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World Darts Championship: Luke Littler continues dream debut by beating Matt Campbell to reach last 16

Luke Littler will now face Jim Williams or Raymond van Barneveld in the fourth round on Saturday; the World Darts Championship runs all the way until the final on January 3, 2024 - we're back on Thursday at 12.30pm, live on Sky Sports Darts

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Luke Littler becomes the youngest player to qualify for the last 16 of the World Darts Championship, but will he celebrate with his trademark celebratory kebab?

Teenager Luke Littler continued his dream World Darts Championship debut and set up a potential last-16 showdown against Raymond van Barneveld with a sensational 4-1 victory over Matt Campbell at the Alexandra Palace.

The 16-year-old had already announced himself on the world stage when he fired a 106.12 average in a straight-sets victory over Christian Kist in the opening round last week, then followed it up a day later when he claimed a 3-1 win over reigning UK Open champion Andrew Gilding.

Littler faced extra pressure and attention on Wednesday evening against Campbell, who had defeated James Wade to reach the third round, only for the former world youth champion to cement himself as a genuine title contender with a convincing win.

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Luke Littler produces a brilliant 164 finish against Matt Campbell in the World Darts Championship third round.

Backed by chants of "you've got school in the morning" from the vocal crowd, the fans' favourite raced through the first two sets without losing a leg and battled back from 2-0 to claim the third in a final-leg decider, then responded to losing the fourth by taking out a 164 checkout on his way winning the fifth and securing his spot in the fourth round.

"Unbelievable," Littler told Sky Sports. "I only wanted to win one game and I've won three. I've battled through it and I'm so happy. I just let my darts do the talking.

"As soon as I won that first game against Christian Kist I just settled and as soon as I went 2-0 up against Matt I tried to calm myself down because last time it didn't go too well. I kept composed and got over the line."

'Superstar' Littler marches on in the worlds

Littler broke Campbell in the opening leg and then fired the first maximum of the match on his way to a 13-dart hold in the next, before sealing the set by taking advantage of more wasteful finishing by Campbell.

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Just 40 darts were required to wrap up the second set in straight legs, with Littler posting 14-dart finishes either side of a stunning 130 checkout and 12-dart break of throw against his stunned opponent.

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Matt Campbell watches on in awe as 16-year-old Luke Littler finds a brilliant 130 in their third round match at the World Darts Championship.

Campbell finally got a leg on the board when he delivered a 72 checkout to take the opening leg of the third and broke throw with a 101 finish, only for the Canadian to waste three set darts to allow Littler back into the set.

Littler was able to break throw on D10 and then level the set with a 56 checkout in the next, with both players wasting set darts in a nervy final-leg decider before the Englishman took out tops to move into a three-set advantage.

Campbell fell 2-1 down in the fourth set and in danger of a straight-sets defeat until he followed a 13-dart hold of throw with a brilliant 'Shanghai' 120 finish to win the set, but quickly trailed in the next when Littler fired in a remarkable 164 checkout against the darts.

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Matt Campbell holds his nerve with this 120 finish to take the fourth set in his third round match with Luke Littler.

Littler responded to losing the next leg by taking out a 100 finish for an 11-dart leg, before wrapping up his latest statement victory by firing into tops and becoming the youngest player to ever reach the last-16.

The unseeded star will now hope to extend his world championship run when he is in fourth-round action on Saturday, where he will face either former world champion Van Barneveld or Wales' Jim Williams.

Littler: I'll chill out ahead of next round

Littler said he was able to remain more composed in his victory over Campbell on Wednesday than during his second-round win against Gilding.

Asked by Sky Sports where he gets his composure from, Littler said: "I've always had it. You saw against Andrew Gilding I let loads of energy out when I went 2-0 up then he came back and won the set 3-0.

"It's more about just composing yourself and when you do win, then you can celebrate."

The teenager says he played lots of Xbox over the Christmas break and is simply enjoying his incredible run at the Alexandra Palace.

On his plans between now and Saturday's last-16 match, he added: "I'll just stay in the hotel and chill out tomorrow, probably treat myself to some more shoes or pants! Then see who I play in the next round."

MVG: I was better at that age

Michael Van Gerwen has plenty of admiration for teenage sensation Luke Littler, even if he believes he was better himself at that age.

"If you look talent-wise I think I'm slightly better but how he doesn't care whoever he plays, that's why I admire him. He's a big talent," Van Gerwen said.

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Michael Van Gerwen says 16-year-old sensation Luke Littler is a big talent and he admires him

"He can win a lot of tournaments in the future of darts, 100 per cent."

But the three-time world champion doesn't necessarily relish sharing any limelight with Littler.

"I wish everyone gives me attention because when you get attention it's a pleasure, it's something good," he said.

"Because when they talk about you it's a good sign. It means you still mean something to the sport."

Part: Even Barney would struggle against Littler

Sky Sports Darts' John Part:

"Matt got it together in the last couple of sets but Luke had every answer. He rolled over Matt early doors.

"Luke took every advantage and winners do that. They pound you when you are down and make it even worse.

"He had magical out shots galore. He's got the talent and for someone facing him now, you've got to look at a comprehensively solid performance against him.

"Even Barney would struggle if Luke plays him. It's imperative that people take him like a seed. You can't afford mistakes against him because he doesn't know losing. He's not going to crumble."

What's happening on Thursday at the World Darts Championship?

Luke Humphries in action against Lee Evans (not pictured) on day three of the Paddy Power World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace, London. Picture date: Sunday December 17, 2023.
Image: Luke Humphries resumes his title bid on Thursday evening

Pre-tournament favourite Luke Humphries will resume his title bid against German debutant Ricardo Pietreczko on Thursday, as 2021 champion Gerwyn Price faces Brendan Dolan.

Live World Darts Championship

World Darts Championship: Thursday Afternoon Fixtures

Florian Hempel vs Stephen Bunting (R3)
Joe Cullen vs Ryan Searle (R3)
Ross Smith vs Chris Dobey (R3)

Joe Cullen takes on Ryan Searle with Stephen Bunting and Chris Dobey in action during the afternoon session.

Live World Darts Championship

World Darts Championship: Thursday Evening Fixtures

Gerwyn Price vs Brendan Dolan (R3)
Luke Humphries vs Ricardo Pietreczko (R3)
Ricky Evans vs Daryl Gurney (R3)

The sport's biggest event sees the remaining players compete for the Sid Waddell Trophy and £2.5m in prize money at Alexandra Palace. You can watch all the action live on our dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel.

Watch the World Darts Championship all the way until the final on January 3, 2024 - live on Sky Sports Darts. NOW Sports Month Membership: £21 a month for 6 months

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