World Championship 3rd round: Can Taylor continue crushing run?
As the PDC World Darts Championship reaches the third round, most of the game’s giants have filtered through, but so has one lone Spaniard who continues to defy the odds.
Preliminary qualifier Cristo Reyes joins the likes of Phil Taylor, Raymond van Barneveld, Adrian Lewis, Gary Anderson, Peter Wright and Stephen Bunting on a terrific Tuesday of tungsten action.
Peter Wright (5) v Andy Hamilton (12)
Despite Hamilton holding a 4-2 head-to-head advantage over Wright, it is the latter who goes into this match as the heavy odds-on 2/7 favourite. That is perhaps due to the fact that Snakebite has won the last two meetings and was runner-up here last year.
Tournament 22/1 chance Wright is priced at 7/2 for a 4-2 victory.
Gary Anderson (4) v Cristo Reyes (PQ)
Reyes is only the second preliminary qualifier to reach the last 16 of the PDC World Championship, and he has certainly gained new found respect and fanbase following his shock win over top 20 players Wes Newton and Kevin Painter. He will also hope that his run can push the profile of darts in his native Spain.
However, the man from Tenerife (13/2 to win) next faces the daunting task of going up against one of the tournament favourites (9/2) in Anderson, who came through a tricky tie with Jelle Klaasen, and is heavily odds-on at 1/12 for victory.
Dean Winstanley (26) v Vincent van der Voort (23)
This is the closest encounter of the night in terms of odds provided by Coral and seedings. BDO runner-up in 2011 Winstanley (evens) will be hoping to belie his 1-4 losing record against Van der Voort (odds-on favourite at 4/5).
The Dutch Destroyer, who whitewashed wonderkid German Max Hopp in the last round, has beaten Winstanley at this tournament before 4-2, and is a tempting 9/2 shout to win by that scoreline again.
Adrian Lewis (3) v Raymond van Barneveld (14)
With the closest encounter according to Coral ending the afternoon, the tastiest duel of the day opens the evening session. Double winner of this event Lewis (odds-on favourite at 4/9) takes on five-time champion of the world Van Barneveld (7/4) in a match you mustn’t miss.
These colossi of the game have faced each other a whopping 38 times before, with Barney (20/1 tournament chance) winning exactly twice as many of those duels than Jackpot (6/1 fourth-favourite).
Remarkably, though, this will be their first meeting at the World Championship. They have however, collectively gained three nine-darters in this event over the years, so take tempting odds of 16/1 for one of them to do so again.
Phil Taylor (2) v Kim Huybrechts (18)
The immortal Taylor (7/4 tournament favourite) and greatest player of darts that ever has been and ever will be has been in devastating form this tournament, having yet to drop a set and averaging over 100 in both matches so far.
Huybrechts knows he is up against the odds (9/2 to win) and statistics against The Power (odds-on at 1/7), having lost all of his six encounters with him. Taylor is a more enticing 9/4 chance to beat the Belgian 4-0.
Stephen Bunting (27) v Michael Smith (22)
Reigning BDO World Championship winner Bunting (16/1 fifth-favourite) knows he has what it takes to go all the way in the PDC version of the event too, having easily overcome modern darting great James Wade in round two.
The Bullet (4/7) goes up against friend Smith (11/8) next in a St Helens battle, but has lost both meetings with him. Expect Bunting to continue his run, though.