PDC World Championship: Five first-round matches not to miss
With the PDC World Championship just days away, the Sky Sports Darts team pick out their highlights from the opening round; watch all the action from Alexandra Palace live on Sky Sports from December 15
By Sky Sports Darts
Last Updated: 13/12/20 10:17am
The waiting is nearly over. Peter Wright will begin the defence of his World Championship crown when the tournament gets underway on Tuesday evening, and it promises to be a thrilling few weeks of darting drama.
This year's showpiece at Alexandra Palace is set to mark the return of fans back to darting arenas for the first time since March, and they will be treated to some monumental first and second-round ties.
There are 20 players making their PDC World Championship debuts at this year's event, while the first round will also feature three former world champions in the shape of Steve Beaton, Scott Waites and Lisa Ashton.
The sport has rarely boasted such strength in depth and that's reflected throughout the field, so to whet your appetite, the Sky Sports Darts team have picked out five opening round ties you will not want to miss...
- Peter Wright faces possible Steve West test, Deta Hedman to face Andy Boulton
- Fans allowed at World Champs, no fancy dress
- PDC World Darts Championship: Schedule, results & draw
Jeff Smith vs Keane Barry
I think certainly some names will look at that draw and think: 'Goodness me, that could have been handier'. Chris Dobey is not playing particularly well.
We all like Chris as a player, he's very good and very talented, but he will not have wanted to play the winner of Jeff Smith against Keane Barry.
That's an incredible first-round match. The winner will play Dobey and the winner then fancies their chances, because all of a sudden that little bottom section opens up a bit.
Andy Boulton vs Deta Hedman
Deta will not appreciate me saying this, but she has been playing darts longer than I have been alive! She started having her tournament wins in the 1980s - 1988 I think was her first one.
I have always felt like the one thing she was missing was that World Championship, and she has come close to it so many times. It is only fitting she has got her chance in the PDC World Championship.
She played brilliantly - she was so consistent at the Women's Series and she played on the Challenge Tour before then, and she was playing really strongly there. I think she is going to go into that match with hopefully all the confidence she can muster.
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Andy Hamilton vs Nico Kurz
Let's look at this one for instance. Last year there was the young lad Nico Kurz from Germany, who played some absolutely fabulous darts.
In the first round, he's playing a guy who is making a comeback, a former World Championship finalist in Andy Hamilton.
It just shows that things can change. One is trying to make things happen again, whereas one is trying to make a name for himself.
Adam Hunt vs Lisa Ashton
Lisa has played at the UK Open recently, she's played at the World Championship before, she's had two shots at the Grand Slam and she is still yet to get that televised win.
We all know how good she is and what she's doing on the Pro Tour, but I think she just wants to get that win and it's a case of not putting too much pressure on yourself.
She has got Adam Hunt, who she has actually beaten twice on the Pro Tour. I am hoping that gives her a bit more confidence. She knows that she is playing someone that she can and has beaten, and she has got that experience that she can bring up and build on.
Luke Humphries vs Paul Lim
I want to mention Paul Lim, who will be playing in his 25th World Championship - a great milestone. He has been a great stalwart for the darts over the years has Paul.
It was only a few years ago that he wired double 12 for a nine-darter again. Everybody just loves him and I just think it's a great achievement.
Paul Lim plays Luke Humphries who is starting to play really well and the winner of that faces Dimitri Van den Bergh in the second round. Van den Bergh vs Humphries in the second round would be lively to say the least.
Colin Lloyd & Paul Prenderville
You won't miss a dart this Christmas thanks to the dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel which returns from December 15 until January 4 for every session from the World Darts Championship, including the final on Sunday January 3