Darts World Championship Preview - The Gambling Times
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Darts World Championship Preview

The 2019/20 William Hill World Darts Championship begins on Friday at London’s Alexandra Palace, as Michael van Gerwen begins his title defence against Jelle Klaasen or Kevin Burness on the opening night.

Darts’ biggest event will see 96 players competing across 28 sessions of action from December 13-January 1 for The Sid Waddell Trophy and £2.5m in prize money.

The tournament will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK, on PDCTV-HD for Rest of the World Subscribers and through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7.

The festive feast of darts begins on Friday, with former World Championship semi-finalist Klaasen facing Northern Ireland’s Burness in the opening tie for the right to face Van Gerwen in the final game of Day One.

Van Gerwen tasted victory on the Alexandra Palace stage for a third time 12 months ago, but the world number one insists there is no extra pressure on him to claim back-to-back World Championship titles for the first time.

A winner of seven TV titles in 2019, Van Gerwen could pocket £1m in World Championship prize money in the space of 12 months if he clinches the £500,000 top prize for a second successive year and he is who is the 5/4 favourite to lift The Sid Waddell Trophy with title sponsor William Hill.

The first round will be played across the opening 11 sessions, featuring 32 qualifiers from the ProTour Order of Merit – based on prize money won across 43 non-televised events in 2019 – and 32 International Qualifiers.

Among the players in round one action is five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld, who will face American veteran Darin Young in the opening game of the Dutch legend’s farewell tournament before retirement.

Van Barneveld is one of two players to hit two nine-dart finishes at the World Championship, and if a player hits two perfect legs at this year’s event they will receive a £100,000 bonus.

Each session of first round action will also feature a second round clash, with the 32 seeded players waiting to face the first round winners.

Among the seeds and highly tipped to go far in just his sixth World Championship is world number three Gerwyn Price – who has never previously won past the last 16 at Alexandra Palace.

The Welshman’s best year in PDC darts, which included the retention of the Grand Slam of Darts title and two other televised finals, has led to him being touted as a potential winner of the World Championship on New Year’s Day.

One of the 22 debutants at this year’s event is Middlesbrough’s Glen Durrant, who is hoping to crown a ‘dream’ first year in the PDC with the biggest title of all.

Durrant, who won his PDC Tour Card in January after lifting his third Lakeside Championship, has reached the semi-finals of three televised events in his debut campaign and is now targeting the best possible end to the year.

The World Championship has changed the lives of many players, none more so than Nathan Aspinall, who is drawing on memories of last year’s incredible run to the semi-finals to spur him on to further success.

A 500/1 shot going into last year’s World Championship, Aspinall enjoyed a sensational Alexandra Palace debut and has since won the UK Open and US Darts Masters in his rise to 12th in the world.

The third round is split either side of the Christmas break, with the fourth round being played on December 27-28 ahead of the quarter-finals across two sessions on December 29.

The semi-finals on Monday December 30 will be followed by the final on Wednesday January 1 as sport’s first World Champion of 2020 is crowned after 16 days and 28 sessions of action.

2019/2020 William Hill World Darts Championship Schedule of Play

Friday December 13 (1900 GMT)
3x First Round, 1x Second Round

Jelle Klaasen v Kevin Burness (First Round)
Kim Huybrechts v Geert Nentjes (First Round)
Luke Humphries v Devon Petersen (First Round)
Michael van Gerwen v Klaasen/Burness (Second Round)

Saturday December 14
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
3x First Round, 1x Second Round

Darius Labanauskas v Matthew Edgar (First Round)
Ryan Meikle v Yuki Yamada (First Round)
Luke Woodhouse v Paul Lim (First Round)
Jermaine Wattimena v Humphries/Petersen (Second Round)

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
3x First Round, 1x Second Round

Mark McGeeney v Matt Campbell (First Round)
Jamie Hughes v Zoran Lerchbacher (First Round)
Raymond van Barneveld v Darin Young (First Round)
Rob Cross v Huybrechts/Nentjes (Second Round)

Sunday December 15
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
3x First Round, 1x Second Round

Kyle Anderson v Xiaochen Zong (First Round)
Ross Smith v Ciaran Teehan (First Round)
Brendan Dolan v Nitin Kumar (First Round)
Ian White v Labanauskas/Edgar (Second Round)

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
3x First Round, 1x Second Round

Arron Monk v Jose Justicia (First Round)
Andy Boulton v Danny Baggish (First Round)
James Richardson v Mikuru Suzuki (First Round)
Michael Smith v Woodhouse/Lim (Second Round)

Monday December 16 (1900 GMT)
3x First Round, 1x Second Round

Steve Lennon v Callan Rydz (First Round)
William O’Connor v Marko Kantele (First Round)
Vincent van der Voort v Keane Barry (First Round)
Gary Anderson v Dolan/Kumar (Second Round)

Tuesday December 17
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
3x First Round, 1x Second Round

Ryan Searle v Robbie King (First Round)
Cristo Reyes v Lourence Ilagan (First Round)
Rowby-John Rodriguez v Noel Malicdem (First Round)
Krzysztof Ratajski v Hughes/Lerchbacher (Second Round)

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
3x First Round, 1x Second Round

Ritchie Edhouse v Boris Koltsov (First Round)
Jose De Sousa v Damon Heta (First Round)
Ted Evetts v Fallon Sherrock (First Round)
Jeffrey de Zwaan v Van Barneveld/Young (Second Round)

Wednesday December 18
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)

3x First Round, 1x Second Round
Ron Meulenkamp v Ben Robb (First Round)
Mickey Mansell v Seigo Asada (First Round)
Harry Ward v Madars Razma (First Round)
Stephen Bunting v Monk/Justicia (Second Round)

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
3x First Round, 1x Second Round

James Wilson v Nico Kurz (First Round)
Josh Payne v Diogo Portela (First Round)
Gabriel Clemens v Benito van de Pas (First Round)
James Wade v Edhouse/Koltsov (Second Round)

Thursday December 19
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
2x First Round, 2x Second Round

Justin Pipe v Benjamin Pratnemer (First Round)
Ryan Joyce v Jan Dekker (First Round)
John Henderson v Richardson/Suzuki (Second Round)
Steve Beaton v K Anderson/Zong (Second Round)

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
4x Second Round

Chris Dobey v Meulenkamp/Robb (Second Round)
Danny Noppert v Lennon/Rydz (Second Round)
Dave Chisnall v Van der Voort/Barry (Second Round)
Gerwyn Price v O’Connor/Kantele (Second Round)

Friday December 20
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
4x Second Round

Darren Webster v Meikle/Yamada (Second Round)
Mervyn King v R Smith/Teehan (Second Round)
Jonny Clayton v Joyce/Dekker (Second Round)
Ricky Evans v McGeeney/Campbell (Second Round)

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
4x Second Round

Nathan Aspinall v Boulton/Baggish (Second Round)
Joe Cullen v Wilson/Kurz (Second Round)
Max Hopp v Clemens/Van de Pas (Second Round)
Peter Wright v Rodriguez/Malicdem (Second Round)

Saturday December 21
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
4x Second Round

Keegan Brown v Mansell/Asada (Second Round)
Simon Whitlock v Ward/Razma (Second Round)
Steve West v Searle/R King (Second Round)
Adrian Lewis v Reyes/Ilagan (Second Round)

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
4x Second Round

Daryl Gurney v Pipe/Pratnemer (Second Round)
Glen Durrant v De Sousa/Heta (Second Round)
Mensur Suljovic v Evetts/Sherrock (Second Round)
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Payne/Portela (Second Round)

Sunday December 22
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
3x Third Round

Clayton/Joyce/Dekker v Bunting/Monk/Justicia
White/Labanauskas/Edgar v Hopp/Clemens/Van de Pas
Aspinall/Boulton/Baggish v Ratajski/Hughes/Lerchbacher

Evening Session (1900)
3x Third Round

Wade/Edhouse/Koltsov v Beaton/K Anderson/Zong
Cross/Huybrechts/Nentjes v Noppert/Lennon/Rydz
Van Gerwen/Klaasen/Burness v Evans/McGeeney/Campbell

Monday December 23
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
3x Third Round

Cullen/Wilson/Kurz v Wattimena/Humphries/Petersen
Lewis/Reyes/Ilagan v Webster/Meikle/Yamada
M Smith/Woodhouse/Lim v Van den Bergh/Payne/Portela

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
3x Third Round

Chisnall/Van der Voort/Barry v De Zwaan/Van Barneveld/Young
G Anderson/Dolan/Kumar v West/Searle/R King
Wright/Rodriguez/Malicdem v Brown/Mansell/Asada

Friday December 27
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
3x Third Round

Whitlock/Ward/Razma v King/R Smith/Teehan
Suljovic/Evetts/Sherrock v Dobey/Meulenkamp/Robb
Gurney/Pipe/Pratnemer v Durrant/De Sousa/Heta

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
1x Third Round, 2x Fourth Round

Price/O’Connor/Kantele v Henderson/Richardson/Suzuki
Fourth Round games TBC

Saturday December 28
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
3x Fourth Round

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
3x Fourth Round

Sunday December 29
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
2x Quarter-Finals

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
2x Quarter-Finals

Monday December 30 (1900 GMT)
Semi-Finals

Wednesday January 1 (1900 GMT) 
Final

Format
First Round – Best of five sets (no tie-break)
Second Round – Best of five sets
Third Round – Best of seven sets
Fourth Round – Best of seven sets
Quarter-Finals – Best of nine sets
Semi-Finals – Best of 11 sets
Final – Best of 13 sets

A tie-break will be in operation in all round from the second round onwards, where the final set must be won by two clear legs. If the score reaches five-all, the 11th leg will be a sudden-death leg.

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