2021 PDC World Darts Championship schedule: Friday afternoon session including Anderson versus Van Duijvenbode
By the end of this weekend, the 2021 world champion will have been crowned at the Alexandra Palace, getting their year off to the perfect start. Former champions Anderson and Michael van Gerwen are in the field still, but only one of them can reach the final (at most); six players are after a maiden PDC World Darts Championship final appearance.
Incredibly, four of the eight fourth round ties went all the way to a sudden death leg. The drama in all of them was utterly ridiculous, but perhaps none more so than Krzysztof Ratajski's seesaw victory over Gabriel Clemens. It's impossible to imagine how Ratajski must have felt, believing his dream had died, only to be handed the most unlikely of lifelines. Now the Polish Eagle has had the New Year's mini-break to reset, and focus on reaching the semi-finals.
It was six years ago that Stephen Bunting appeared in his first PDC World Darts Championship quarter-final. The Bullet was the reigning BDO world champion, and had demolished James Wade and Michael Smith, but was pipped by Raymond van Barneveld. You may recall it was the year Gary Anderson was fuming with the slow play of first round opponent Scott Kirchner - that, and Bunting beating Wade, shows that some things don't change.
How do you separate the two? Bunting, like Ratajski, needed a last-leg decider to win in the fourth round. The two have shown bursts of class and a few cases of double trouble. The first PDC match of 2021 looks set to be a cracker.
Gary Anderson will have his sights set on a rival he's desperate to not just beat, but humiliate. There's no love lost here. He'll be out for blood. Anyway, enough about Wayne Mardle. He's also playing a darts match against Dirk van Duijvenbode.
For all his strangely fervent off-oche outbursts, Anderson's not yet been involved in a serious battle on it. Yes, Mensur Suljovic took him to a final set, but in all three matches he's played, the Flying Scotsman has relied on his B-game and opponents opening the door for him. Devon Petersen's finishing was not just the key to Anderson's spot in the quarter-finals, but the padlock for the ruthless Scot to bar the door behind him.
Then again, you can't help but feel like Anderson's best stuff will come out when he's really pushed. Dirk van Duijvenbode looks like the man to do just that. The big Dutchman has gone from 'that guy with the insane techno walk-on' to one of the most popular figures on the circuit. More thrillingly, the standard of his darts is following the same trajectory as his broad appeal.
It felt like Glen Durrant had his number in the fourth round. Unfortunately for Duzza, nobody told Van Duijvenbode that, and he came back with a barrage that the three-time world champion couldn't hold off. Those tungsten bombardments are becoming a bit of a trademark for the Aubergenius.
Anderson has been at this stage in a PDC World Darts Championship seven times. He's seen it all - unless Dirk brings back the aubergine for the walk-on. Van Duijvenbode's big stage experience is all more recent, though that might be a positive. The post-match interviews will be a must-watch either way.
2021 PDC World Darts Championship schedule
Friday January 1
Afternoon Session (12:00 GMT)
12:15 Krzysztof Ratajski v Stephen Bunting
13:45 Gary Anderson v Dirk Van Duijvenbode
Evening Session (18:00 GMT)
Gerwyn Price v Daryl Gurney
Michael van Gerwen v Dave Chisnall