There were no signs of any post-Boxing Day hangovers in the World Darts Championship on Monday. The sport’s showpiece event returned from its Christmas break with another thrilling day of action at the oche, including one of the greatest games to ever grace the famous Alexandra Palace stage.
Reigning champion Gerwyn Price resumed his title defence in the game of the tournament so far against Kim Huybrechts, beating the ‘Hurricane’ 4-3.
The Welshman, who is bidding to join an elite group of only three players to have successfully retained a PDC world title, had to live up to his ‘Iceman’ moniker and keep his cool to secure victory as his Belgian opponent seemed to withstand everything that was thrown at him, taking the tie to a sudden-death decider.
Price, who has reached at least the quarter-final stage of all but one ranking major this season and remains the favourite for the title, had to contend with both a gutsy Huybrechts and a hostile crowd but showed his class when it mattered most to book his place in the last 16, where Dirk van Duijvenbode awaits. Price averaged a below-par 92 but he did land five of the eight 100+ checkouts.
From the game of the tournament to one of the best performances. Jonny Clayton broke new ground at Ally Pally tonight, putting in a phenomenal showing to whitewash ‘German Giant’ Gabriel Clemens, who knocked out Peter Wright twelve months ago, 4-0.
‘The Ferret’, who has won four televised titles this year, has never previously made it beyond the Third Round stage in five appearances, but finally ended that run with a seriously classy display. Overall, he notched a 102.56 average, seven 180s and three ton-plus finishes. The Welshman sets up a mouth-watering showdown with Michael Smith in the round of 16.
James Wade and Vincent van der Voort were supposed to be Monday night’s curtain-raiser at Ally Pally but the Dutchman was forced to withdraw from the tournament after he tested positive for coronavirus. “The Machine'' has subsequently received a bye through to the last 16, where he will play either Joe Cullen or Martijn Kleermaker as a result.
Earlier today, Michael Smith hit four ton-plus finishes during his 4-2 victory against William O'Connor to underline his title credentials, while Dirk van Duijvenbode pulled off a stunning comeback from three sets down to beat Ross Smith 4-3 and book his place in the fourth round. Meanwhile, Australia’s Raymond Smith's dream debut continued with a 4-1 victory over Florian Hempel.
*18+ | BeGambleAware