PDC World Darts Championship: Michael van Gerwen favourite to be crowned champion
The World Darts Championship returns on New Year's Day with the quarter-finals from 12pm and 6pm, live on Sky Sports. Who will be lifting The Sid Waddell Trophy on Sunday, January 3?
By Raz Mirza
Last Updated: 01/01/21 11:39am
Michael van Gerwen maybe favourite to land his fourth World Darts Championship title, but he has the likes of Gary Anderson and Gerwyn Price hot on his heels ahead of a bumper New Year's Day at Alexandra Palace.
This year's Worlds has had pretty much everything, from James Wade's sensational nine-darter to MVG's epic victory over Joe Cullen.
The standard has hit the Ally Pally roof and it promises to get even better ahead of four high-quality quarter-final matches played across two sessions on Friday.
Stephen Bunting takes on Krzysztof Ratajski in the opener before The Flying Scotsman Anderson and Dirk Van Duijvenbode do battle.
The evening session will start with the contest between The Iceman Price and Daryl Gurney, with three-time world champion van Gerwen's meeting with Dave Chisnall also taking place on Friday evening.
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- PDC World Darts Championship: Schedule, results & draw
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Krzysztof Ratajski vs Stephen Bunting
First up on the oche sees The Polish Eagle take on former Lakeside champion Bunting.
Ratajski survived seven match darts in the deciding leg and missed nine himself before he got over the line on D1 against Germany's Gabriel Clemens to reach his first-ever quarter-final at the Worlds.
Krzysztof Ratajski's road to the quarter-finals
|Second Round||Ryan Joyce||3-0|
|Third Round||Simon Whitlock||4-0|
|Fourth Round||Gabriel Clemens||4-3|
Merseysider Bunting is on a revival having seen off Wade and then Ryan Searle to return to the last eight for the first time since 2015.
Their only previous meeting came in 2018 at the Dutch Masters, which Bunting won 6-3.
Stephen Bunting's road to the quarter-finals
|Second Round||Andy Boulton||3-2|
|Third Round||James Wade||4-2|
|Fourth Round||Ryan Searle||4-3|
Colin Lloyd's verdict - We've been talking about Krzysztof playing so well out on the circuit but it's not materialised on the TV until now. He got through a battle against Gabriel Clemens and I think he will be delighted to get to the quarter-finals.
Stephen is a proven champion and has been a BDO world champion so this represents a big opportunity for both of them especially as Krzysztof can break into the top 10, possibly give himself a chance of a Premier League place and Stephen can get himself back into the top 16.
It might be an edgy game but once they get into it, like their last matches, I think we will see some good stuff but I think Ratajski with his scoring boots on will just get the better of things, but I think it goes all the way to a last leg decider.
Gary Anderson vs Dirk Van Duijvenbode
This could be an explosive encounter between two of the biggest scorers in the game at these Worlds.
The Scot may have been flummoxed by the antics of Mensur Suljovic, but he was somewhere near his awe-inspiring best against Devon Petersen.
Gary Anderson's road to the quarter-finals
|Second Round||Madars Razma||3-1|
|Third Round||Mensur Suljovic||4-3|
|Fourth Round||Devon Petersen||4-0|
Aubergenius Van Duijvenbode has already knocked out two former world champions in Rob Cross and Glen Durrant, so can he score a hat-trick on New Year's Day?
Van Duijvenbode famously defeated 'his hero' Anderson 3-1 at the World Grand Prix in Coventry just a few months ago en route to the final where he was beaten by Gerwyn Price.
Dirk van Duijvenbode road to the quarter-finals
|Second Round||Rob Cross||3-2|
|Third Round||Adam Hunt||4-0|
|Fourth Round||Glen Durrant||4-3|
"He's my hero, always been. When I beat him in the (World) Grand Prix, I was like how can I beat my hero because you don't want to beat your hero because he's your hero," said the Dutchman.
"Now I play him on the biggest stage in the world. Win or lose I don't mind because I play my hero on the biggest stage I can play him."
New Year's Day at the World Championship
|Quarter-Finals||Krzysztof Ratajski||vs||Stephen Bunting|
|Quarter-Finals||Gary Anderson||vs||Dirk Van Duijvenbode|
|Quarter-Finals||Gerwyn Price||vs||Daryl Gurney|
|Quarter-Finals||Michael van Gerwen||vs||Dave Chisnall|
Laura Turner's verdict - If nothing else this is going to be entertaining for a number of different reasons, but ultimately it will be a good match.
All Dirk's thoughts about Gary being his hero need to go out of the window, he has got a job to do and he has to crack on as if Gary were anyone else. He needs to be Dirk, he needs to get himself pumped up, he needs to be roaring, he needs to bring on the aubergine!
Its been confusing to gauge Gary, after his second-round match he said he had written off 2020 and said he hasn't practised so we are thinking 'Is you heart in this?
But he's into the quarter-final and he is so naturally talented but we wonder what Gary is going to turn up and I think it might come down to that. Gary took every chance that came his way against Devon Petersen and if Dirk gives him the chances that he survived against Glen Durrant, he will be beaten before he knows it.
However, I think in a tournament of upsets we may get another, I think Dirk will take it 5-3.
Gerwyn Price vs Daryl Gurney
Welshman Price has his sights set on becoming world No 1, but he must first tackle a resurgent Gurney in a mouth-watering clash.
This year's World Grand Prix champion has not quite hit top form at this year's tournament, but he may have to do so in order to progress.
Gerwyn Price's road to the quarter-finals
|Second Round||Jamie Lewis||3-2|
|Third Round||Brendan Dolan||4-3|
|Fourth Round||Mervyn King||4-1|
By contrast, SuperChin is into his second world championship quarter-final after a year to forget. With the exception of a semi-final showing in March's UK Open, the Northern Irishman has relinquished his spot in the world's top 10.
He has suffered opening-round exits at the Grand Prix, European Championship and Players Championship Finals, while also failing to qualify for the Grand Slam.
Price has dominated their previous meetings, but all records will be thrown out the window when they collide on Friday evening.
Daryl Gurney's road to the quarter-finals
|Second Round||Willie O'Connor||3-2|
|Third Round||Chris Dobey||4-1|
|Fourth Round||Vincent van der Voort||4-2|
John Part's verdict - Daryl has looked more than confident, especially off a year where he has not looked capable of winning a big match and sometimes even a normal match - he just didn't look like crossing the line.
But he has looked that sort of player at Ally Pally. He looked fresh, he looked happy and he is saying all the right things - what is encouraging is that he is not just saying them, he is meaning them.
I think, unlike Mervyn King, he can get his a-game in Gerwyn and make life difficult.
That said, I think Gerwyn has looked really superb and I think he can handle and manage things. I have been a little critical over the last month or two that he gets himself into situations that he shouldn't but the positive is that he has won most of them.
For that reason, I think Gerwyn will take the match but Daryl will put up a fight and I think it will go all the way - 5-4 to Price.
Michael van Gerwen vs Dave Chisnall
Three-time champion Van Gerwen will surely be licking his lips at taking on Chizzy. After all, the world No 1 enjoys an incredible record against the St Helens thrower.
He'll be aiming to seal his 49th victory over Chisnall, who has not beaten the Dutchman in over four years. That's 27 meetings (L26 D1).
MVG's road to the quarter-finals
|Second Round||Ryan Murray||3-1|
|Third Round||Ricky Evans||4-0|
|Fourth Round||Joe Cullen||4-3|
Astonishingly, this will be their first meeting at the Worlds, and Chisnall believes he can beat the flying Dutchman on the biggest stage of them all, telling Sky Sports: "I've not beat him for a while, but this tournament, I can beat him. I'm playing well enough, but I've just got to tidy up the sloppy darts. It will be a fast, fast game, so I'll be happy with that."
Gerwen recovered from falling 3-1 behind to an exceptional Joe Cullen, who fired in 19 180s and missed two match darts at the bullseye in a breath-taking affair to reach the last eight, where he will be favourite to defeat Chisnall once again.
Dave Chisnall's road to the quarter-finals
|Second Round||Keegan Brown||3-1|
|Third Round||Danny Noppert||4-2|
|Fourth Round||Dimitri Van den Bergh||4-2|
Wayne Mardle's verdict - I think it's intriguing, I don't see Michael van Gerwen having his own way at all. Chizzy's tournament average is around 100 and if he can muster something similar to that nearly every set, when he is throwing first he is going to be difficult to beat.
When Chizzy played Dimitri the only time he was getting broke was with 12-darters!
The pressure is on Michael to perform, but Dave knows he is playing well and he has to feel he has got a chance, coming through the Dimitri game the way he did, holding it together despite being messy.
Unfortunately for him, and this is likely to be the crux, Michael's composure is back - how he got away with winning that game against Joe Cullen, I still don't know but he held it together himself as well.
Van Gerwen is in full control of his game and I think Michael wins 5-3, I think it gets tight but I think Chizzy gets beat by the man who normally beats him.
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