It’s Michael Smith’s turn to enter the lion’s den at the World Darts Championship.

Let’s not make a beeline for the fourth seed just yet. First in the fifth session of the 2020 World Darts Championship is a debut for Jose Antonio Justicia Perales. The Spaniard will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of compatriots Cristo Reyes and Toni Alcinas, both of whom have won impressively on this stage before. Arron Monk will have other ideas, however. Click here to check out the Monk-Perales preview.

Yes, it’s the X Factor on TV again! I’m buzzing!

And that’s the first time in about eight years that anyone has said that. Just kidding Mr Cowell, love you really. It’s Andy Boulton, another of the Stoke darting coterie. Boulton will have to be ready for a real test as Danny Baggish lands on London. The Floridian is North America’s champion, and can do everything Darin Young and Matt Campbell did yesterday. More, even. We’ve looked at that game here.

Lucas Peltier/PDC

Photo: Lucas Peltier/PDC

Bully Boy has eye on underdog

Mikuru Suzuki will get a cracking reception at the Alexandra Palace. Anastasia Dobromyslova denied her a PDC World Darts Championship debut last year, but after her Grand Slam jaunt, the Japanese superstar gets a go this time around. The Lakeside champion has the sort of game to trouble James Richardson – but any player not used to the rigours of the PDC isn’t guaranteed to adapt well. The preview for this one features a prediction even we’re not keen on.

Luke Woodhouse is making a late bid to be seen as a breakout star of 2019. Having made minimal impact to date, Woodhouse duly dumped Daryl Gurney out of the Players Championship Finals. Of course, Gurney was defending it at the time. At the World Darts Championship, he has turned up and made light work of the legend, Paul Lim.

Michael Smith will have to look at that comprehensive performance, and the struggles of his fellow seeds, and feel a bit of concern. Then again, it’s been seven years since the Bully Boy lost his opening match of a World Darts Championship campaign. Last year’s finalist will feel that he can go the distance again, even if he could face 2019 conqueror van Gerwen in the semi-finals. He’s got to deal with a bona fide giant-killer first of all.

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PDC World Darts Championship 2020 schedule

December 15, evening session

Arron Monk vs Jose Justicia (R1)
Andy Boulton vs Danny Baggish (R1)
James Richardson vs Mikuru Suzuki (R1)
Michael Smith vs  Luke Woodhouse (R2)

Chris Sargeant/Tip Top Pics

Photo: Chris Sargeant/Tip Top Pics

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Author: Ed McCosh