2017 William Hill World Championship – 27th December Preview
Tuesday December 27
Afternoon Session (1pm)
Mensur Suljovic (8) v Mark Webster (25)
- Mensur Suljovic won 3-0 in the first round against Dutchman Ron Meulenkamp. From 2-0 down in the opening set Suljovic won seven consecutive legs to take control of the match, and then recovered from being a break down to win the third set.
- It was a far from sparkling performance from Suljovic; he averaged 88.51 and won just one of his legs in under 16 darts, it was only the second time Suljovic has averaged under 90 in a televised tournament in nearly eighteen months (excluding double start at the World Grand Prix).
- This is the second year in a row that he has reached the second round and overall it’s his third second round appearance at the PDC World Championship. He won both previous matches at this stage of the tournament (against David Pallett in 2015 and James Wade at the 2011 World Championship).
- Mark Webster had a 3-0 win over Joe Murnan in the opening round. Webster’s finishing against Murnan was the most impressive of any player in the first round; he only missed two attempts giving him a double success percentage of over 81%.
- His excellent finishing included a checkout of 129 which extended his record of now having a ton plus checkout in each of his last 18 World Championship matches.
- Webster’s scoring in the first round didn’t match his doubling, his average over his first nine darts was just 87.87 (the lowest of any player who made it through to the second round).
- This is the seventh occasion in eight PDC World Championship appearances that Webster has made it through to the second round, last year he defeated Terry Jenkins 4-0 at this stage of the tournament.
Head to Head (Webster leads 6-2)
Mark Webster has good record against Mensur Suljovic having won each of their last six meetings, including victories in their two previous matches in televised tournaments. Earlier this year they met in the last 16 at the UK Open where Webster won 9-5 and they also faced each other in the first round of the 2014 World Championship where Webster came from behind to defeat Suljovic three sets to two.
Robert Thornton (9) v Daryl Gurney (24)
- Robert Thornton had a 3-0 win over preliminary round winner Zoran Lerchbacher in round one. It was a match littered with missed doubles and Thornton’s double success percentage of 23% was the lowest of any player who won through to round two.
- Thornton’s match average of 88.55 against Lerchbacher was his lowest average at the World Championship for seven years.
- He has made it through to the second round at the PDC World Championship seven times previously and has won five and lost two of those matches; the last two times he reached the second round he won without dropping set.
- Daryl Gurney won 3-1 against Jermaine Wattimena in an entertaining match to reach the second round.
- Gurney’s scoring against Wattimena was very impressive; his first nine dart average of 116.51 was bettered only by van Gerwen during the round one matches.
- This is the third time he has reached the second round at the PDC World Championship; he previously lost to Gary Anderson and Dave Chisnall at this stage of the tournament in good quality matches. Gurney hit a total of twenty 180s across those two matches (9 against Anderson and 11 against Chisnall).
Head to Head (Thornton leads 3-0)
Robert Thornton has triumphed in all three of their previous meetings; their most recent encounter was back in October 2015 at the World Grand Prix where Thornton won 2-0 in the opening round on his way to winning the tournament.
Dave Chisnall (7) v Chris Dobey
- Dave Chisnall came from a set down to win 3-2 in a highly entertaining and tough first round match against Rowby-John Rodriguez. Between them they hit a total of sixteen 180s which was the highest total of any first round match.
- Chisnall impressively won the deciding set 3-0, with two eleven dart legs on his own throw sandwiching a 141 checkout to break the Rodriguez throw.
- Overall he has reached the second round at the PDC World Championship four times previously and has lost just once (that loss was against Benito van de Pas two years ago). Last year in the second round he hit twelve 180s in a 4-1 win over Christian Kist.
- Chris Dobey had a 3-1 win over number 26 seed Justin Pipe in the first round.
- The win against Pipe was Dobey’s first ever World Championship match.
- Dobey had missed darts at double to win the match 3-0 and then had to survive missed darts from Pipe which would have taken the match into the deciding set.
- Dobey hit three ton plus checkouts against Pipe, including back to back 100 and 105 finishes at the start of the 4th
Head to Head (Dobey leads 2-1)
Dave Chisnall and Chris Dobey have met three times previously (all three matches were played in 2016) and Chris Dobey has won two of those games. When they met in March at the German Darts Masters, Dobey hit seven 180s and averaged 102.25 in a 6-4 win. This will be the first time they have played in a major televised tournament.
Evening Session (8pm)
Raymond van Barneveld (12) v Alan Norris (21)
- Raymond van Barneveld impressed in a 3-0 win over Robbie Green in round one. The highlight of his performance was a 156 finish in the opening set.
- He is through to the second round at the PDC World Championship for the tenth time and has never lost in his previous nine matches at this stage of the tournament.
- In each of the last three years he has won 4-3 in the second round, those wins were against Bunting and Caven (twice).
- Another interesting stat is that each of van Barneveld’s last six World Championship matches played over the best of seven sets have gone all the way to a last leg decider (Barney won five of those matches).
- Alan Norris had to come from two sets behind to win 3-2 in his first round match against John Michael.
- Norris struggled on his doubling for much of his match against Michael; his double success percentage of 28.95% was the second lowest of any player who made it through to round two.
- He has now made it through to the second round in each of his two appearances at the PDC World Championship, last year at this stage of the tournament he won 4-1 against Joe Murnan on his way to reaching the quarter-finals.
Head to Head (van Barneveld leads 3-0)
All three of their previous encounters have been won by Raymond van Barneveld, the most recent of which was at a Players Championship tournament in September when van Barneveld won 6-2. This will be the first time they have met in a major ranking tournament.
Phil Taylor (4) v Kevin Painter
- Phil Taylor dropped just two legs in a comprehensive 3-0 victory over David Platt to extend his record of never having lost in the first round at a World Championship,
- Taylor averaged 101.93 against Platt, which was the eighth time in his last ten World Championship matches that he has averaged over 100.
- Taylor has lost just 1 of his 55 matches against unseeded players at the PDC World Championship; the sole defeat was against Dave Chisnall in their second round match at the 2012 World Championship.
- Three of Taylor’s last four defeats at the World Championship have been in best of seven set matches. Those defeats came against Michael Smith, Dave Chisnall and Jelle Klaasen.
- Kevin Painter defeated number 29 seed Jamie Caven 3-1 to earn his spot in round two. From one set all and 2-0 down in the third set Painter won six legs in a row.
- Painter progressed through to the second round with the lowest average of any winning player in round one. His average of 85.13 was also his second lowest average ever at the PDC World Championship.
- Painter is appearing in the second round for the thirteenth time in his 16 PDC World Championship appearances, he has exited the tournament at this stage in each of the last two years (losing to Taylor and Reyes).
Head to Head (Taylor leads 31-1)
Kevin Painter defeated Phil Taylor the first time they met, all the way back in 2001 at the World Grand Prix. Since then Taylor has won each of the last 31 matches between the pair. They have played five times previously at the World Championship, including famously in the 2004 final when Painter pushed Taylor all the way into a last set decider. This is only the second time they have played each other since 2012 and indeed the first time since they met at this stage during the 2016 World Championship when Taylor won 4-1.
Michael van Gerwen (1) v Cristo Reyes (32)
- Michael van Gerwen dropped just one leg in a very convincing 3-0 win over Kim Viljanen in round one, his average of 103.34 against Viljanen was the highest in the first round of any player.
- That win increased van Gerwen’s winning streak to 23 consecutive victories since losing to Daryl Gurney at the German Darts Championship in October.
- Since losing to van Barneveld in the last 16 at the 2016 World Championship van Gerwen has now won 35 consecutive matches in PDC televised ranking tournaments.
- In the second round last year at the World Championship he produced his highest ever average in a World Championship match (109.23 in a 4-0 win over Darren Webster).
- Cristo Reyes had to recover from a set down to win 3-2 and overcome the strong challenge of Dimitri Van den Bergh in their round one match where the Belgian hit nine 180s.
- The clinical doubling of Reyes was a vital factor in his win over Van den Bergh, overall Reyes hit 63.16% of his attempts, which was the third best percentage of any player who progressed to the second round.
- This is the second time Reyes has appeared in the second round at the World Championship having also done so on his debut two years ago. On that occasion he made a comeback from three sets to one down to defeat Kevin Painter 4-3.
Head to Head (van Gerwen leads 2-1)
Cristo Reyes won their first ever encounter when he triumphed 6-3 at a Players Championship tournament in April 2015, van Gerwen has exacted his revenge since then winning both subsequent meetings. The most recent time they played was at the 2015 European Championship when van Gerwen won 10-3 in the last 16.