The third round of the PDC World Darts Championship continues inside the Alexandra Palace on Thursday evening when three more matches take place as a couple of potential champions take to the stage looking for a spot in the last 16.
Among the six players we have on show on Thursday evening we have three TV tournament winners and another major finalist, a rising star from Germany and one of the more entertaining players in the game on what should be another great night of darts.
Gerwyn Price vs Brendan Dolan
The first match onto the stage sees the former champion Gerwyn Price looking to make it through to the last 16 when he goes up against a Brendan Dolan who came through a titanic tussle in his opening match and will not want to waste his good work.
Price has won on this stage before but we shouldn’t forget that was when the tournament was behind closed doors and it was perfectly evident in his post-match interview after his win over Connor Scutt that the crowd continues to be on his mind after the shenanigans of last year. They were fine with him in that match with Scutt but if they get involved in this one then Dolan has to be considered a chance. I certainly don’t think that can be ruled out. These two have met in this tournament three years ago when Price won a deciding set and that will surely given Dolan the encouragement that he can win this one. I sense that this is going to be harder than the odds would suggest and I think there is a bit of value in taking Dolan with the 2.5 set start. He averaged 95.13 in five extended sets against Mickey Mansell of which two of the sets were over 100 average. If he has two of them sets here he can take two sets even if the crowd don’t give him some assistance.
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Luke Humphries vs Ricardo Pietreczko
The second match of the night sees the pre-tournament favourite Luke Humphries taking to the stage when he goes up against the sole remaining German player in the field in the form of the European Tour event winner Ricardo Pietreczko.
Humphries has already seen fellow title challengers Michael Smith, Michael van Gerwen, Rob Cross and Stephen Bunting lay down a marker in this round and now he gets the chance to remind everyone why bookmakers had him down as the favourite before a dart was thrown. Humphries did offer up some chances to Lee Evans in the previous round though and was lucky not to lose a set or two and that will keep the German interested. Pietreczko has played well in two awkward matches in this tournament and the reward for doing so is a free crack at the event favourite. Pietreczko has taken Humphries the distance in two of their three matches so he isn’t going to roll over but you just fancy the more established seed will have too much scoring power to get over the line here. I’d like to see a convincing display from him as favourite though because I start backing him so I’m happy to leave this one alone.
Ricky Evans vs Daryl Gurney
The last match of what looks like a decent evening of darts sees two men who impressed in the second round facing off when Ricky Evans looks to make it through to the last 16 of the event at the expense of Daryl Gurney..
Evans has won two matches at this tournament and hasn’t dropped a set yet. He averaged 92 and change in beating Simon Adams in the first round before finishing with an average of a shade under a ton in a match where he allowed Nathan Aspinall just two legs. If he has that level with him here he is very much a danger but Gurney will come into this one with plenty of confidence himself after a very good performance against Steve Beaton in the previous round, where he averaged over 100 and looked back to something like the best form we have seen from him. On that form Gurney could go far here so something has got to give. I think this will be an entertaining match and a close match. I don’t see either winning this without dropping a set as they are probably going to have bursts of their best stuff so I see this one going six sets and more and if that is the case the 12.5 180s line looks very low. Evans hit four in 11 legs against both Adams and Aspinall while Gurney hit eight in his win over Beaton. If we get six sets then we’re looking at a 180 each per set with one on top and that feels very viable to me.
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Back him here:
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