2017 William Hill World Championship – Day Seven Preview
Wednesday December 21 (7pm)
Zoran Lerchbacher v Simon Stevenson – Preliminary Round
- Zoran Lerchbacher is returning to the PDC World Championship for the 2nd time having made his debut 3 years ago where he defeated Ben Ward in the prelim round before losing 3-0 to the eventual champion Michael van Gerwen in round one.
- Lerchbacher qualified for three European Tour events during 2016, reaching the last 32 at the Austrian Darts Open and European Darts Trophy. His best match performance in those tournaments was a 6-2 win over Joe Murnan where he averaged 94.55.
- Simon Stevenson is appearing at the PDC World Championship for the first time. This is his first full year on the PDC tour having won his tour card at Q School last January.
- Stevenson reached his first PDC ranking quarter-final in August at a Players Championship tournament where he defeated James Wade and Alan Norris along the way before losing to James Wilson.
- On his Players Championship Finals debut at the end of November he lost in the opening round, but had led Jelle Klaasen 4-2 in their best of eleven leg match.
Mensur Suljovic (8) v Ron Meulenkamp
- Mensur Suljovic is appearing at his 10th World Championship tournament, it’s his 9th time at the PDC World Championship; he made his World Championship debut at the Lakeside in 2002.
- His best performance in the PDC World Championship came last year when he reached the last 16 before losing to Adrian Lewis. Prior to last year he lost 3 consecutive first round matches at the World Championship.
- Suljovic has beaten some big names in World Championship matches, notably Michael van Gerwen, James Wade and Peter Manley. Suljovic was the last player to beat van Gerwen in the first round of this tournament.
- In September he won his first PDC ranking tournament when he defeated Kim Huybrechts 6-5 in the final of the International Darts Open.
- He has appeared in three further finals since then including reaching his first TV tournament final at the European Championship in October, during that tournament he won back to back matches against Phil Taylor and Peter Wright.
- Ron Meulenkamp is competing at the PDC World Championship for the 2nd time, matching his two appearances at the Lakeside during his time in the BDO.
- He has lost in the first round in each of his three World Championship appearances so far. On his PDC debut two years ago he exited the tournament against Mark Webster.
- At the recent Players Championship Finals he registered notable wins in back to back matches against Stephen Bunting and Gary Anderson.
Head to Head (Suljovic leads 1-0)
There has been just one previous meeting between Suljovic and Meulenkamp, this was way back in 2009 at a Players Championship tournament and Suljovic won 6-5.
James Wade (6) v Ronny Huybrechts
- James Wade is competing at his 15th consecutive World Championship tournament (13th in the PDC following 2 appearances in the BDO).
- Despite being a multiple major champion Wade has yet to appear in a World Championship final, his best efforts so far have been two semi-final appearances (he lost to Adrian Lewis in 2012 and Michael van Gerwen in 2013).
- Wade has a very consistent record of getting through the opening rounds; he hasn’t lost in the opening round since the 2006 World Championship (10 consecutive first round wins) and has appeared in the quarter-finals in 7 of the last 9 years.
- Seven of Wade’s last nine defeats at the World Championship have been against players who have won a World Championship (either before or since).
- Wade hasn’t yet registered a match average of over 100 in a World Championship match; though he came very close against Devon Petersen three years ago when he averaged 99.92.
- Ronny Huybrechts is appearing in the PDC World Championship for the 4th consecutive year since making his first round debut in a defeat against his brother Kim at the 2014 tournament.
- He has won his first round match in each of the last two years (winning against Andy Smith and Dean Winstanley), only for Peter Wright to end his tournament in the second round on both occasions.
Head to Head (They are level with 2 wins each)
Wade and Huybrechts have shared two wins each in their four previous meetings, but both of the last two matches have gone the way of Ronny Huybrechts, including a 6-4 at the 2014 European Championship in their only prior TV meeting. This is the first time they have faced each other since September 2015.
Robert Thornton (9) v Lerchbacher/Stevenson
- This is Robert Thornton’s 11th World Championship appearance (his 9th consecutive appearance in the PDC World Championship).
- He made two quarter-final appearances in the BDO and his best showing in the PDC has also been a run to the quarter-finals (at the 2015 World Championship).
- Last year he was beaten 3-0 in the first round by Alan Norris, it was the first time he had lost in the first round at the PDC World Championship and in fact all of 9 of his World Championship match defeats prior to last year came against top 8 seeded players.
Head to Head
Robert Thornton played Simon Stevenson in April at a Players Championship tournament and won that encounter 6-1.