Matchplay champion Dimitri van den Bergh aims to continue his terrific run of results in televised majors this season by overcoming his stablemate Jermaine Wattimena.
Van den Bergh has proved one of the stand-out performers of 2020, picking up his first major title at the Matchplay in July to storm into the world’s top 16 and become a shoo-in for the Premier League.
The Belgian star also enjoyed run to the Semi-Finals of last month’s Grand Slam and partnered Kim Huybrechts in reaching the Semi-Finals of the World Cup.
The world number nine is looking to reached the Quarter-Finals here for the third time and began emphatically by defeating Singapore legend Paul Lim 3-0 with a 105.6 average.
Wattimena, meanwhile, was a comfortable 3-1 winner over Welsh debutant Nick Kenny but averaged 15 points less than his next opponent.
The world number 24 finds himself in Round Three for only the second time in seven William Hill World Darts Championship appearances and comes up against Van den Bergh for the first time in televised competition.
Van den Bergh’s World Cup team-mate Kim Huybrechts aims to continue his timely resurgence by halting an equally in-form Ryan Searle.
Huybrechts averaged 104 in a 3-0 whitewash of China’s Di Zhuang in Round One before knocking out tenth seed Ian White 3-1 with a 101.6 average.
The Hurricane was a quarter-finalist on his Ally Pally but in 2012, but has since failed to make it beyond the Last 16 stage – which he reached last year.
Searle battled his way past America’s Danny Lauby in a last-set decider in Round One before defying a 98.2 average and nine 180s from Jeffrey de Zwaan to prevail in straight sets.
The Somerset star, who picked up his first Players Championship title at the beginning of the year, reached the Last 16 on his debut two years ago and lost out his darting hero Gary Anderson in the Last 32 in 2019.
The action gets underway from 12pm GMT, with all matches to be contested over the best of seven 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
Sunday December 27
Afternoon Session (12pm-4pm)
12.15pm Krzysztof Ratajski v Simon Whitlock
1.30pm Kim Huybrechts v Ryan Searle
2.45pm Dimitri Van den Bergh v Jermaine Wattimena