The reigning World Champion and last year’s beaten finalist return to action in an unmissable session of Third Round ties…
The reigning World Champion and last year’s beaten finalist return to action in an unmissable session of Third Round ties at Alexandra Palace on Sunday night.
Krzysztof Ratajski, Ryan Searle and Dimitri van den Bergh have already booked their place in the Last 16, and three more star names will aim to join them this evening.
Michael van Gerwen looks to remain in the running for a fourth William Hill World Championship title by overcoming Ricky Evans for the second successive year.
The world number one whitewashed Evans 4-0 at this stage of the competition 12 months ago, going on to reach the final and finish runner-up to Peter Wright.
Van Gerwen, who won last month’s Players Championship Finals to end an eight-month wait for a televised title, laid down an immediate marker by averaging 109 in his 3-1 win over Ryan Murray before Christmas.
World Champion in 2014, 2017 and 2019, ‘Mighty Mike’ boasts a superb record of consistency at Ally Pally, having reached at least the Semi-Final stage in seven of his last eight appearances.
Evans, meanwhile, came from a set down to defeat Northern Ireland’s Mickey Mansell 3-1 for a place in Round Three for only the second time in six Ally Pally appearances.
The former European Tour event finalist is bidding to record only his second win over MVG in eleven attempts – the first coming seven years ago in a ProTour event.
Peter Wright steps up the defence of his title with a show-down against German number one Gabriel Clemens.
Wright realised his darting destiny when he defeated rival MVG 7-3 in the final on New Year’s Day to become only the ninth different winner of a PDC World Championship.
The world number two has since gone on to win The Masters and the European Championship this year and is now looking to become only the fourth player to successfully retain this crown.
He took to the stage in front of a limited capacity crowd on opening night in a ‘Grinch’ themed outfit and ruined Steve West’s Christmas with a 3-1 victory.
Snakebite now faces a man against whom he lost two of their three previous meetings, with Clemens now entering uncharted territory in this competition.
The world number 31 averaged 95.7 in dispatching German compatriot Nico Kurz 3-1 in Round Two and will look to add his name to the history books by dethroning the reigning king of the palace.
The opening match of the night sees world number 16 take on world number 17 as Joe Cullen faces Jonny Clayton.
Cullen had mustered just two wins in ten previous World Championship appearances but added to his tally by dispatching Wayne Jones in straight sets before the Christmas break.
The Bradford ace entered this tournament in arguably his best ever vein of form, having won a European Tour event and a Players Championship title, while also reaching the Last Eight of the Players Championship Finals.
Clayton was part of the Wales side that claimed World Cup of Darts glory last month alongside Gerwyn Price and has also reached the Semi-Finals of the UK Open and European Championship.
Clayton, who has also landed a nine-darter at the UK Open this year, defeated Cullen 10-4 in March’s UK Open before being edged out in a deciding leg in October’s World Grand Prix.
The Ferret defeated John Henderson 3-1 in his opener and like Cullen, is bidding to reach the Last 16 here for the first time.
The action gets underway from 6pm 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
6.15pm Joe Cullen v Jonny Clayton
7.30pm Peter Wright v Gabriel Clemens
8.45pm Michael van Gerwen v Ricky Evans