It’s day eleven at the PDC World Darts Championship. The second day back from the Christmas break, sees six (hopefully!) more third round ties taking place.
Yesterday, the tournament was rocked by the news that Vincent van der Voort had withdrawn after testing positive for COVID-19, giving James Wade a bye into the next round.
Thankfully, what we saw on the stage meant this didn’t overshadow the day too much. Gerwyn Price and Kim Huybrechts served up an absolute classic, with the world number one booking his place in the last 16.
Coming up today, we have;
- Three PDC World Champions
- The 2021 Players Champions finals runner-up
- A former World Grand Prix champion
Here’s everything you need ahead of the action.
Three PDC world champions on stage in the evening session
In what must be the headline session of the tournament so far, Tuesday evening sees Michael van Gerwen, Peter Wright and Rob Cross all in third round action.
Opening up the play, Rob Cross takes on last year’s quarter finalist Daryl Gurney. Superchin could, and maybe should, have beaten eventual winner Gerwyn Price last year. That one went all the way to a deciding leg and it would be no surprise if this one was the same.
We’ve seen Voltage returning to close to his best over the last few months, adding a second European Championship to his trophy cabinet. He’ll start as favourite in this one, having come through Raymond van Barneveld in round two, 3-1.
Gurney meanwhile, was impressive as he beat stablemate Ricky Evans by the same scoreline. Cross leads the head to head with eleven wins to Gurney’s six, with one being drawn at the Premier League. Who will come out on top this time?
Next on the Alexandra Palace stage is 2020 PDC World Darts Championship winner, Peter Wright. He takes on Australia’s Damon Heta. Following Gerwyn Price’s victory last night, Wright now cannot end the tournament as World Number One, even if he goes on to lift the title.
Wright hasn’t been challenged yet so far, coming through round two comfortably 3-0 against Ryan Meikle. Snakebite only dropped 3 legs in that contest without needing anything like his A-game.
Heta on the other hand, took advantage of his opponents troubles on the outer ring in his second round tie. Had it been a better doubling day for Woodhouse, we may not be seeing Heta’s name in the third round. What can’t be argued though is the fact that Heta’s finishing was very impressive, as was the way he wrapped up the final set three legs to nil for a 3-1 victory.
As ever, the question that could have the biggest impact on the result; Which darts will Peter Wright use? We won’t know until he gets up on stage, but will he come out on top, or can Heta spring the surprise?
Rounding off the evening session is three-time champion, Michael van Gerwen. He takes on Chris Dobey.
van Gerwen was pushed early on in his second round tie with Chas Barstow. However, despite some double trouble, he ran out a 3-1 victor.
Dobey set up this contest by fighting back from two sets down against debutant Rusty-Jake Rodriguez. Hollywood had missed chances to take the first two sets and was punished by the young Austrian. From there though, he picked his scoring up and took the next three sets, winning all of them 3-1.
He knows he will have to improve against van Gerwen, but he’s also very capable of doing so. Will he find the 180s to propel him to victory, or will the three-time champion have overpower him?
Eye-catching game between Cullen and Kleermaker headlines the afternoon
The final game of the afternoon session should be played at a lovely pace. Both players like to get on with it and it should make for a great watch.
It sees Joe Cullen take on Martijn Kleermaker for a place in the last 16. Cullen won his second round tie over Jim Williams 3-2 and had to be near his best to do so.
Kleermaker, an unseeded player has had two games so far, winning both of them 3-1 without having to show too much. Firstly he beat John Michael of Greece in round one, before knocking out 20th seed Simon Whitlock in round two.
The head-to-head record is split 2-2. Who will come out on top this time?
Elsewhere in the afternoon session, we see another unseeded player in Steve Lennon, taking on 21st seed Mervyn King.
King overcame a scare as he came back from 2-0 down to defeat Ryan Joyce 3-2, picking up his level as Joyce’s form dipped. Whereas Lennon has so far been very impressive in beating two quality operators 3-1. Firstly Madars Razma in the opening round, before sending Krzysztof Ratajski home.
A tie with qualifier Raymond Smith awaits so both will be sensing a real opportunity to make the quarter finals. Will it be Scuba Steve sending another seed home, or will the King reign supreme?
The other game in the afternoon to mention is the tie that Ryan Searle asked for, as he takes on Danny Noppert.
The fifteenth and eighteenth seeds go head to head, having both cruised through their second round encounters. Searle barely got out of first gear as Willie Borland failed to back up his incredible 9-dart performance of round one, winning that one 3-0. While Noppert defeated Jason Heaver 3-1.
Will Searle’s wish come back to haunt him or will he defeat Noppert to book a tie with either Peter Wright or Damon Heta?
Full schedule on day eleven at the PDC World Darts Championship
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
Steve Lennon v Mervyn King
Ryan Searle v Danny Noppert
Joe Cullen v Martijn Kleermaker
Evening Session (1900 GMT)
Rob Cross v Daryl Gurney
Peter Wright v Damon Heta
Michael van Gerwen v Chris Dobey