PDC World Championship Is Heating Up With Some Spectacular Darts Last Night

SEEDED STARS DOMINATE ON DAY NINE AT CAZOO WORLD DARTS CHAMPIONSHIP

Former winner Rob Cross made a confident start in his bid for a second Cazoo World Darts Championship crown on Friday, while Jonny Clayton, Joe Cullen and Danny Noppert all enjoyed wins as the second round drew to a close at Alexandra Palace.

Day Nine of the £2.5 million event saw the remaining eight second round ties take place, and it was a clean sweep for the seeded stars, with 2018 winner Cross producing the goods on his return to the capital.

The sixth seed – who famously defeated Michael van Gerwen and Phil Taylor to lift The Sid Waddell Trophy on debut – reaffirmed his credentials with an impressive 3-1 victory over enigmatic debutant Scott Williams.

Cross overcame his occasional practice partner in a high-quality affair, averaging 99 and reeling off three straight sets to come through a tie which saw each set go to a last-leg decider.

Cross – the runner-up at November’s Cazoo Players Championship Finals – maintained his superb Minehead form to book a post-Christmas date with last year’s quarter-finalist Mervyn King.

“This place will always be special to me – this is the holy grail,” reflected Cross, who also landed seven 180s and converted 58% of his attempts at double to cap off a classy display.

“I think I dealt with the big moments well, but I probably put that down to experience. I feel good. I feel like I’m getting better and I’m enjoying it again.”

Jonny Clayton – an impressive start

Elsewhere, Clayton began his bid for World Championship glory with a dominant 3-0 win over Danny van Trijp, racing to a straight sets success in just over 20 minutes on the oche.

The Welshman produced one of the performances of the tournament to dispatch the Challenge Tour star, averaging 99.6, landing five 180s and converting 50% of his attempts at double.

Following a subdued start, Clayton burst into life with a brace of 11-darters and a 78 combination in set two, before legs of 16, 14 and 16 darts saw the former Premier League winner ease through to round three.

“I needed to get out of the blocks and I think I did that,” said Clayton, who relinquished just three legs en route to victory.

“I am delighted with that. My form hasn’t been brilliant and I was a bit nervous tonight because I don’t know much about Danny.

“I want to be spoken about as one of the elite, but I need to prove what I can do, so hopefully I’m back on track,” added the Welshman, who plays Brendan Dolan in round three.

Cullen also booked his place in round three with a convincing 3-1 win against Ricky Evans, defying a late rally from the quick-fire Kettering ace to move through to a meeting against World Cup winner Damon Heta.

Cullen drew first blood with clinical 109 and 62 combination finishes in consecutive legs, before doubling his lead with a crucial 105 checkout in a second-set decider.

Evans raised his game in set three to reduce the deficit, and he threatened to restore parity at two apiece after crashing in four 180s in as many legs, only for Cullen to seal the deal in style.

The Masters winner landed back-to-back maximums in a bid to round off the pre-Christmas action with a spectacular nine-darter, but after falling short with the eighth dart, he had to settle for an 11-dart clincher.

“I think I played relatively well, but it was just about getting the win,” said Cullen, the Premier League runner-up in June.

“I’m all about winning and I’m here to win it. Damon will be a tough, tough game. He’s playing really well at the minute, but I’ll definitely be ready for it.”

UK Open champion Noppert produced a stunning late surge to record a 3-1 victory over David Cameron, who fell short in his bid to complete another famous comeback in the capital.

Noppert breezed to the opening set with a ton-plus average and continued the procession to double his lead, but Cameron – who recovered from 2-0 down to stun Ritchie Edhouse in round one – launched another valiant fightback.

The Canadian veteran followed up a 13-darter with a clinical 100 kill to halve the deficit, but Noppert avoided any further drama, averaging 109 in set four to seal his progression in style.

“I’m really happy with the win today,” said Noppert, who will play Scotland’s Alan Soutar for a place in the last 16.

“I am not one of the favourites and there are a lot of top players here, but I’ve had a good year and I’m really happy with my performances.

“When you win the UK Open, why can’t I win here? Everything is possible. I believe in myself and I know what I can do.”

European Champion Ross Smith produced his first ton-plus average on the Alexandra Palace stage in his eye-catching 3-1 win over Darius Labanauskas.

Smith fired in ten 180s and averaged 100.97 to set up a third round clash with Dirk van Duijvenbode, who came back from 3-0 down to defeat the Englishman at the same stage of last year’s event.

Martin Schindler secured his maiden victory on the Alexandra Palace stage with a battling 3-1 win over debutant Martin Lukeman, setting up a tussle against two-time runner-up Michael Smith.

Schindler – making his fourth World Championship appearance – produced the first 170 finish of this year’s tournament, while also landing six 180s to complete a landmark triumph.

Chris Dobey will face two-time World Champion Gary Anderson in a mouth-watering third round tie after securing a straight sets win over Martijn Kleermaker.

Dobey, who has reached the last 16 in three of his last four World Championship campaigns, averaged just a point higher than his Dutch opponent, but finishes of 86, 100 and 114 proved crucial for the Bedlington thrower.

Meanwhile, Dolan – competing in his 15th World Championship – secured his passage through to the post-Christmas action with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Dutch debutant Jimmy Hendriks in Friday’s opener.

The Cazoo World Darts Championship resumes on Tuesday December 27 as the third round gets underway, with reigning champion Peter Wright continuing his title defence against Kim Huybrechts.

Elsewhere, world number one Gerwyn Price faces five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld in a titanic tussle, with two-time semi-finalist Nathan Aspinall up against World Youth Champion Josh Rock in a tasty afternoon session.

The Cazoo World Darts Championship is being broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK & Ireland, through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and Viaplay, and on PDCTV (excluding UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria & Switzerland based subscribers).

2022/23 Cazoo World Darts Championship

Friday December 23

Afternoon Session

4x Second Round

Brendan Dolan 3-1 Jimmy Hendriks (3-1, 3-0, 2-3, 3-0)

Chris Dobey 3-0 Martijn Kleermaker (3-2, 3-1, 3-2)

Ross Smith 3-1 Darius Labanauskas (3-2, 3-0, 2-3, 3-2)

Rob Cross 3-1 Scott Williams (2-3, 3-2, 3-2, 3-2)

Evening Session

4x Second Round

Martin Schindler 3-1 Martin Lukeman (3-2, 2-3, 3-1, 3-1)

Danny Noppert 3-1 David Cameron (3-1, 3-1, 2-3, 3-1)

Jonny Clayton 3-0 Danny van Trijp (3-1, 3-1, 3-1)

Joe Cullen 3-1 Ricky Evans (3-1, 3-2, 2-3, 3-1)

Tuesday December 27

Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)

3x Third Round

Dimitri Van den Bergh v Krzysztof Ratajski

Nathan Aspinall v Josh Rock

Jonny Clayton v Brendan Dolan

Evening Session (1900 GMT)

3x Third Round

Jim Williams v Gabriel Clemens

Gerwyn Price v Raymond van Barneveld

Peter Wright v Kim Huybrechts

Wednesday December 28

Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)

3x Third Round

Ryan Searle v Jose de Sousa

Danny Noppert v Alan Soutar

Gary Anderson v Chris Dobey

Evening Session (1900 GMT)

3x Third Round

Joe Cullen v Damon Heta

Michael van Gerwen v Mensur Suljovic

Michael Smith v Martin Schindler

Thursday December 29

Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)

3x Third Round

Dirk van Duijvenbode v Ross Smith

Rob Cross v Mervyn King

Dave Chisnall v Stephen Bunting

Evening Session (1900 GMT)

1x Third Round, 2x Fourth Round

Luke Humphries v Vincent van der Voort (R3)

Fourth Round games TBC

Friday December 30

Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)

3x Fourth Round

Evening Session (1900 GMT)

3x Fourth Round

Sunday January 1

Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)

2x Quarter-Finals

Evening Session (1930 GMT)

2x Quarter-Finals

Monday January 2 (1930 GMT)

2x Semi-Finals

Tuesday January 3 (2000 GMT)

Final

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

Photos: Credit Kieran Cleeves/PDC

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