Wright Out to defend title – PDC World championship preview

The 2020/21 William Hill World Darts Championship begins on Tuesday at Alexandra Palace, London as 96 of the world’s best players compete for the sport’s biggest prize across 16 days of darts.

Taking place from December 15-January 3 over 28 sessions, the World Championship will once again offer the winner a life-changing £500,000 prize along with the coveted Sid Waddell Trophy.

The pre-Christmas period will see the first and second rounds played across nine days from December 15-23, with reigning champion Peter Wright to compete on the opening night against either Steve West or Amit Gilitwala.

Despite being the current title holder, Wright believes he is the player with least pressure on his shoulders at this year’s tournament.

Wright famously exorcised his final demons by defeating Michael van Gerwen in style to become World Champion for the first time almost 12 months ago, however the Scot insists he isn’t feeling any weight of expectation to defend his crown.

“I’ve already accomplished my dream. It’s the other guys who have never won it so the pressure is on them,” Wright explained.

“I’ve done it, so it doesn’t matter what happens now. That moment will never be taken away from me.

“That said, I’ll be going out all guns blazing to try and take the Sid Waddell Trophy home with me again.

“It’s every darts player’s dream to be World Champion. I achieved it last year and it made me cry like a baby on stage, but that’s just what it means to fulfil your dream.

“The other players need to watch out, because give me a chance and I’ll take it. Honestly, I think I can defend this title.”

An exciting first session will also see Steve Beaton compete in his record 30th successive World Championship as he plays Brazil’s Diogo Portela, while Canada’s Jeff Smith takes on Irish prospect Keane Barry.

World number one Van Gerwen opens his challenge to win a fourth World Championship on Saturday December 19, on a day which will also feature Women’s Series Qualifier Deta Hedman’s tie with Andy Boulton and Scott Waites’ Alexandra Palace debut.

Despite suffering a difficult year at times, the Dutchman has enjoyed a return to form of late and is rated the 5/2 favourite for glory with title sponsor William Hill.

“Of course, this year has not been an easy one for me, as it hasn’t been for a lot of people,” admitted Van Gerwen, who will face either Ryan Murray or Lourence Ilagan.

“There have been some difficult moments both on and off the oche but it’s about how you come through those moments.

“In the last few weeks I have been feeling good again and I can definitely feel the old Michael coming out on the dartboard.

“I have to thank my family, friends and management for helping me through this year, I couldn’t have done it without their support.

“Now I’m feeling ready to go at the World Championship and the other players need to watch out.”

Third seed Gerwyn Price opens his challenge to improve on his semi-final run 12 months ago on Monday December 21 against either Luke Woodhouse or Jamie Lewis.

The Welshman has enjoyed his best year in the PDC, picking up three televised titles, including winning the World Cup for the first time.

“A few months ago I thought 2020 was going to be a write-off for me, but it hasn’t turned out that way,” said Price, a first round victim in July’s World Matchplay.

“It’s turned out to be one of my best years on tour in terms of my results.

“I have found it difficult at times without a crowd, but it’s the same for all of us and we’ve just had to get on with it.

“The few weeks rest I’ve had has come at a great time for me because I was just starting to have a little lull in my performances.

“But the break has allowed me to recharge the batteries and give me my competitive edge back heading into the big one which I would love to get my hands on.”

The second round will conclude across two sessions on Wednesday December 23, when top ten stars Michael Smith, Nathan Aspinall and Dave Chisnall are amongst the players in action.

Following a three-day Christmas break, the third and fourth rounds will be held from December 27-30, with the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final being held from January 1-3.

In a change from previous World Championship rules, to reduce the possibility of sessions over-running, there will be no tie-break in any match. Should any deciding set reach two-all, the fifth leg would be the final leg.

Tickets for the William Hill World Darts Championship are now on General Sale from SeeTickets, with up to 1,000 fans able to attend per session under specific regulations.

Global coverage will be headlined by coverage on the dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel, while the PDC’s international broadcast partners will include RTL7 in the Netherlands, DAZN in various territories, Fox Sports in Australia, Sky Sport in New Zealand, PDCTV for Rest of the World Subscribers and at matchroom.live.

Schedule of PlayTuesday December 15 (1800 GMT)

  • 3x First Round, 1x Second Round
  • Steve West v Amit Gilitwala (R1)
  • Steve Beaton v Diogo Portela (R1)
  • Jeff Smith v Keane Barry (R1)
  • Peter Wright v West/Gilitwala (R2)

Wednesday December 16

Afternoon Session (1200 GMT)

  • 3x First Round, 1x Second Round
  • Ryan Joyce v Karel Sedlacek (R1)
  • Ross Smith v David Evans (R1)
  • William O’Connor v Niels Zonneveld (R1)
  • Chris Dobey v J Smith/Barry (R2)

Evening Session (1800 GMT)

  • 3x First Round, 1x Second Round
  • Max Hopp v Gordon Mathers (R1)
  • Callan Rydz v James Bailey (R1)
  • Adam Hunt v Lisa Ashton (R1)
  • Glen Durrant v Beaton/Portela (R2)

Thursday December 17

Afternoon Session (1200 GMT)

  • 3x First Round, 1x Second Round
  • Madars Razma v Toru Suzuki (R1)
  • Mike De Decker v Edward Foulkes (R1)
  • Ryan Murray v Lourence Ilagan (R1)
  • Daryl Gurney v O’Connor/Zonneveld (R2)

Evening Session (1800 GMT)

  • 3x First Round, 1x Second Round
  • Luke Woodhouse v Jamie Lewis (R1)
  • Ron Meulenkamp v Boris Krcmar (R1)
  • Ryan Searle v Danny Lauby (R1)
  • Jose de Sousa v R Smith/D Evans (R2)

Friday December 18

Afternoon Session (1200 GMT)

  • 3x First Round, 1x Second Round
  • Mickey Mansell v Haupai Puha (R1)
  • Darius Labanauskas v Chengan Liu (R1)
  • Wayne Jones v Ciaran Teehan (R1)
  • Jamie Hughes v Hunt/Ashton (R2)

Evening Session (1800 GMT)

  • 3x First Round, 1x Second Round
  • Dirk van Duijvenbode v Bradley Brooks (R1)
  • John Henderson v Marko Kantele (R1)
  • Luke Humphries v Paul Lim (R1)
  • James Wade v Rydz/Bailey (R2)

Saturday December 19

  • Afternoon Session (1200 GMT)
  • 3x First Round, 1x Second Round
  • Steve Lennon v Daniel Larsson (R1)
  • Scott Waites v Matt Campbell (R1)
  • Kim Huybrechts v Di Zhuang (R1)
  • Mervyn King v Hopp/Mathers (R2)

Evening Session (1800 GMT)

  • 3x First Round, 1x Second Round
  • Andy Hamilton v Nico Kurz (R1)
  • Andy Boulton v Deta Hedman (R1)
  • Damon Heta v Danny Baggish (R1)
  • Michael van Gerwen v Murray/Ilagan (R2)

Sunday December 20

Afternoon Session (1200 GMT)

  • 3x First Round, 1x Second Round
  • Derk Telnekes v Nick Kenny (R1)
  • Jason Lowe v Dmitriy Gorbunov (R1)
  • Maik Kuivenhoven v Matthew Edgar (R1)
  • Vincent van der Voort v Meulenkamp/Krcmar (R2)

Evening Session (1800 GMT)

  • 2x First Round, 2x Second Round
  • Martijn Kleermaker v Cameron Carolissen (First Round)
  • Keegan Brown v Ryan Meikle (First Round)
  • Jeffrey de Zwaan v Searle/Lauby (Second Round)
  • Jonny Clayton v Henderson/Kantele (Second Round)

Monday December 21 (1800 GMT)

  • 4x Second Round
  • Krzysztof Ratajski v Joyce/Sedlacek (R2)
  • Ian White v Huybrechts/Zhuang (R2)
  • Gerwyn Price v Woodhouse/J Lewis (R2)
  • Gabriel Clemens v Hamilton/Kurz (R2)

Tuesday December 22

Afternoon Session (1200 GMT)

  • 4x Second Round
  • Brendan Dolan v De Decker/Foulkes (R2)
  • Joe Cullen v Jones/Teehan (R2)
  • Simon Whitlock v Labanauskas/Liu (R2)

Adrian Lewis v Heta/Baggish (R2)

Evening Session (1800 GMT)

  • 4x Second Round
  • Danny Noppert v Kleermaker/Carolissen (R2)
  • Devon Petersen v Lennon/Larsson (R2)
  • Rob Cross v Van Duijvenbode/Brooks (R2)
  • Dimitri Van den Bergh v Humphries/Lim (R2)

Wednesday December 23

Afternoon Session (1200 GMT)

  • 4x Second Round
  • Ricky Evans v Mansell/Puha (Second Round)
  • Gary Anderson v Razma/Suzuki (Second Round)
  • Stephen Bunting v Boulton/Hedman (Second Round)
  • Mensur Suljovic v Kuivenhoven/Edgar (Second Round)

Evening Session (1800 GMT)

4x Second Round                        

  • Dave Chisnall v Brown/Meikle (R2)
  • Jermaine Wattimena v Telnekes/Kenny (R2)
  • Nathan Aspinall v Waites/Campbell (R2)
  • Michael Smith v Lowe/Gorbunov (R2)
  • Sunday December 27

Afternoon Session (1200 GMT)

  • 3x Third Round
  • Evening Session (1800 GMT)
  • 3x Third Round
  • Monday December 28
  • Afternoon Session (1200 GMT)
  • 3x Third Round
  • Evening Session (1800 GMT)
  • 3x Third Round
  • Tuesday December 29
  • Afternoon Session (1200 GMT)
  • 3x Third Round
  • Evening Session (1800 GMT)
  • 1x Third Round, 2x Fourth Round
  • Wednesday December 30
  • Afternoon Session (1200 GMT)
  • 3x Fourth Round
  • Evening Session (1800 GMT)
  • 3x Fourth Round
  • Friday January 1
  • Afternoon Session (1200 GMT)
  • 2x Quarter-Finals
  • Evening Session (1800 GMT)
  • 2x Quarter-Finals
  • Saturday January 2 (1800 GMT)
  • Semi-Finals
  • Sunday January 3 (1930 GMT)
  • Final

Draw Bracket – Second Round Onwards

  • (1) Michael van Gerwen v Ryan Murray/Lourence Ilagan
  • (32) Ricky Evans v Mickey Mansell/Haupai Puha
  • (16) Joe Cullen v Wayne Jones/Ciaran Teehan
  • (17) Jonny Clayton v John Henderson/Marko Kantele
  • (8) Dave Chisnall v Keegan Brown/Ryan Meikle
  • (25) Danny Noppert v Martijn Kleermaker/Cameron Carolissen
  • (9) Dimitri Van den Bergh v Luke Humphries/Paul Lim
  • (24) Jermaine Wattimena v Derk Telnekes/Nick Kenny
  • (4) Michael Smith v Jason Lowe/Dmitriy Gorbunov
  • (29) Devon Petersen v Steve Lennon/Daniel Larsson
  • (13) Gary Anderson v Madars Razma/Toru Suzuki
  • (20) Mensur Suljovic v Maik Kuivenhoven/Matthew Edgar
  • (5) Rob Cross v Dirk van Duijvenbode/Bradley Brooks
  • (28) Jamie Hughes v Adam Hunt/Lisa Ashton
  • (12) Glen Durrant v Steve Beaton/Diogo Portela
  • (21) Adrian Lewis v Damon Heta/Danny Baggish
  • (2) Peter Wright v Steve West/Amit Gilitwala
  • (31) Gabriel Clemens v Andy Hamilton/Nico Kurz
  • (15) Krzysztof Ratajski v Ryan Joyce/Karel Sedlacek
  • (18) Simon Whitlock v Darius Labanauskas/Chengan Liu
  • (7) James Wade v Callan Rydz/James Bailey
  • (26) Stephen Bunting v Andy Boulton/Deta Hedman
  • (10) Ian White v Kim Huybrechts/Di Zhuang
  • (23) Jeffrey de Zwaan v Ryan Searle/Danny Lauby
  • (3) Gerwyn Price v Luke Woodhouse/Jamie Lewis
  • (30) Brendan Dolan v Mike De Decker/Edward Foulkes
  • (14) Jose de Sousa v Ross Smith/David Evans
  • (19) Mervyn King v Max Hopp/Gordon Mathers
  • (6) Nathan Aspinall v Scott Waites/Matt Campbell
  • (27) Vincent van der Voort v Ron Meulenkamp/Boris Krcmar
  • (11) Daryl Gurney v William O’Connor/Niels Zonneveld
  • (22) Chris Dobey v Jeff Smith/Keane Barry
  • Format
  • First Round – Best of five sets
  • 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
  • There will be no tie-break in any match. Should any deciding set reach two-all, the fifth leg would be the final leg.
  • Prize Fund
  • Winner – £500,000
  • Runner-Up – £200,000
  • Semi-Finalists – £100,000
  • Quarter-Finalists – £50,000
  • Fourth Round – £35,000
  • Third Round – £25,000
  • Second Round – £15,000
  • First Round – £7,500

William Hill Outright Winner Odds

  • 5/2 – Michael van Gerwen
  • 5/1 – Gerwyn Price
  • 6/1 – Peter Wright
  • 14/1 – Michael Smith
  • 16/1 – Jose se Sousa
  • 20/1 – Dimitri Van den Bergh, Nathan Aspinall
  • 28/1 – Glen Durrant, Devon Petersen
  • 33/1 – James Wade, Gary Anderson
  • 40/1 – Damon Heta
  • 50/1 – Krzysztof Ratajski, Dave Chisnall, Rob Cross, Simon Whitlock
  • 66/1 – Dirk van Duijvenbode
  • 80/1 – Jeffrey de Zwaan, Luke Humphries, Ian White, Daryl Gurney, Joe Cullen
  • 100/1 – Mensur Suljovic, Gabriel Clemens, Mervyn King, Jonny Clayton
  • 125/1 – Chris Dobey, Adrian Lewis
  • 150/1 – Ryan Searle
  • 200/1 – Danny Noppert, Jermaine Wattimena, Max Hopp
  • 250/1 – Keane Barry, Ross Smith, Vincent van der Voort, Callan Rydz, Ryan Joyce, Stephen Bunting
  • 300/1 – David Evans, Jeff Smith, Boris Krcmar, Darius Labanauskas, Scott Waites, William O’Connor, Kim Huybrechts, Steve Lennon, Jamie Hughes
  • 400/1 – Jason Lowe, Karel Sedlacek, Ron Meulenkamp, Brendan Dolan, Nico Kurz, Ricky Evans, John Henderson
  • 500/1 – Martijn Kleermaker, Nick Kenny, Jamie Lewis, Matt Campbell, Andy Boulton, Danny Baggish, Steve West, Keegan Brown, Lourence Ilagan, Luke Woodhouse, Niels Zonneveld, Mike De Decker, Steve Beaton
  • 750/1 – Madars Razma, Mickey Mansell, Ryan Murray, Derk Telnekes, Adam Hunt, Ryan Meikle, Andy Hamilton, Edward Shoji Foulkes, Maik Kuivenhoven, Wayne Jones, Bradley Brooks, Ciaran Teehan
  • 1000/1 – Diogo Portela, Daniel Larsson, Marko Kantele, Matthew Edgar, Haupai Puha, Toru Suzuki, Paul Lim, Lisa Ashton
  • 1500/1 – Gordon Mathers, Cameron Carolissen, Dmitriy Gorbunov, Danny Lauby, Chengan Liu, James Bailey
  • 2000/1 – Di Zhuang, Amit Gilitwala, Deta Hedman

Odds courtesy williamhill.com and correct at time of publication. Subject to fluctuation


Words: PDC

Featured Pic: L Lustig

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