Diogo Portela and Josh Payne meet for a first round tie at the PDC World Championship.

In the latest of our World Championship first round previews, we’ll look at Braziliant’s chances of derailing the Payne train at the Ally Pally. Last time out, we checked in on James Wilson’s meeting with Nico Kurz. For all the ties in London, the full schedule can be found right here.

Facts and figures

Match time/date: 20:40, December 18

Head-to-head record: Payne 0-1 Portela

Previous meeting: Payne 3-6 Portela, Players Championship 1 (February 2019)

Best major performance this season: Quarter-Finals, UK Open (Payne); N/A (Portela)

Previous PDC World Championship appearances: Payne 2, Portela 2

Best PDC World Championship performance: Second round, 2019 (Payne); First round, 2018 & 2019 (Portela)

Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Photo: Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Preview

South America’s star man is back for another run at the World Championship. Diogo Portela, as a trailblazer for darts in his continent, has a lot of pressure on his shoulders. Not that he let it show at the regional qualifier, once again holding the field at arm’s length to claim his spot. In the last two years, he’s performed well at the Ally Pally; Peter Wright was pushed two years ago, and a 2-0 lead was squandered against Ron Meulenkamp. His 2019 season hasn’t been much to write home about, but Portela has appeared infrequently in Players Championship and European Tour events, all while representing the Challenge Tour. His bid to finally get a Tour Card could get a helping hand in London.

Josh Payne’s season highlight to date was a run to the quarter-finals of the UK Open. In an odd quirk, he got to the last eight by alternating between beating a Jamie (Bain, Lewis) and an Australian (Anderson, Whitlock). His rather ugly defeat to Adrian Lewis in the Players Championship Finals wasn’t as poetic. He’ll have a much less fractious encounter with the ever-popular Portela, of course. The Gravesend ace grabbed a first World Championship win last year against Jeff Smith, and somehow contrived to lose to Dave Chisnall when a shock seemed to be in the offing. An even more promising campaign will be the 26-year-old’s target.

Prediction

A lot of people (particularly those part of the growing South American darts scene) would be delighted to see Portela come out on top here. But Payne will have a second round meeting with Dimitri van den Bergh lined up, and has played to a consistently higher level than his opponent this year. It’ll be close though. Payne 3-2 Portela.

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Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Author: Ed McCosh