Van Gerwen “gutted” after World Championship whitewash defeat to Chisnall

Michael van Gerwen admits his shock whitewash defeat to Dave Chisnall in the Quarter-Finals of the World Darts Championship has left him “hurt” and “gutted”.

The world number one was thrashed 5-0 at Alexandra Palace on New Year’s Day as he saw his hopes of a fourth world title crushed by an inspired Chizzy.

Chisnall averaged 107.3 and hit fourteen 180s in his most prolific performance to date, ending a run of 27 games without a win over Van Gerwen.

Van Gerwen walked away from a match at the William Hill World Championship without a set to his name for the first time since 2009 and now faces the prospect of surrendering his world number one spot to Gerwyn Price if the Welshman goes on to lift the trophy.

A dejected Van Gerwen told Sky Sports: “It was a difficult match, I knew that before and when Dave is in form you have to work really hard if you want to beat him but I didn’t show up.

“The scoring power wasn’t there, I only can blame myself for this, no one else.

“Dave took every opportunity he had to make it as difficult as possible and fair play to him.

“I let myself down and I’m gutted, it’s something to think about in the next few days.

“It is the best Dave’s ever played, I know that by fact.

“When you win it’s nice to talk after about how great you played but today you’ve also got to admit, I wasn’t there.

“Well done Dave and I played crap.”

Chisnall missed double 12 for a nine-darter en route to taking the fourth set, with Van Gerwen providing a bizarre but brilliant moment when he hit treble 20, treble 19 and then double 12 immediately after his opponent missed his attempt at the finish – despite the Dutchman not being on a checkout.

Two of the five sets went to a deciding leg, but MVG was unable to find the breakthrough and was resigned to his earliest exit at Ally Pally since the 2015/16 event.

He added: “I need to reflect a bit on this game and think ‘where did things go wrong?’

“The only thing that wasn’t too bad was my doubles but if you score that badly against someone who’s playing really well like Dave did, then you only can blame yourself.

“When you’re a winner, you have to stand in front of the microphone as well and when you lose you have to do it as well.

“Of course it hurts and I wanted to do a lot more in this tournament, but that’s the price you pay when you lose.

“Everyone played their nuts off against me from the First Round to today, they all played better than I’ve ever seen them play.

“I need to make sure I go back to the practice board and get ready for the next tournament.”

WATCH THE WORLD DARTS CHAMPIONSHIP STREAMED LIVE HERE (18+)

Van Gerwen returns to winning ways in the PDC Autumn Series

Michael van Gerwen returned to the winner’s enclosure on Day Three of the PDC Autumn Series in Niederhausen, thrashing Mensur Suljovic 8-1 in the final on Monday.

The world number one had failed to qualify for the Premier League play-offs less than a fortnight ago and was beaten by both eventual champions in the opening two days of the Autumn Series.

However, he bounced back emphatically at the third time of asking, dropping just 13 legs en route to claiming his fourth ranking title of the season.

Van Gerwen recorded four consecutive ton-plus averages in his run to the final before powering past Suljovic to seal the £10,000 top prize.

“You have to play your A-game to win tournaments like this,” said Van Gerwen.

“I had some tough games today. I played Damon Heta again after he beat me yesterday.

“Apart from yesterday, the last few days I have felt a lot more comfortable than I did before.

“Of course it was nice to beat Glen Durrant for first time. He’s a phenomenal player but I should’ve beaten him last time.

“There’s always pressure on my back. I didn’t perform how I can in the Premier League but that’s how darts goes sometimes.

“I’m human but I will come back stronger, everyone knows that and I believe in my own ability.”

The world number one began the day with a 6-4 victory over former world finalist Andy Hamilton, before recording his first of four ton-plus averages in a 6-2 defeat of Reece Robinson.

Whitewash wins over fellow Dutchman Dirk van Duijvenbode and his Day Two conqueror Damon Heta were sandwiched either side of a 6-2 victory over Glen Durrant, his first against the Premier League table-topper.

A 7-4 triumph over Welshman Nick Kenny saw him progress to the final where he blew away Mensur Suljovic 8-1 with checkouts of 96 and 113 in the process.

Suljovic’s sole contribution to the scoreline came courtesy of a spectacular 170 checkout in the fourth leg.

The Austrian had defeated the likes of Jeffrey De Zwaan, Daryl Gurney, Luke Humphries and Ian White on his way to reaching the final.

Kenny, a Tour Card winner at Q School in January, reached his first PDC Semi-Final, while Australia’s Heta backed up his Day Two title win with a run to the Last Eight.

WATCH THE PDC AUTUMN SERIES STREAMED LIVE HERE (18+)

PDC Autumn Series 2020 Day Three Results

Monday September 14

First Round
Peter Wright 6-4 Ryan Meikle
Scott Waites 6-1 Daniel Larsson
Keegan Brown 6-1 Barrie Bates
Kirk Shepherd 6-2 Peter Jacques
Rob Cross 6-4 Adrian Lewis
Max Hopp 6-1 Yordi Meeuwisse
Luke Humphries 6-1 Ryan Joyce
Steffen Siepmann 6-3 Toni Alcinas
Mensur Suljovic 6-5 Marko Kantele
Jan Dekker 6-2 Scott Baker
Jeffrey De Zwaan 6-3 Harry Ward
Justin Pipe 6-2 Robert Collins
Daryl Gurney 6-1 Maikel Verberk
Niels Zonneveld 6-1 Harald Leitinger
Kim Huybrechts 6-0 Ryan Murray
Brian Raman 6-1 Martijn Kleermaker
Nathan Aspinall 6-0 Karel Sedlacek
Kai Fan Leung 6-3 Scott Mitchell
Madars Razma 6-4 Graham Usher
Ricky Evans 6-2 Jeff Smith
Danny Noppert 6-1 Geert Nentjes
Conan Whitehead 6-1 Gary Blades
Ted Evetts 6-2 Stephen Bunting
Vincent van der Voort 6-2 Mark McGeeney
Ian White 6-0 Nathan Derry
Mike De Decker 6-3 Darren Webster
Jonny Clayton 6-0 Scott Taylor
William Borland 6-5 Luke Woodhouse
Jose De Sousa 6-1 Robert Thornton
Jelle Klaasen 6-3 Bradley Brooks
Jermaine Wattimena 6-3 David Pallett
Adam Hunt 6-4 Carl Wilkinson
Gerwyn Price 6-5 Andrew Gilding
Ron Meulenkamp 6-5 Joe Murnan
Steve Beaton 6-5 John Henderson
Ross Smith 6-1 Jamie Lewis
James Wilson 6-5 Brendan Dolan
Gavin Carlin 6-4 Krzysztof Kciuk
Joe Cullen 6-2 Steve Lennon
Matthew Edgar 6-5 Chris Dobey
James Wade 6-3 Jitse Van der Wal
Josh Payne 6-4 Mickey Mansell
Nick Kenny 6-5 Devon Petersen
Simon Whitlock 6-5 Martin Schindler
Michael Smith 6-5 Justin Hood
Boris Krcmar 6-3 Matt Clark
Lisa Ashton 6-3 Jamie Hughes
Alan Tabern 6-4 Jesus Noguera
Damon Heta 6-5 Krzysztof Ratajski
Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-0 Derk Telnekes
Mervyn King 6-1 Vincent Van der Meer
William O’Connor 6-2 Adrian Gray
Dave Chisnall 6-3 Steve Brown
Darius Labanauskas 6-3 Benito van de Pas
Callan Rydz 6-3 Gabriel Clemens
Aaron Beeney 6-3 Christian Bunse
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Andy Hamilton
Reece Robinson 6-1 Wayne Jones
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-5 Maik Kuivenhoven
Andy Boulton 6-3 Jason Lowe
Glen Durrant 6-2 Ryan Hogarth
Arjan Konterman 6-5 Richard North
Ryan Searle 6-2 Dimitri Van den Bergh
John Michael 6-2 Steve West

Second Round
Peter Wright 6-1 Scott Waites
Keegan Brown 6-2 Kirk Shepherd
Rob Cross 6-2 Max Hopp
Luke Humphries 6-1 Steffen Siepmann
Mensur Suljovic 6-2 Jan Dekker
Jeffrey De Zwaan 6-5 Justin Pipe
Daryl Gurney 6-4 Niels Zonneveld
Kim Huybrechts 6-3 Brian Raman
Nathan Aspinall 6-1 Kai Fan Leung
Ricky Evans 6-3 Madars Razma
Danny Noppert 6-5 Conan Whitehead
Vincent van der Voort 6-3 Ted Evetts
Ian White 6-5 Mike De Decker
William Borland 6-3 Jonny Clayton
Jose De Sousa 6-3 Jelle Klaasen
Jermaine Wattimena 6-3 Adam Hunt
Gerwyn Price 6-1 Ron Meulenkamp
Ross Smith 6-4 Steve Beaton
Gavin Carlin 6-4 James Wilson
Joe Cullen 6-2 Matthew Edgar
James Wade 6-3 Josh Payne
Nick Kenny 6-3 Simon Whitlock
Boris Krcmar 6-5 Michael Smith
Lisa Ashton 6-2 Alan Tabern
Damon Heta 6-4 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Mervyn King 6-2 William O’Connor
Dave Chisnall 6-4 Darius Labanauskas
Callan Rydz 6-3 Aaron Beeney
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Reece Robinson
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-2 Andy Boulton
Glen Durrant 6-1 Arjan Konterman
John Michael 6-2 Ryan Searle
Losers: £500

Last 32
Keegan Brown 6-5 Peter Wright
Luke Humphries 6-3 Rob Cross
Mensur Suljovic 6-5 Jeffrey De Zwaan
Daryl Gurney 6-4 Kim Huybrechts
Nathan Aspinall 6-3 Ricky Evans
Danny Noppert 6-5 Vincent van der Voort
Ian White 6-2 William Borland
Jose De Sousa 6-4 Jermaine Wattimena
Ross Smith 6-4 Gerwyn Price
Joe Cullen 6-0 Gavin Carlin
Nick Kenny 6-5 James Wade
Lisa Ashton 6-5 Boris Krcmar
Damon Heta 6-4 Mervyn King
Dave Chisnall 6-3 Callan Rydz
Michael van Gerwen 6-0 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Glen Durrant 6-3 John Michael
Losers: £1,000

Last 16
Luke Humphries 6-0 Keegan Brown
Mensur Suljovic 6-0 Daryl Gurney
Danny Noppert 6-4 Nathan Aspinall
Ian White 6-3 Jose De Sousa
Ross Smith 6-4 Joe Cullen
Nick Kenny 6-3 Lisa Ashton
Damon Heta 6-4 Dave Chisnall
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Glen Durrant
Losers: £1,500

Quarter-Finals
Mensur Suljovic 6-3 Luke Humphries
Ian White 6-3 Danny Noppert
Nick Kenny 6-2 Ross Smith
Michael van Gerwen 6-0 Damon Heta
Losers: £2,250

Semi-Finals
Mensur Suljovic 7-3 Ian White
Michael van Gerwen 7-4 Nick Kenny
Losers: £3,000

Final
Michael van Gerwen 8-1 Mensur Suljovic
Winner: £10,000
Runner-up: £6,000

Nine-dart Van Gerwen returns to winning ways by claiming third UK Open title

Michael van Gerwen claimed his first ranking title of 2020 in style at the 2020 UK Open as he landed a nine-darter en route to glory in Minehead.

The world number one had gone more than 100 days without winning a PDC tournament but opened his account for the new season superbly by coming from 5-1 down to defeat Gerwyn Price 11-9 in the final.

Van Gerwen produced a roof-raising nine-dart finish on his way to an 11-3 rout of Daryl Gurney in the Semi-Finals, the second perfect leg of the weekend after Jonny Clayton’s effort on Saturday.

The Dutchman punished a series of fatal missed doubles from Price at the business end of the final to clinch the £100,000 title and become only the second player to win the UK Open on three or more occasions.

“It’s an incredible win and it means a lot to me to win this tournament,” said Van Gerwen. “I’ve had a phenomenal tournament and the pressure was on me.

“It was a hard day for me, I had to play three Premier League players and it was not easy but I played really good darts and didn’t do a lot wrong.

“The nine-darter was fantastic but with the way I was playing it was just a matter of time. That’s just one leg though and I had to keep my focus.

“Gerwyn had his chances in the final but I took good advantage and I never missed a chance. That was important, so I only can be happy with this.”

Price, who was beaten by Van Gerwen in last November’s Players Championship final at the same venue, began the final strongly by racing into a 5-1 lead with the aid of a 105 checkout.

Van Gerwen took the next two legs before missing the bull for a 124 checkout and allowing the Welshman to move 6-3 ahead.

Price then missed one dart at double 16 to extend his advantage and MVG seized his reprieve on double 11 before taking out 76 in the following leg to trail 6-5.

Price re-established a two-leg cushion but was left to rue ten missed darts in the next three legs as Van Gerwen turned the tables to move in front.

The three-time World Champion dealt another crushing blow with a 136 checkout before finishing 96 for an 11-darter to move within a leg of victory at 10-7.

Price rallied back with a 94 checkout before surviving a match dart from the Dutchman in the following leg to peg back to just one behind.

However, Van Gerwen averted the need for a nail-biting decider with a 66 finish on double 18 to return to the winner’s circle.

Price was forced to settle for the runner-up spot for the second time at the Ladbrokes UK Open, and admitted: “I bombed numerous opportunities and possibly could have been 9-6 up, but that’s the way darts goes.

“It’s just battling against myself when I go for doubles. If I hit my doubles, I probably am the best player in the world.”

Van Gerwen began the day by thrashing Rob Cross 10-4 with a blistering 110.8 average in a repeat of the 2019 Premier League final.

He then averaged 110.3 in thrashing Gurney 11-3 with a stunning nine-darter in the process – the seventh of his career in televised competition.

Price dispatched Dimitri van den Bergh 10-5 in the Quarter-Finals with a 102 average and went on to sustain that level in brushing aside fellow Welsh ace Jonny Clayton 11-4 in the Semi-Finals.

Ladbrokes UK Open 2020 Results

Sunday March 8

Afternoon Session

Quarter-Finals
Dimitri van den Bergh 5-10 Gerwyn Price
Michael van Gerwen 10-4 Rob Cross
Daryl Gurney 10-9 Jelle Klaasen
Jamie Hughes 9-10 Jonny Clayton

Evening Session

Semi-Finals
Gerwyn Price 11-4 Jonny Clayton
Michael van Gerwen 11-3 Daryl Gurney – *Van Gerwen hits a nine-darter*

Final
Michael van Gerwen 11-9 Gerwyn Price

Michael van Gerwen on joining Winmau: “I need to find that extra one or two per cent”

Michael van Gerwen opens up on his move to Winmau as he gets set to embark on a new chapter in his glittering career.

The move will see MVG compete with a set of newly-designed darts, which are to be unveiled and on sale in the coming weeks, having enjoyed unprecedented success with his unchanged current setup for the past eight years.

Van Gerwen will also don a new shirt in his trademark lime green and black colours and joins a team which also includes the likes of Daryl Gurney, Simon Whitlock, Steve Beaton, Mark Webster and Paul Nicholson, as well as legends Bobby George, Dennis Priestley, Andy Fordham and Peter Manley.

Michael van Gerwen joins Winmau in landmark new product deal

World number one Michael van Gerwen has signed a new product sponsorship deal with Winmau as he prepares to launch the latest chapter of his illustrious career.

Van Gerwen has long established himself as darts’ dominant force, racking up 54 televised titles, including three World Championships, as well as an incredible 77 non-televised titles.

The Dutch sensation, who joined the PDC in 2007, has remained top of the Order of Merit for the past six years and is second only to Phil Taylor in terms of overall titles won.

The 30-year-old has made a landmark move to join prestigious darts manufacturer Winmau in a lucrative five-year deal.

The announcement comes less than 24 hours after Van Gerwen was beaten 7-3 by rival Peter Wright in the World Championship final at Alexandra Palace.

The move will see MVG compete with a set of newly-designed darts, which are to be unveiled and on sale in the coming weeks, having enjoyed unprecedented success with his unchanged current setup for the past eight years.

“It’s phenomenal to sign with Winmau,” said Van Gerwen.

“I’m one hundred per cent sure I’m going to switch darts, I’m not 100 per cent sure which ones yet, but I’m close.

“I’ve only changed darts three times in my career and have played for the last eight years with this one set.

“It’s going to be tough, but I’ll get it right.”

Van Gerwen will also don a new shirt in his trademark lime green and black colours and joins a team which also includes the likes of Daryl Gurney, Simon Whitlock, Steve Beaton, Mark Webster and Paul Nicholson, as well as legends Bobby George, Dennis Priestley, Andy Fordham and Peter Manley.

Winmau has been an established darts brand for over 70 years and now exports to over 70 countries worldwide.

They are the largest manufacturer of premium bristle dartboards and military grade tungsten darts and prides themselves in hand-crafted quality, distinctive design and superb performance, all from a purpose-built factory.

A first glimpse of MVG’s new arrows of desire

Michael van Gerwen v Peter Wright: World Darts Championship 2020 Final preview – MVG and Snakebite vie to be king of the palace

Reigning champion Michael van Gerwen and Peter Wright resume their rivalry in darts’ show-piece fixture as they face off for the right to be crowned 2020 World Champion at Alexandra Palace on New Year’s Day.

A repeat of the 2014 final sees the world number one looking to continue his crushing record over ‘Snakebite’ in televised finals and retain the William Hill World Championship title for the first time.

Wright, meanwhile, is bidding to secure his first world title for what would be only his second major triumph, having fallen short in five major ranked finals, as well as the Premier League, Champions League and World Series Finals at the hands of his Dutch nemesis.

Van Gerwen has upheld his ruthless record in the sport’s show-piece, winning through to a fifth final in his last eight appearances at Ally Pally, with his 7-4 triumph over Wright in the 2014 final marking the fulfillment of his darting destiny.

Victory here would see ‘Mighty Mike’ become the fourth player to successfully defend this title, behind Phil Taylor, Adrian Lewis and Gary Anderson, and would mark a 55th career televised success.

The reigning Premier League and World Grand Prix champion dropped just one set in seeing off Jelle Klaasen (3-1), Ricky Evans (4-0) and Stephen Bunting (4-0) en route to the Quarter-Finals, before recovering from a slow start to dispatch Lithuanian underdog Darius Labanauskas 5-2.

He then fended off the challenge of UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall with a 6-3 win in the Last Four, recording his third 96 average of the tournament.

By his own admission, Van Gerwen has not been at his vintage best for the majority of the competition so far, but will look to peak at the perfect time on the first and biggest occasion of the year.

Wright recovered from a series of shaky performances in the early rounds to raise his level considerably and has looked more assured as each round has progressed.

The colourful Scot stumbled past Filipino qualifier Noel Malicdem in a dramatic tie break before eventually shaking off Japan’s Seigo Asada 4-2.

He then fended off a spirited fightback from Jeffrey de Zwaan from 3-0 down to three apiece by holding his nerve to prevail in another tense tie break before averaging 105.8 in a blistering display to defeat Luke Humphries 5-3.

The Semi-Final saw ‘Snakebite’ deny Gerwyn Price a first appearance in a world final by wrapping up a 6-3 victory in a feisty encounter with 16 maximums along the way.

Wright has been relentless on the treble 20 since switching his darts midway through his Third Round match, and 15 more 180s would see him eclipse Gary Anderson’s record of 71 in the 2016/17 event.

The pair have met an incredible 78 times in PDC competition, with MVG having dominated proceedings with 59 victories to Wright’s 17, in addition to two Premier League draws.

Along with the 2014 world final, other notable show-downs include the 2017 Premier League final, in which Wright squandered six match darts, one of his nine defeats to the Dutchman in televised finals.

The 2020 World Championship final gets underway from 7.15pm GMT and will be contested over the best of 13 sets, best of five legs per set.

A tie-break will be in operation, where the final set must be won by two clear legs. If the score reaches 5-5, the 11th leg will be sudden-death.

The winner will scoop a staggering £500,000 top prize and the coveted Sid Waddell Trophy, with the runner-up collecting £200,000.

BET ON & WATCH VAN GERWEN vs WRIGHT STREAMED LIVE HERE (18+)

Player’s View

Van Gerwen: “I will have to improve that for the final.

“Most of the time Peter plays me he blows up and misses darts at double and that’s a good thing for myself.

“I hope I can play a bit better than I have been doing so far in this tournament and I’m looking forward to the final.

“I think he’s more scared of me than I am of him.”

Wright: “I’m older and wiser than I was six years ago, I didn’t feel ready to be World Champion then but I do now.

“There’s no mental block against Michael, even though I should’ve beaten him in a few finals.

“I told him a few weeks ago that we would meet in the final of the World Championship and it’s come true.

“I’m not thinking too much about what it would mean to be World Champion, I’m just going to go up there and play my game like I have been doing all tournament and we’ll see who wins.”

Michael van Gerwen v Nathan Aspinall: World Darts Championship Semi-Final preview – MVG aims to end Asp dream

Reigning champion Michael van Gerwen aims to book his place in a fifth World Championship final at the expense of new sensation Nathan Aspinall at Alexandra Palace on Monday.

Van Gerwen has upheld his ruthless record in the sport’s show-piece, winning through to a seventh time in his last eight appearances at Ally Pally, but will not be content to stop there.

The world number one is out to move another step closer to retaining the world title for the first time and extending his unbeaten run in this competition to 11 matches.

The reigning Premier League and World Grand Prix champion dropped just one set in seeing off Jelle Klaasen (3-1), Ricky Evans (4-0) and Stephen Bunting (4-0) en route to the Quarter-Finals, before recovering from a slow start to dispatch Darius Labanauskas 5-2 in the Last Four.

By his own admission, Van Gerwen has not been at his vintage best over the festive period so far, but will look to go through the gears over the long format which has so often played into his hands.

Aspinall put his name on the darting map by reaching the Semis as a 500/1 outsider last year and has not looked back since, claiming his first major title at the UK Open in March before backing it up with a debut World Series triumph at the U.S Masters.

The Stockport ace followed up his opening win over America’s Danny Baggish with a superb all-round display to see off Polish ace Krzysztof Ratajski 4-3 with a 98.5 average before pulling off what he described as one of the biggest wins of his career as he defeated two-time World Champion Gary Anderson 4-2.

Aspinall, who has made the Ally Pally stage his second home since he first set foot on it 12 months ago, held off a stern challenge from Dimitri van den Bergh to prevail 5-3 in Sunday’s Quarter-Finals.

World number 12 heading into the tournament, ‘The Asp’ is now provisionally in the world’s top ten and will look to cap off a fairy-tale year by booking his place in the sport’s show-piece fixture.

This will be the fifth meeting between the two players, having shared two wins apiece since 2015, the most recent of which going the way of Aspinall in the Last 16 of September Gibraltar Trophy.

The second Semi-Final gets underway from 9.15pm GMT and will be contested over the best of 11 sets, best of five legs per set.

A tie-break will be in operation, where the final set must be won by two clear legs. If the score reaches 5-5, the 11th leg will be sudden-death.

Either third seed and Grand Slam champion Gerwyn Price or seventh seed and 2014 world finalist Peter Wright will await the winner in the final on New Year’s Day.

BET ON & WATCH VAN GERWEN vs ASPINALL STREAMED LIVE HERE (18+)

Player’s View

Van Gerwen: “I will put everything right for the next match.

“Nathan is having a great year and I think we can have a fantastic game but if I play to my top level I will have too much for him.

“Nathan looks up to me, I know that, but I’m going to use that against him.”

Aspinall: “I love being here and I want to put on a show for the fans, which is what I will aim to do.

“I bet him last time I played him, in fact I was 5-0 up against him so I know I can beat the guy, it’s a longer format and bigger occasion but I thin he knows that I can beat him.

“It’ll be a tough game, a good game, and hopefully I can come out on top.”

 

World Darts Championship 2019/20 Day Ten: Evening Session preview and order of play

Reigning World Champion Michael van Gerwen steps up the defence of his title in Round Three on Sunday night as a clutch of big names battle it out for a place in the latter stages after Christmas.

The Alexandra Palace was shaken to its core once again as its newly-crowned queen Fallon Sherrock pulled off a monumental upset by knocking out world number 11 Mensur Suljovic on Saturday night.

The 2,500/1 outsider continued her trailblazing run in the sport’s show-piece and generated global headlines for the second time in the space of four days to progress to the Last 32 on her debut.

Sixty-seven players have now departed the competition over the last nine days, leaving a fascinating mixture of decorated stars and in-form underdogs to compete for the Sid Waddell Trophy and £500,000 top prize.

Van Gerwen is now odds-on favourite to retain the trophy for the first time and claim a fourth world title since 2014, but faces a tricky test against Ricky Evans in the Last 32.

The world number one has not lost in, or prior to, this stage of the tournament since 2011 and has reached at least the Semi-Final stage in six of his last seven visits to Ally Pally.

The Premier League and World Grand Prix winner came from a set down to defeat his bitter rival Jelle Klaasen 3-1 with a 96.2 average on opening night and has had to wait longer (nine days) than any other player between matches.

Van Gerwen will be chomping at the bit to resume normal service on the sport’s greatest stage and faces a player against whom he has lost just one of their nine previous meetings.

Evans is bidding to surpass this stage of the competition for the first time in five attempts, but faces a formidable task over the extended format against the greatest player on the planet.

Evans sealed a 3-1 victory over former Lakeside finalist Mark McGeeney with a sensational 170 checkout and will look to settle quickly and feed off MVG’s intense scoring power in what promises to be a quick-fire classic.

The opening match of the night sees multiple major winner James Wade take on 1996 World Champion Steve Beaton.

Nine-time major winner Wade reacts (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Wade, a three-time World Championship semi-finalist, claimed European Championship and World Series Finals glory in late 2018 but has enjoyed much of his success in floor tournaments this season, picking up no fewer than five Players Championship titles.

The Aldershot left-hander surrendered both of those TV titles at the first hurdle but has reached the final of The Masters and the Semi-Finals of the Premier League this season and will be keen to end it on the biggest possible high.

He began his campaign with a routine straight sets win over debutant Ritchie Edhouse but now comes up against an opponent whose big stage experience could not be more in contrast.

Only Phil Taylor (25) has made more appearances in this competition than ‘The Bronzed Adonis’ – who has underlined his incredible longevity by qualifying as number 25 seed.

The 55-year-old has incredibly never won successive matches in a PDC World Championship since making his debut at The Circus Tavern in 2002 and has lost 20 of his 23 previous meetings with Wade, including two in this tournament.

Belgium faces Holland in another tasty tie as former Players Championship Finals runner-up Kim Huybrechts takes on World Series Finals runner-up Danny Noppert.

Huybrechts has dropped out of the world’s top 32 after missing out on a number of ranked majors this season but has made up for lost time so far, defeating Geert Nentjes in a deciding set before knocking out 2018 champion Rob Cross 3-0 in Round Two.

That victory over the world number two is likely to offer ‘The Hurricane’ a much-needed confidence boost and assurance that he can still beat the best on the big stage as he looks to revive his career.

Noppert reached his first PDC televised final in Amsterdam last month, having also reached the final of the BDO World Championship, and registered his first win on the sport’s greatest stage by overcoming emerging star Callan Rydz in a deciding set last week.

The Dutchman has broken into the world’s top 32 for the first time after a fine season in which he has reached four ProTour Semi-Finals and featured in the World Matchplay, World Grand Prix and Grand Slam.

The action gets underway from 7pm GMT, with Third Round matches to be contested over the best of seven sets, best of five legs per set.

A tie-break will be in operation, where the final set must be won by two clear legs. If the score reaches 5-5, the 11th leg will be sudden-death.

BET ON & WATCH THE WORLD DARTS CHAMPIONSHIP STREAMED LIVE HERE (18+)

William Hill World Championship 2019/20 Match Schedule

Sunday December 22

Third Round

Evening Session
7.15pm James Wade v Steve Beaton
8.45pm Kim Huybrechts v Danny Noppert
10.15pm Michael van Gerwen v Ricky Evans

Van Gerwen has “a big problem” with Price says Phil Taylor ahead of the World Championship

Sixteen-time World Champion Phil Taylor believes Michael van Gerwen will have a “big problem” on his hands with Gerwyn Price at the 2019/20 World Darts Championship.

Van Gerwen is aiming to retain the William Hill World Championship title for the first time and lift the Sid Waddell Trophy for the fourth time in total, but looks to have in-form Price hot on his heels.

The world number one has picked up eight televised titles this season, taking his career tally to over 50, but has seen a fresh challenge to his dominance by the rejuvenated Welshman.

Van Gerwen had gone 19 games without defeat to Price before ‘The Ice Man’ finally stopped the rot en route to retaining the Grand Slam title in November.

Price has appeared in three televised finals since late October, and Taylor believes the 34-year-old presents MVG’s biggest threat in the sport’s show-piece at Alexandra Palace.

“Michael [Van Gerwen] has got a big problem with Gerwyn [Price],” Taylor told Live Darts. “He’s playing superb and is full of confidence.

“He’s fit, young enough still to perform and he’s playing the best darts of his career.

“He does have a little bit of a flaw where he’ll play fantastic for a few legs but then have a few bad ones and miss doubles and that’s the only flaw in his game.

“He’s got the game to win the World Championship and I told him that.

“I told him to get the rest in and get the practice in.

“Gerwyn knows he can do it now, he knows he’s got the game and he’s not frightened of anybody which is good to see.

“It’ll either be him [Price] or Michael [Van Gerwen], I think.”

Taylor, who finished runner-up to Rob Cross in the 2018 final before retiring from professional competition, believes Price has the credentials to become a World Champion despite his below-par record in the competition.

He added: “It’s early days and I’ve seen it before with the amount of players who’ve won a World Championship once, but can he do it? Yes.

“Does he believe? I hope so, because it’d be great to watch.

“I’m not really a watcher of darts now but if he was to get into the final with Michael, I’d watch it.

“But don’t write Rob Cross off or Adrian Lewis – he’s full of confidence now and peaking at the right time.

“He doesn’t look 100 per cent at the minute and he needs to sort himself out that way but I think if he does, he can play a lot better.

“You can’t write anybody off.”

Taylor also revealed he has been practicing with his former rival Raymond van Barneveld in the run-up to the £2.5 million major, which signals Barney’s last competitive appearance before he will follow in ‘The Power’s’ footsteps and call time on his glittering career.

The Stoke maestro says Van Barneveld has looked sharp in practice but admits he is unsure how he will fare on the day.

“It really does all depend which Barney turns up,” added Taylor.

“In practice he’s been great and has had a big smile on his face.

“If he turns up and feels good, he’ll play brilliant, if he doesn’t feel clever he’ll have a miserable face and won’t perform, but I hope he does.”