We’ve got just one more session of PDC World Darts Championship fun before Christmas intervenes.
Before we get all Grinchy, we can treat ourselves to three more matches. There’s not enough time to complete the Last 32 before Christmas. However, after these three ties are wrapped up, we’ll know six of the eight match-ups in the World Darts Championship Last 16.
Chizzy seeks Palace crown
Dave Chisnall and Vincent van der Voort were expected to do battle amid a flurry of huge scores. That didn’t really happen. In the end, the Dutchman was hugely wasteful and Chizzy took his chances. The 10th seed won’t care how scrappy it was, however. To go through 3-1 against a dangerous opponent, when others have struggled, will have helped him settle into his World Darts Championship bid. Having never got past the quarter-finals, the 2019 Grand Prix runner-up will want to break new ground.
Jeffrey de Zwaan is already on a record run at the Alexandra Palace. Thanks to being a seed for the first time, he only needed one win to get here. That win was a hair’s breadth from being a defeat instead. The Black Cobra stuttered against Darin Young, and almost went the way of his former mentor, Raymond van Barneveld. This time, Young missed his match darts, and de Zwaan survived. The Dutch ace scores well, meaning a high-quality match should be in the offing. But that won’t happen unless both sharpen up.
Searle plans to topple hero
Ryan Searle is starting to become a bit of a World Darts Championship specialist. He took Mensur Suljovic and William O’Connor to the cleaners last year. This time, Heavy Metal has rocked the Palace with a fantastic 3-0 mauling of Steve West. His 101.54 average was the best of the tournament before Dimitri van den Bergh turned up. His exploits are even more impressive when you factor in his extreme short-sightedness. Next up, he takes on a man he admits is an idol of his.
Gary Anderson has inspired many a dart player in his time, of course. The two-time world champion hasn’t been at peak form recently (having been missing for a lot of the time), but showed some of the old class in a whitewash of Brendan Dolan. That had been a potential banana-skin, a description that Searle definitely fits. If Anderson gets his eye in quickly and starts firing in big scores with his trademark consistency, he’ll threaten the Searle throw. But there’s no writing off a man who’s getting a taste for beating the bigger names.
Wright set for another slog?
Peter Wright opened his 2020 World Darts Championship with a seriously nervy match against a star of the Asian Tour. He easily could’ve been dumped out emphatically yet again, but stretched every darting sinew to claw his way into the next round. Now, he faces… another Asian Tour star. Uh oh.
Seigo Asada knows a bit about rescuing a situation himself, as it happens. I don’t know how many players have lost the opening seven legs of a match at any darts major before going on to win, but the Ninja must have added his name to a very select group. That took a lot of nerve, as well as the ability to work out what was going wrong and address it in a short space of time. The World Darts Championship is unforgiving; Asada deserves credit for an inspiring act of self-rescue.
Japan’s number one will also be acutely aware that the sluggish start which handed Keegan Brown a clear advantage would most likely gift Wright the match. Christmas isn’t here yet, so he won’t want to give his opponent anything. Wright had some alarmingly inconsistent streaks in that tight win over Noel Malicdem; if he plays like that, he’s not going to be safe against anyone. It may be the slightly longer format that gives Snakebite some respite here.
Click here for more information on the PDC World Darts Championship, which takes place at the Alexandra Palace between December 13 and January 1.
Monday December 23
Evening Session (1900 GMT)
Dave Chisnall vs Jeffrey de Zwaan (19:10)
Gary Anderson vs Ryan Searle (20:20)
Peter Wright vs Seigo Asada (21:30)
Author: Ed McCosh