Historic 2023/24 World Championship final attracts record TV viewing figures

A record audience of 4.8m tuned in on Sky Sports to watch an epic World Darts Championship final between Luke Humphries and Luke Littler last night.

With darts fever sweeping the nation, a peak audience of 3.71m watched Humphries claim his first world title at Alexandra Palace, as he battled back from 4-2 down with five straight sets to deny teenage sensation Littler a fairy-tale ending to his dream debut run.

The record figure represents the highest ever non-football peak on Sky Sports, and marks a 143% increase on the 2023 final between Michael Smith and Michael van Gerwen, which featured ‘the greatest leg’.

PDC Chief Executive Matt Porter said: “This year’s World Championship was record-breaking on every level and it’s fitting that its final reached the biggest audience in the history of the PDC and Sky darts.

“The two Lukes delivered an amazing contest that kept us all on the edge of our seats and finished off a thrilling and dramatic tournament in memorable fashion.

“The World Darts Championship is a staple part of Christmas viewing, delivering drama and suspense with every match and it sets up perfectly what is sure to be a phenomenal year for darts.”

Jonathan Licht, Sky Sports Managing Director, added: “Even more of the nation have fallen in love with the darts over the last few weeks and as a long-term partner of the PDC, we are thrilled that this most entertaining of sports is in the spotlight.

“Over 4.8m people tuned in to watch the remarkable final last night, making it the most watched non-football sports event ever on Sky and NOW.

“Our congratulations to both Lukes and to all the players who contributed to such a memorable World Championship. We can’t wait for the Premier League Darts to get started in February.”

As darts continues to explode in popularity, Sky Documentaries has announced the commission of an access-all-areas premium documentary series, which will follow the stories of the players beyond the oche and is due to be released later this year.

The series, which tracks the action from pre-tournament preparation to the final and beyond, follows up-and-coming hopefuls to top-seeded players, the families who support them to achieve their dreams, as well as those who work tirelessly behind the scenes to create this global phenomenon.

‘Darts’ is produced by the award-winning documentary production company Dorothy St Pictures for Sky, whose previous credits include Coleen Rooney: The Real Wagatha Story and Pamela, A Love Story.

The documentary will be co-produced by John Skipper’s US-based Meadowlark in conjunction with the PDC.

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Luke Littler v Luke Humphries live stream: World Darts Championship 2023/24 final preview

Luke Littler and Luke Humphries collide on a date with destiny in the final of the 2023/24 World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace.

One of the most eagerly-anticipated finals in the 30-year history of the tournament sees a teenage sensation take on the sport’s recent dominant force for the right to become the 12th different winner of darts’ most prestigious title.

History beckons for both players as they bid to lift the Sid Waddell Trophy and scoop the £500,000 top prize to cap off an unforgettable fortnight in the capital.

Humphries is aiming to become only the third player – behind Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen – to win four major televised ranking titles in a single season, having already claimed the World Grand Prix, Grand Slam of Darts and Players Championship Finals titles.

After Dennis Priestley won the inaugural PDC World Championship in 1993/94, Littler is looking to follow in the footsteps of Raymond van Barneveld and Rob Cross – who both claimed glory in their debut appearance.

Littler has made global headlines by announcing himself as the most exciting 16-year-old talent in the world of sport, catapulting himself into the limelight with a series of unprecedented performances.

The reigning World Youth champion has already made history by becoming the youngest player to win a match at the PDC World Championship and has backed that up with a further five dominant displays, dropping just six sets en route to the final.

Littler thrashed 2012 Lakeside Champion Christian Kist in straight sets with a 106.12 average – the highest of any debutant in the World Championship, before dumping out UK Open champion Andrew Gilding and Canadian number one Matt Campbell.

He then dismantled his darting idol Raymond van Barneveld 4-1 in the Last 16 with 105 average, before demolishing Brendan Dolan 5-1 in the Quarter-Finals on New Year’s Day with an average of 102.

The fearless youngster put another former World Champion – Rob Cross – to the sword in the Semi-Finals, averaging 106 with the aid of 16 maximums, taking his tournament average to 101.8.

Standing between ‘The Nuke’ and a place in sporting folklore is the new world number one – bidding for his fourth major title in the space of as many months.

Humphries has emerged as the sport’s new dominant force, boasting an 18-match unbeaten record in all competitions and fully justifying his billing as pre-tournament favourite.

The 28-year-old has had to survive two huge huge scares to keep his hopes of a maiden world title alive, notably coming through a sudden death classic to edge out Joe Cullen in the final match of 2023, surviving multiple match darts in the process.

Having swept aside Lee Evans in his opener, Humphries was also forced to recover from 3-1 down to deny Germany’s Ricardo Pietreczko in a last-set decider as he defied a partisan German contingent in the crowd.

His following two matches, however, proved to be much more straightforward affairs, resulting in a 5-1 rout of Dave Chisnall with a 103.5 average and a 6-0 whitewash of a helpless Scott Williams.

His match average of 108.74 against Williams was the ninth highest in World Championship history and saw him land at least two 180s in each set.

He enters the final as the 13th different PDC world number one and could extend his lead to more than £350,000 over Michael van Gerwen with victory this evening.

Littler, meanwhile, has racked up a minimum of £200,000 to launch himself instantly into the world’s top 32 and would climb to ninth if he were to claim the crown.

The World Darts Championship final gets under way from 8pm GMT and will be contested over the best of 13 sets.

How to watch Luke Littler v Luke Humphries live stream

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Luke Littler and Luke Humphries set up historic World Championship final showdown

Luke Littler and Luke Humphries will meet in 2023/24 World Darts Championship final after producing scintillating Semi-Final displays on a memorable night at Alexandra Palace.

Teenage sensation Littler continued his fairy-tale run with a crushing 6-2 defeat of Rob Cross, averaging 106 to move one win away from completing one of the most incredible stories in sporting history.

Humphries, meanwhile, delivered a darting masterclass to emphatically whitewash Scott Williams, averaging 108.7 and converting six ton-plus checkouts to become the new world number one in the process.

Littler dumped out 2018 World Champion Cross in the evening’s opener to move through to the sport’s most prestigious fixture, less than three weeks shy of his 17th birthday.

Having also accounted for Dutch icon Raymond van Barneveld in the Last 16, the World Youth Champion claimed another huge scalp in the capital to guarantee himself a minimum of £200,000 in prize money and a place in the world’s top 32.

Littler had only dropped four sets in reaching the semi-finals, although he fell behind for the first time at this tournament after losing a high-quality opener, which saw Cross average 108.

However, after surviving a set dart in the second, Littler hit back with legs of 13 and 14 darts to level, before landing a sensational 142 checkout on his way to establishing a 2-1 advantage.

The fearless teenager continued his blitz with a majestic 149 checkout midway through set four, before extending his lead in stunning style, defying six perfect darts from Cross to wrap it up inside 11 darts.

Cross responded in a topsy-turvy fifth set to reduce the deficit, converting an unorthodox 138 checkout before capitalising on a rare error from Littler, who missed a dart at tops for a 4-1 lead.

That minor setback was dismissed by the 16-year-old sensation, who conjured up consecutive 13-darters on his way to a 4-2 lead, and he continued his relentless barrage in set seven to move a set away from glory.

Any prospect of finishing line nerves were dismissed by an inspired Littler, who kicked off set eight with a roof-raising 132 checkout, leaving Cross shaking his head in sheer disbelief.

The world number eight battled back from a four-set deficit to stun Chris Dobey in the Quarter-Finals on New Year’s Day, but there was to be no repeat, as Littler wrapped up a historic win with a two-dart 80 finish.

“I’ve got no words,” admitted Littler, who averaged 106, fired in 16 maximums and landed a trio of ton-plus checkouts.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet. I’ve thrown big averages on the floor all year round, but I’m so happy to have brought that form up on to the biggest stage of them all.

“It would be unbelievable to win this title. I set myself the target to win one game and be back after Christmas, and I’m still here!

“I can’t even imagine lifting that trophy yet though. I’ve just got to stay focused, relax and be Luke Littler.”

Humphries backed up Littler’s heroics with a majestic performance of his own, dispatching Michael van Gerwen’s conqueror Williams in six straight sets to move one game away from fulfilling his darting destiny.

Having edged out Ricardo Pietreczko and Joe Cullen in deciding-set epics, Humphries piled in a 103 average in his Quarter-Final demolition of Dave Chisnall, before upping the ante against a helpless Williams.

The 28-year-old kicked off the contest with an 11-darter, which set the tone for one of the greatest performances ever seen on the Ally Pally stage.

Humphries maintained his electric start with successive 121 and 136 checkouts in set two, and the big finishing continued in set three, as he followed up a magical 170 with a set-winning 126 combination to race 3-0 ahead.

Despite surviving a scare in set four, Humphries continued the procession with a sublime fifth set display, producing his second 121 finish of the contest and averaging 122 to establish a seemingly unassailable lead.

Williams kept battling away bravely, but he was unable to avoid the whitewash, as Humphries reeled off legs of 13, 16 and 16 darts in the closing stages to celebrate another personal milestone.

“This is a massive, massive moment for me,” admitted Humphries, who has scooped World Grand Prix, Grand Slam and Players Championship Finals titles since October.

“I think it’s probably one of the best performances I’ve ever produced on the big stage. I just hope it didn’t come one game too early!

“I needed to put in a statement performance because Luke was fantastic tonight. Every aspect of my game was as I wanted it to be, and it’s such a special moment.

“Becoming world number one is something you can only dream of as a kid, but tomorrow would stay with me forever if I become World Champion, so my mind is fully focused on that.”

Humphries is aiming to cap off a prolific season by becoming only the third player – alongside Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen – to win four major televised ranking titles in the space of 12 months.

Meanwhile, after Dennis Priestley won the inaugural PDC World Championship in 1993/94, Littler is now bidding to follow in the footsteps of Van Barneveld and Cross – who both lifted the sport’s biggest title on debut.

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World Darts Championship 2023/24 Semi-Final Results

Tuesday January 2

Luke Littler 6-2 Rob Cross
Luke Humphries 6-0 Scott Williams

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Rob Cross v Luke Littler live stream | World Darts Championship Semi-Final preview

Former World Champion Rob Cross aims to end the historic run of teenage sensation Luke Littler when they collide in the Semi-Finals at Alexandra Palace on Tuesday.

The box office dup will meet in a televised major for the first time as they vie for a date with destiny and a chance to land the £500,000 top prize.

Littler has made global headlines by announcing himself as the most exciting 16-year-old talent in the world of sport over the past fortnight.

The reigning World Youth champion has already made history by becoming the youngest player to win a match at the PDC World Championship and has backed that up with a further four dominant displays, dropping just four sets en route to the semis.

Littler thrashed 2012 Lakeside Champion Christian Kist in straight sets with a 106.12 average – the highest of any debutant in the World Championship, before dumping out UK Open champion Andrew Gilding and Canadian number one Matt Campbell with averages of 92 and 97 respectively.

He then dismantled his darting idol Raymond van Barneveld 4-1 in the Last 16 with 105 average and went on to demolish Brendan Dolan 5-1 in the Quarter-Finals on New Year’s Day with an average of 102.

The Runcorn sensation is now just two wins away from becoming the youngest World Champion in darts history ahead of his 17th birthday on January 21st, but faces his toughest test yet against a player who knows what it takes to go the distance on this stage.

Littler is looking to emulate the achievement of Cross – who claimed the world title in his debut appearance in 2018, defeating the retiring Phil Taylor in the final.

Cross is through to the Semi-Finals here for the first time since that life-changing triumph and has done so in remarkable fashion.

He had dropped just two sets in reaching the Semi-Finals, starting with a 3-0 rout of France’s Thibault Tricole, before overcoming Sweden’s Jeffrey de Graaf 4-2 and whitewashing a struggling Jonny Clayton 4-0.

However, he looked to be staring down the barrel of a crushing defeat just over 24 hours ago, trailing Chris Dobey 4-0, but only to mount an astonishing comeback to prevail 5-4 in a nail-biting tie break set.

In doing so, Cross became the first player ever to overturn a four-set deficit in a PDC World Championship Quarter-Final and is now aiming to seize that reprieve and utilise his vast experience to crush Littler’s fairy-tale title dream.

The match gets under way from around 7.45pm GMT and will be contested over the best of seven sets, with either Luke Humphries or Scott Williams awaiting the winner in Wednesday’s final.

How to watch Cross v Littler live stream

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World Darts Championship 2023/24 | Semi-Finals Preview and Order of Play

The final four face off for a date with destiny at the 2023/24 World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace on Tuesday.

Ninety-six came, now just four remain after 14 days of scintillating competition on the sport’s greatest stage.

For the first time since 2006, all four PDC World Championship semi-finalists hail from England, with the line-up including only one former World Champion, while the other three contenders are all appearing at this stage of the event for the first time.

The opening Semi-Final sees Rob Cross, the 2018 World Champion, aim to end the historic run of teenage sensation Luke Littler.

Littler has made global headlines by announcing himself as the most exciting 16-year-old talent in the world of sport over the past fortnight.

The reigning World Youth champion has already made history by becoming the youngest player to win a match at the PDC World Championship and has backed that up with a further four dominant displays, dropping just four sets en route to the semis.

Littler thrashed 2012 Lakeside Champion Christian Kist in straight sets with a 106.12 average – the highest of any debutant in the World Championship, before dumping out UK Open champion Andrew Gilding and Canadian number one Matt Campbell with averages of 92 and 97 respectively.

He then dismantled his darting idol Raymond van Barneveld 4-1 in the Last 16 with 105 average and went on to demolish Brendan Dolan 5-1 in the Quarter-Finals on New Year’s Day with an average of 102.

The Runcorn sensation is now just two wins away from becoming the youngest World Champion in darts history ahead of his 17th birthday on January 21st, but faces his toughest test yet against a player who knows what it takes to go the distance on this stage.

Littler is looking to emulate the achievement of Cross – who claimed the world title in his debut appearance in 2018, defeating the retiring Phil Taylor in the final.

Cross is through to the Semi-Finals here for the first time since that life-changing triumph and has done so in remarkable fashion.

He had dropped just two sets in reaching the Semi-Finals, starting with a 3-0 rout of France’s Thibault Tricole, before overcoming Sweden’s Jeffrey de Graaf 4-2 and whitewashing a struggling Jonny Clayton 4-0.

However, he looked to be staring down the barrel of a crushing defeat just over 24 hours ago, trailing Chris Dobey 4-0, but only to mount an astonishing comeback to prevail 5-4 in a nail-biting tie break set.

In doing so, Cross became the first player ever to overturn a four-set deficit in a PDC World Championship Quarter-Final and is now aiming to seize that reprieve and utilise his vast experience to crush Littler’s fairy-tale title dream.

The evening’s second Semi-Final sees three-time major winner Luke Humphries take on rank outsider Scott Williams.

Humphries has had to survive two huge scares to keep his hopes of a maiden world title alive, notably coming through a sudden death classic to edge out Joe Cullen in the final match of 2023, surviving multiple match darts in the process.

Having swept aside Lee Evans in his opener, Humphries was also forced to recover from 3-1 down to deny Germany’s Ricardo Pietreczko in a last-set decider as he defied a partisan German contingent in the crowd.

His Quarter-Final, however, proved to be a much more straightforward affair, resulting in a 5-1 rout of Dave Chisnall with a 103.5 average to reach this stage of the competition for the first time in seven appearances.

Humphries came in to the tournament as favourite on the back of a remarkable spell of dominance, having claimed the World Grand Prix, Grand Slam and Players Championship Finals titles in a period of less than two months, and has extended his unbeaten run to 17 matches in all competitions.

Williams, meanwhile, is enjoying his best run in a televised tournament to date, defying the odds to knock out four seeded players and climb a minimum of 22 places to 30th in the provisional Order of Merit.

Having won just £32,750 in prize money throughout an otherwise below-par season, he is now sitting on a minimum of £100,000 for his exploits at Ally Pally – a career-changing run which has elevated him into the sport’s elite.

The former Players Championship event winner, who was beaten by Cross in Round Two on his debut here last year, has displayed trademark flamboyance to wow the crowd and is now poised for the biggest match of his life once again.

After defeating PDC Asian champion Haruki Muramatsu 3-1 in Round One, Williams dumped out seventh Danny Noppert in straight sets.

The former ProTour event winner came agonisingly close to a nine-darter in the last set against Noppert, wiring double 18 for perfection, and went on to knock out 26th seed Martin Schindler in a last-set thriller and tenth seed Damon Heta 4-1 to continue his dream run.

He then pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the tournament’s history by ousting three-time champion Michael van Gerwen 5-3 in the Quarter-Finals with a 96.3 average, and will be determined to back that up with another significant scalp.

The action gets under way from 7.30pm GMT, with Semi-Final matches to be contested over the best of 11 sets.

Matches must be won by two clear legs, unless the score reaches 5-5 in the deciding set, in which case a sudden-death leg will be played.

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World Darts Championship 2023/24 Semi-Finals Schedule

Tuesday January 2

7.30pm-11pm
Rob Cross v Luke Littler
Luke Humphries v Scott Williams

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Scott Williams stuns Michael van Gerwen to reach World Championship Semi-Finals as Humphries, Littler and Cross also advance

Scott Williams produced a stunning upset as he defeated Michael van Gerwen 5-3 to reach the Semi-Finals of the World Darts Championship, Luke Humphries, Luke Littler and Rob Cross also progressed.

A memorable start to the new year saw three players break new ground by reaching the Semi-Finals of the sport’s showpiece event for the first time, while one former champion pulled off an historic comeback.

Rank outsider Williams caused a seismic shock by ousting Van Gerwen, punishing 27 missed darts at doubles from the three-time champion to blow the tournament wide open.

The exuberant Englishman punished a lacklustre start from Van Gerwen to win the opening set in three straight legs, only for Van Gerwen to level with the aid of back-to-back 11-darters.

Van Gerwen edged back ahead in a scrappy conclusion to set three, but this only provided a temporary reprieve, as Williams reeled off the next six legs without reply to regain the initiative.

The Dutchman arrested his slump in set six to square up the contest, but Williams refused to relent, winning six of the next eight legs to complete a sensational scalp.

“Words can’t describe it,” admitted Williams, who averaged 96 and fired in 12 maximums to celebrate the biggest win of his career.

“Michael is the best player of our generation, so to have beaten him on this stage is just crazy.

“That wasn’t the Michael van Gerwen we’ve seen over the last three games. I could tell that he was just that little bit off tonight.

“As soon as the crowd got involved, that’s when I started playing my darts later on in the game, and I’m so happy to be through to tomorrow. I’m going to enjoy it regardless.”

Williams’ reward is a Semi-Final showdown against world number three Humphries, who powered in a 103.5 average to thrash Dave Chisnall 5-1.

Humphries had fought back from the brink to defeat both Ricardo Pietreczko and Joe Cullen in reaching the Last Eight, but he brushed aside Chisnall to preserve his hopes of lifting the Sid Waddell Trophy.

The pair traded the opening two sets, but Humphries soon established control, landing 12 maximums and three ton-plus finishes – including set-winning 121 and 117 checkouts – to cap off a merciless display.

“I’ve been a three-time quarter-finalist, so I really wanted to make the next step tonight,” admitted Humphries, who would become the new world number one with victory over Williams.

“It was important for my confidence to put in a big performance tonight, and playing like that gives me the belief that I can go all the way now.

“The draw has been blown wide open, and it’s a massive opportunity for all four of us now. It’s exciting!

“If I can play like I did tonight, then I stand a great chance of becoming World Champion.”

Earlier in the day, 16-year-old sensation Littler continued his ground-breaking run with a 5-1 demolition of Brendan Dolan, registering his third ton-plus average of the tournament in the process.

The World Youth Champion recovered from 2-0 down in the opening set to draw first blood, before registering legs of 11, 12 and 14 darts to double his lead with a second set average of 121.

Littler continued the procession to stretch his lead to 4-0, and though Dolan landed a 118 checkout to open his account, Littler responded with a stunning 140 checkout on his way to a clean sweep in set six.

“It’s unbelievable. I never thought I would have made the semi-finals on debut,” admitted Littler, who averaged 102 and landed a trio of ton-plus finishes.

“Brendan played really well to beat Gezzy and Gary, but he was just another opponent in my way, and I managed to brush him aside!

“Now I really am dreaming. I’m two games away now, so I’m definitely thinking about lifting that title.

“I think it’s going to take something special to stop me based on my performances so far, but it depends what Rob Cross and Luke Littler turns up tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, Cross produced an astonishing comeback from 4-0 down to deny Chris Dobey and become the first player in World Championship history to overturn a four-set deficit and prevail.

The 2018 World Champion found himself staring down the barrel following a blistering start from Dobey, who produced a sensational 161 checkout midway through set four.

Cross won six of the next eight legs to begin the comeback, and after surviving a match dart in a thrilling conclusion to set seven, he levelled the tie before kicking off the decisive set with 117 and 130 checkouts.

A dramatic finale saw the deciding set go to a tie-break, and after Dobey missed 71 to level in the eighth leg, Cross took out 70 to keep his hopes of lifting a second World Championship title alive.

“I really can’t put it into words,” admitted Cross, who averaged 100.7 and defied 17 maximums from Dobey to go through.

“Realistically, at 4-0 down I thought it was over, which is unusual for me. Chris settled much better than me in the early stages; he’s an unbelievable player.

“I’m never beaten, whoever I play in the world. I never go away. As I got closer to Chris I thought ‘this is on’ because I knew my best was still to come in the match.

“I will have to improve and settle quicker to win the tournament, but I believe I can win it.”

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World Darts Championship 2023/24 Quarter-Final Results

Monday January 1

Afternoon Session
Chris Dobey 4-5 Rob Cross
Luke Littler 5-1 Brendan Dolan

Evening Session
Michael van Gerwen 3-5 Scott Williams
Luke Humphries 5-1 Dave Chisnall

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World Darts Championship 2023/24 | Quarter-Finals Preview and Order of Play

The new year begins with a bang as the Quarter-Finals of the World Darts Championship take centre stage at Alexandra Palace.

Ninety-six came, now just eight remain in the hunt for the Sid Waddell Trophy and £500,000 top prize in the capital.

The sport’s flagship event is set for a gripping climax over the next three days as the remaining hopefuls bid to put their name in the history books, with two former World Champions, two current major champions and a teenage sensation among the line-up.

The Quarter-Finals are split across two sessions on New Year’s Day, with the afternoon featuring the latest chapter of the history-making debut campaign of Luke Littler.

The 16-year-old has made global headlines by announcing himself as the sport’s brightest young talent on the biggest stage of all over the past fortnight.

The reigning World Youth champion has already made history by becoming the youngest player to win a match at the PDC World Championship and has backed that up with three more dominant displays, dropping just three sets en route to this stage.

Littler thrashed 2012 Lakeside Champion Christian Kist in straight sets with a 106.12 average – the highest of any debutant in the World Championship, before dumping out UK Open champion Andrew Gilding and Canadian number one Matt Campbell with averages of 92 and 97 respectively.

He then dismantled his darting idol Raymond van Barneveld 4-1 in the Last 16 with 105 average, nine 180s and 50 per cent on the doubles.

The fearless youngster’s next test comes against another vastly experienced arrowsmith in Brendan Dolan – an ever-present in the World Championship for the 15 years.

Dolan has enjoyed a terrific run to only his second Quarter-Final at Ally Pally, knocking out two former World Champions and coming through two thrilling last-set deciders.

The Northern Irishman, who also defeated Michael van Gerwen in July’s World Matchplay, pulled off another huge upset as he dumped out 2021 World Champion Gerwyn Price with a memorable 4-2 success, having come through a classic contest to deny compatriot Mickey Mansell in a sudden death leg.

The 50-year-old then ousted two-time World Champion Gary Anderson in a seven-set decider on December 30th and will be out to utilise his vast experience to bring Littler’s landmark run to an end.

The opening tie of the afternoon sees Chris Dobey take on Rob Cross in a repeat of the 2023 Masters final.

Dobey prevailed 11-7 on that occasion to claim his first televised title last January – a triumph which earned him a debut appearance in the Premier League, while Cross missed out.

Dobey is appearing in his second successive World Championship Quarter-Final as he bids to atone for last year’s crushing 5-0 defeat at the hands of Michael van Gerwen.

The Bedlington ace averaged 103 in a thrilling five-set win over William O’Connor in Round Two with ten 180s along the way, and that match was emulated by a scintillating tie against Ross Smith which saw the pair exchange 27 maximums as Dobey prevailed 4-2 with another ton-topping average.

Dobey then dethroned reigning champion Michael Smith thanks to a ruthless 4-0 whitewash and is the only player to have averaged above 100 in each of his matches en route to this year’s Quarter-Finals.

Cross finds himself in the Quarter-Finals here for the first time since he famously lifted the trophy on his debut in 2018, having dropped just two sets along the way.

Twice a World Series event winner and a European Tour winner this season, ‘Voltage’ started his run here with a 3-0 rout of France’s Thibault Tricole, before overcoming Sweden’s Jeffrey de Graaf 4-2 and whitewashing a struggling Jonny Clayton 4-0 to take his tournament average of 97.7.

The evening session begins with a showdown between three-time World Champion Michael van Gerwen and world number 52 Scott Williams.

Van Gerwen has romped into his tenth Quarter-Final at Ally Pally since 2013 without dropping a set and is bidding to reach the final for the fifth time in his last eight attempts.

The Dutch superstar claimed glory here in 2014, 2017 and 2019, joining only Phil Taylor in landing three or more PDC world titles in the 30-year history of the competition.

He was denied glory last year by nine-darter Michael Smith in an historic final but has returned in rampant fashion, brushing aside Irish youngster Keane Barry 3-0 before thrashing Dutch compatriot Richard Veenstra 4-0 with a 101.4 average and sweeping aside in-form Stephen Bunting 4-0 with a 99.8 average.

Williams, meanwhile, is enjoying his best run in a televised tournament to date, defying the odds to knock out three seeded players and climb a minimum of 17 places to 35th in the provisional Order of Merit.

The former Players Championship event winner, who was beaten by Cross in Round Two on his debut here last year, has displayed trademark flamboyance to wow the crowd and is now poised for the biggest match of his life.

After defeating PDC Asian champion Haruki Muramatsu 3-1 in Round One, Williams dumped out seventh Danny Noppert in straight sets.

The former ProTour event winner came agonisingly close to a nine-darter in the last set against Noppert, wiring double 18 for perfection, and went on to knock out 26th seed Martin Schindler in a last-set thriller and tenth seed Damon Heta 4-1 to continue his dream run.

A fitting finale to the day’s action sees three-time major winner Luke Humphries take on multiple major finalist Dave Chisnall.

The pair have contested a number of epic encounters this season, including three European Tour finals, each won by Chisnall.

Humphries has had to survive two huge scares to keep his hopes of a maiden world title alive, notably coming through a sudden death classic to edge out Joe Cullen in the final match of 2023, surviving multiple match darts in the process.

Having swept aside Lee Evans in his opener, Humphries was also forced to recover from 3-1 down to deny Germany’s Ricardo Pietreczko in a last-set decider as he defied a partisan German contingent in the crowd.

Humphries came in to the tournament as favourite on the back of a remarkable spell of dominance, having claimed the World Grand Prix, Grand Slam and Players Championship Finals titles in a period of less than two months and now finds himself into a fourth World Championship Quarter-Final.

Chisnall is also through to the Quarter-Finals at Ally Pally for the fourth time, with his best run to date coming behind closed doors in 2021, sensationally whitewashing Van Gerwen 5-0 with a 107 average before losing out to Gary Anderson in the Semi-Finals.

Chizzy has put an otherwise below-par season in TV majors behind him, defeating Cameron Menzies, Gabriel Clemens and Daryl Gurney with increased averages in each round.

The multiple major finalist has had the measure of Humphries on the Euro Tour this season but will be determined to maintain that record in their most high-profile meeting to date.

The action gets under way from 12.30pm GMT, with Quarter-Final matches to be contested over the best nine sets.

Matches must be won by two clear legs, unless the score reaches 5-5 in the deciding set, in which case a sudden-death leg will be played.

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World Darts Championship 2023/24 Quarter-Finals Schedule

Monday January 1

Afternoon Session (12.30pm-4pm)
Chris Dobey v Rob Cross
Luke Littler v Brendan Dolan

Evening Session (7pm-10pm)
Michael van Gerwen v Scott Williams
Luke Humphries v Dave Chisnall

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Luke Littler blitzes Raymond van Barneveld to reach World Championship Quarter-Finals

Teenage sensation Luke Littler produced another sensational display to thrash his darting idol Raymond van Barneveld 4-1 and reach the Quarter-Finals of the World Championship.

The final day of darting action in 2023 saw the Last 16 draw to a close at  Alexandra Palace, on a night which saw 16-year-old Littler create another slice of history.

The World Youth Champion has made global headlines with his debut exploits over the past fortnight, and he continued his ground-breaking run with a ruthless rout of Dutch legend Van Barneveld.

Littler, who was born 20 days after Van Barneveld’s epic 2007 World Championship triumph, delivered a darting masterclass to demolish the man 40 years his senior – averaging 105 to book his place in the Last Eight.

The Warrington youngster showed no signs of nerves in an electric start to the contest, wrapping up the opening set with an 11-darter.

Littler continued his blistering start to double his lead with a 12-darter, but Van Barneveld displayed some defiance with consecutive 127 and 80 finishes to threaten a comeback.

The Dutchman paid the price for missing two set darts at double 16 as Littler won the third stanza to move to the cusp of a historic win, but Van Barneveld did avoid the whitewash with a 14-dart hold in a fourth set decider.

Nevertheless, the teenage sensation was undeterred, reeling off consecutive holds in 14, 11 and 13 darts in a remarkable fifth set to continue his fairy-tale run.

“To beat one of my idols on the biggest stage of them all – it’s incredible. I still can’t believe it now,” admitted Littler.

“Raymond said to me at the end: ‘I hope you go all the way and after the performance you’ve just put in, you can go all the way.’

“It’s an incredible feeling. My cover shooting was unbelievable, my doubles got me over the line, and I think I am daring to dream now.”

That was followed by the game of the tournament so far as Luke Humphries edged out Joe Cullen in an absorbing sudden-death leg to keep his World Championship dreams alive.

Humphries fought back from 3-1 down to deny Ricardo Pietreczko in Round Three, and he was forced to survive two match darts as he recovered from 2-0 and 3-2 behind to inflict more Ally Pally heartbreak on Cullen.

The pair landed 12 maximums apiece in a contest littered with quality, but after averaging 112 in set six to force a decider, Humphries won through to the last eight in the most dramatic fashion possible.

Having converted skin-saving 100 and 86 finishes to stay in contention, Humphries then squandered eight match darts in an extraordinary penultimate leg, before Cullen eventually forced a last-leg shoot-out.

Cullen had the advantage of throw in the decider, yet Humphries refused to be beaten, kicking off the leg with five perfect darts and crashing in a nerveless 100 checkout to triumph inside 12 darts.

“I don’t have any words for that,” said Humphries, who is eyeing his fourth major title in the space of five events.

“I think that’s one of the best games I’ve ever been involved in. I feel so sorry for Joe because he was fantastic.

“Sometimes in sport there doesn’t deserve to be a loser and I don’t think Joe deserved to lose that game, but I never give up and I found a way to win.”

Earlier in the night, Brendan Dolan ended Gary Anderson’s hopes of a third World Championship crown, winning through a rollercoaster seven-set contest to continue his giant-killing campaign.

Having dumped out 2021 champion Gerwyn Price in Round Three, Dolan picked up from where he left off, punishing a nightmare start from Anderson to race into a two-set lead.

However, Anderson came off the canvas to turn the contest on its head, surviving a set dart in set three, before levelling up proceedings with a superb 11-darter to round off set four.

Anderson continued his revival with back-to-back 14-darters to move 3-2 ahead, but after averaging 108 in set six, Dolan capitalised on missed opportunities from the Scot in the closing stages to win a thriller.

“I’m over the moon. I hold Gary in such high esteem,” said Dolan.

“When I walk into the place and I know I’m playing Gary, even for the bull-up I felt so anxious. There’s not many people I have to play that do that to me!

“To beat Gezzy and Gary – two of the best players this year – is a massive achievement, but there’s still so much more to be done.”

Earlier in the day, Rob Cross moved through to the Quarter-Finals for the first time since he lifted the title in 2018, averaging almost 99 to seal a straight-sets victory over a struggling Jonny Clayton.

Cross kicked off proceedings with a trademark 140 checkout – the same finish he landed to win the Sid Waddell Trophy – and that set the tone for a dominant display, as he progressed to a New Year’s Day clash with Chris Dobey.

In Saturday’s opener, Scott Williams lived up to his showman reputation as he dumped out tenth seed Damon Heta to set up a showdown with three-time champion Michael van Gerwen.

Williams started strongly, claiming the opening set before raising the roof midway through set two with a magical 170 checkout, while adding 108 and 110 checkouts to his highlights reel in the latter stages.

Meanwhile, Dave Chisnall won through a gruelling six-set affair against Daryl Gurney to progress to the Quarter-Finals for the fourth time.

Chisnall fought his way into a two-set lead before Gurney responded with stunning 130 and 151 finishes to level, but the 2021 semi-finalist hit back by winning six of the next seven legs to triumph.

World Darts Championship 2023/24 Day 13 Results

Saturday December 30

Last 16

Afternoon Session
Scott Williams 4-1 Damon Heta
Daryl Gurney 2-4 Dave Chisnall
Rob Cross 4-0 Jonny Clayton

Evening Session
Brendan Dolan 4-3 Gary Anderson
Raymond van Barneveld 1-4 Luke Littler
Luke Humphries 4-3 Joe Cullen

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Raymond van Barneveld v Luke Littler live stream | World Darts Championship 2023/24 preview

Raymond van Barneveld and Luke Littler face off in a clash of the generations for a place in the Quarter-Finals of the World Darts Championship on Saturday.

The five-time World Champion meets the teenage sensation who has made global headlines by announcing himself on the sport’s biggest stage over the past fortnight.

With a staggering 40-year age gap between the pair, this contest promises to be one for the history books, with Barney bidding to restore his former glories and Littler looking to extend his dream debut run.

Van Barneveld defeated rival Phil Taylor in the iconic 2007 World Championship final 20 days before Littler was born, and the 16-year-old has idolised the Dutchman since he first picked up a dart aged 18 months.

World Youth champion in November, Littler has already made history by becoming the youngest player to win a match at the PDC World Championship and has backed that up with two dominant displays, dropping just two sets en route to the Last 16.

The Runcorn prodigy thrashed 2012 Lakeside Champion Christian Kist in straight sets with a 106.12 average – the highest of any debutant in the World Championship, before dumping out UK Open champion Andrew Gilding and Canadian number one Matt Campbell with averages of 92 and 97 respectively.

He is already guaranteed £35,000 in prize money but now faces a formidable test against an icon of the sport – who has rolled back the years to reach the Last 16 at Ally Pally for the first time since the 2017/18 event.

Crowd favourite Van Barneveld began his 17th PDC World Championship campaign with a 3-1 win over Poland’s Radek Szagański, averaging 99.8, before brushing aside Jim Williams 4-1 with a modest average of 89 on Friday.

Barney, 56, will be looking to draw upon his vast experience as he pursues a tenth PDC World Championship Quarter-Final appearance and only a second major televised ranking Quarter-Final since he reversed his retirement decision in 2021.

Van Barneveld said ahead of the contest: “I cannot wait to play Luke.

“When I was 16, I was playing with Lego and Playmobil! This kid is amazing. He is quality, and I am so looking forward to that game.

“We had the queen of the palace, now it’s the prince of the palace so I’m hoping to stop your prince, and if not, I will still have an amazing time.”

The match gets under way from around 8.45pm GMT and will be contested over the best of seven sets, with either Gary Anderson or Brendan Dolan awaiting the winner in the Quarter-Finals on New Year’s Day.

How to watch Van Barneveld v Littler live stream

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World Darts Championship 2023/24 | Day 13 Preview and Order of Play

The Fourth Round of the 2023/24 World Championship reaches its climax at Alexandra Palace on Saturday with six scintillating ties on the cards.

The final darting day of the year sees a host of star names battling it out for the right to join Michael van Gerwen and Chris Dobey in the Quarter-Finals on New Year’s Day.

Van Gerwen and Dobey blitzed their way into 2024 with whitewash wins over Stephen Bunting and defending champion Michael Smith on Friday night and a clutch of other top seeds will be out to join them.

Undoubtedly the stand-out tie of the day features a clash of the generations as five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld faces teenage sensation Luke Littler.

With a staggering 40-year age gap between the pair, this contest promises to be one for the history books, with Barney bidding to restore his former glories and Littler looking to extend his dream debut run.

Van Barneveld defeated Phil Taylor in the iconic 2007 world final 20 days before Littler was born, and the 16-year-old has idolised the Dutchman growing up.

Last month’s World Youth champion has already made history by becoming the youngest player to win a match at the PDC World Championship and has backed that up with two dominant displays, dropping just two sets en route to this stage.

The Runcorn prodigy thrashed 2012 Lakeside Champion Christian Kist in straight sets with a 106.12 average – the highest of any debutant in the World Championship, before dumping out UK Open champion Andrew Gilding and Canadian number one Matt Campbell with averages of 92 and 97 respectively.

He is already guaranteed £35,000 in prize money but now faces a formidable test against an icon of the sport – who has rolled back the years to reach the Last 16 at Ally Pally for the first time since the 2017/18 event.

Crowd favourite Van Barneveld began his 17th PDC World Championship campaign with a 3-1 win over Poland’s Radek Szagański, averaging 99.8, before brushing aside Jim Williams 4-1 with a modest average of 89 on Friday.

Elsewhere in the evening session, three-time major champion Luke Humphries steps up his pursuit of a maiden world title with a showdown against Joe Cullen.

Humphries came in to the tournament on the back of a remarkable spell of dominance, having claimed the World Grand Prix, Grand Slam and Players Championship Finals titles in a period of less than two months.

The world number three is vying to reach his fourth World Championship Quarter-Final in just seven attempts but was given a huge scare in his last outing.

Having swept aside Lee Evans in his opener, Humphries was forced to recover from 3-1 down to deny Germany’s Ricardo Pietreczko in a last-set decider two days ago, averaging 91.4 as he defied a partisan German contingent in the crowd.

Cullen, meanwhile, is into the Last 16 for the third time in four years but has never been beyond this stage of the sport’s showpiece event.

The former Masters champion and Premier League finalist picked up three ranking titles last year but has not registered a tournament win this season, with his best performances coming in the World Matchplay and World Grand Prix – where he reached the Semi-Finals.

Cullen swept past Australia’s Darren Penhall in straight sets, before seeing off 19th seed Ryan Searle 4-2 in a high quality encounter earlier in the week.

The evening’s action commences with a clash between two-time World Champion Gary Anderson and giant-killer Brendan Dolan.

Anderson had to wait 13 days for his return to the palace after thrashing 2010 finalist Simon Whitlock 3-0, but he duly dispatched Croatia’s Boris Krcmar 4-1 from a set behind, averaging 99.3 in the process.

Back-to-back champion in 2015 and 2016, the 52-year-old boasts a terrific record on the sport’s biggest stage, reaching five finals since 2011, as well as a further two Semi-Finals.

The Flying Scotsman is one of only three players to have successfully retained the PDC world title and has enjoyed a remarkable resurgence this year, scooping a hat-trick of Players Championship titles and finishing runner-up alongside Peter Wright for Scotland in the World Cup of Darts.

Dolan has been an ever-present in the World Championship for 15 years and is looking to reach the Quarter-Finals for only the second time.

The veteran Northern Irishman, who knocked Michael van Gerwen out of July’s World Matchplay, pulled off another huge upset as he dumped out 2021 World Champion Gerwyn Price with a memorable 4-2 success earlier this week.

Prior to that, ‘The History Maker’ had come through a classic contest to deny compatriot Mickey Mansell in a sudden death leg and will be full of confidence coming into his latest date with destiny.

The afternoon session features a battle between 2018 World Champion Rob Cross and World Cup of Darts winner Jonny Clayton.

Cross culminated his first season as a PDC professional by defeating the departing Phil Taylor in the final to claim the world title and has since gone on to add another six televised tournament wins – including the 2019 World Matchplay.

Twice a World Series event winner and a European Tour winner this season, ‘Voltage’ has fallen at the Last 16 hurdle in three of his five subsequent visits to Ally Pally, and has started his run here with wins over Thibault Tricole and Jeffrey de Graaf – averaging 101 in the latter contest.

Clayton claimed World Cup of Darts and Austrian Open glory for the second time this year and was runner-up in the World Matchplay, while also reaching the Premier League play-offs for the third season in a row.

The Welshman is bidding to make it back-to-back Quarter-Finals at Ally Pally following a 3-1 win over Steve Lennon and a 4-2 success over Krzysztof Ratajski despite a tournament average of 90.2.

Multiple major finalist Dave Chisnall comes up against two-time major winner Daryl Gurney in another mouth-watering showdown.

Chisnall is aiming to reach the Quarter-Finals at Ally Pally for the fourth time, with his best run to date coming behind closed doors in 2021, sensationally whitewashing Michael van Gerwen 5-0 with a 107 average before losing out to Gary Anderson in the Semi-Finals.

Chizzy has claimed three European Tour titles this season in addition to two Players Championship triumphs and has seen off Cameron Menzies and Gabriel Clemens for the loss of just two sets so far.

Gurney, quarter-finalist here in 2017 and 2021, was one of only six players to register a ton-plus average in the opening two rounds as he denied 1996 Lakeside Champion Steve Beaton 3-1 with an average of 100.8, before battling past Ricky Evans 4-2 earlier this week.

The resurgent Northern Irishman boasts a solid tournament average of 96 with 15 maximums and a high checkout of 164 to his name.

The opening match of the afternoon sees Australian number one Damon Heta face the flamboyant Scott Williams.

Heta headed to the capital as the number 11 seed after reaching a trio of major ranking Quarter-Finals this season, as well as four European Tour Semi-Finals and scooping two Players Championship titles.

The former Brisbane Masters champion is appearing in his fifth consecutive World Championship and is through to the Last 16 for the first time, having defeated Martin Lukeman 3-1 and Berry van Peer 4-3.

Williams has eclipsed last year’s debut run to Round Two by seeing off PDC Asian champion Haruki Muramatsu 3-1 and seventh Danny Noppert in straight sets.

The former ProTour event winner came agonisingly close to a nine-darter in the last set against Noppert, wiring double 18 for perfection, and went on to knock out 26th seed Martin Schindler in a last-set thriller to extend his ground-breaking run.

The action gets under way from 12.30pm GMT, with Last 16 matches to be contested over the best seven sets.

Matches must be won by two clear legs, unless the score reaches 5-5 in the deciding set, in which case a sudden-death leg will be played.

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World Darts Championship 2023/24 Day 13 Schedule

Saturday December 30

Last 16

Afternoon Session (12.30pm-5pm)
Scott Williams v Damon Heta
Daryl Gurney v Dave Chisnall
Rob Cross v Jonny Clayton

Evening Session (7.30pm-11pm)
Brendan Dolan v Gary Anderson
Raymond van Barneveld v Luke Littler
Luke Humphries v Joe Cullen

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Chris Dobey dethrones Michael Smith at the World Darts Championship as Van Gerwen batters Bunting

Chris Dobey ended Michael Smith’s reign as World Champion with an emphatic whitewash win in the Last 16, as Michael van Gerwen thrashed Stephen Bunting.

Day 12 at Alexandra Palace featured a quartet of PDC World Champions in action, as Smith’s hopes of defending the Sid Waddell Trophy were dashed by a dazzling Dobey.

The Masters champion posted a third consecutive ton-plus average to continue his own pursuit of world title glory, defying a 102 average from Smith to book his place in the Quarter-Finals on New Year’s Day.

Dobey signalled his intent with a stunning 130 checkout to kick off proceedings, and after wrapping up set one, he doubled his lead after Smith missed a dart at tops to level the contest.

The Bedlington star then moved a set away from glory with clinical 100 and 87 combinations, before Smith struck back with a magnificent 140 finish to begin set four.

However, Dobey was unfazed, following up a 14-dart break with back-to-back 12-darters to cap off another imperious display – which also ends Smith’s 12-month reign as world number one on the Order of Merit.

“I didn’t even feel comfortable up there tonight,” insisted Dobey, despite averaging 102 and producing a trio of ton-plus checkouts.

“Michael is a great lad. I’ve got all the time in the world for him, but there could only be one winner and I’m pleased it was my night.

“I don’t think anybody underestimates me; they know what I can do. I’ve been pretty consistent in this competition, and I’m going all out. I want to be the champion.”

Three-time World Champion Van Gerwen also breezing through to the Last Eight with a whitewash win, brushing aside Bunting 4-0.

Bunting had produced a brace of ton-topping averages to reach the Last 16, but was blown away by a merciless Van Gerwen – who has progressed to the Quarter-Finals without conceding a set.

The opening nine legs of the contest went with throw, but Van Gerwen struck the first decisive blow with a 14-dart break of throw to establish a two-set lead.

Bunting, who landed a superb 138 checkout in set one, attempted to hit back with a 125 outshot midway through set three, although Van Gerwen refused to relent, sealing his progress with ease.

“I’m happy with my performance,” declared the Dutchman, who averaged 99 and fired in nine 180s.

“We all know Stephen Bunting was playing phenomenal darts, so I wanted to bring my A-game. I wasn’t at my best, but I think in patches I did the right things at the right moments.

“I can do a lot better, but there’s still a long way to go. The fighting spirit is there, and I’m feeling good, I’m feeling comfortable.”

Earlier in the day, Gary Anderson recovered from a sluggish start to power through to the Last 16, averaging 99 on his way to a comprehensive 4-1 victory over Boris Krcmar.

The Croatian number one conjured up a majestic 161 checkout to win the opening set against throw, but Anderson soon found his range, restoring parity before landing 11 and 12-darters to move 2-1 ahead.

Anderson averaged 112 in a high-quality third set, and he continued his charge in the latter stages, crashing in nine maximums to create a last 16 tussle against fellow veteran Brendan Dolan.

“When Boris won the first set I thought it was going to be a struggle,” admitted Anderson, who is bidding to become the first Scot to claim a hat-trick of World Championship titles.

“When I walked out – I have never had a reception like that before. They come from all over the planet to watch this game, and we have to thank them.

“Brendan is a dark horse, a class act. People write him off, and you never should write Brendan Dolan off. It’s going to be tough!”

Raymond van Barneveld will take on teenage sensation Luke Littler in a mouth-watering clash on Saturday after punishing a wasteful display of finishing from Jim Williams to close out a dominant 4-1 win.

Williams squandered five darts at doubles to win a scrappy opening set, and Van Barneveld capitalised to open his account, only for the Welshman to snatch a second set decider to level proceedings at one set apiece.

The Dutch legend responded by reeling off eight consecutive legs to move to the brink of victory, before defying a late wobble to progress to the fourth round for the first time since the 2017/2018 event.

“I never played my A-game, but I am so happy to be through,” said Van Barneveld, who will now take on an opponent 40 years his junior in a battle of the generations.

“I know what Jim is capable of. He beat James Wade last year, Peter Wright this year, so I was warned, but he missed some crucial doubles today.”

Van Barneveld’s victory in the PDC World Championship came in January 2007 – 20 days before Littler was born – and the Dutchman added: “I cannot wait to play Luke tomorrow night.

“When I was 16, I was playing with Lego and Playmobil! This kid is amazing. He is quality, and I am so looking forward to that game.”

In Friday’s opener, Damon Heta won through a rollercoaster seven-set clash against Berry van Peer, in a contest featuring 24 maximums.

Van Peer – buoyed by a 142 checkout in the early exchanges – raced into a two-set lead before Heta hit back, winning nine of the next 12 legs to move to the cusp of a fine comeback victory.

The Dutchman halted Heta’s charge with a clutch 108 checkout followed by an 11-darter to set up a deciding set, only for the Australian number one to follow up a 114 kill with a spectacular 151 match-winning outshot.

Meanwhile, Jonny Clayton came through a hard-fought encounter against Krzysztof Ratajski to set up an enticing Last 16 tussle against 2018 champion Rob Cross.

Clayton started strongly to establish a two-set cushion, before punishing missed doubles from Ratajski at crucial junctures to prevail with a 91 average and five maximums to his name.

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World Darts Championship 2023/24 Day 12 Results

Friday December 29

Afternoon Session
Damon Heta 4-3 Berry van Peer (R3)
Jonny Clayton 4-2 Krzysztof Ratajski (R3)
Jim Williams 1-4 Raymond van Barneveld (R3)

Evening Session
Gary Anderson 4-1 Boris Krcmar (R3)
Michael van Gerwen 4-0 Stephen Bunting (R4)
Michael Smith 0-4 Chris Dobey (R4)

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