PDC World Darts Championship 2020/21: Dimitri Van den Bergh through as Simon Whitlock whitewashed
Krzysztof Ratajski, Ryan Searle and Dimitri Van den Bergh progressed to the last 16 of the World Darts Championship after impressive wins on Sunday afternoon.
After the Christmas sabbatical, 32 players remained in the hunt for the Sid Waddell Trophy. That number dropped to 29, after Ratajski, Searle and Van den Bergh overcame Simon Whitlock, Kim Huybrechts and Jermaine Wattimena respectively.
Sunday afternoon’s third round results
Three more will progress in the evening session, with a star-studded line-up including reigning champion Peter Wright and world No 1 Michael van Gerwen.
Sunday evening’s line-up!
Live World Darts Championship
December 27, 2020, 6:00pm
Dimitri dances into fourth round
The World Matchplay champion is impressively going about his business in the top half of the draw, moving through the rounds with minimal fuss. On this form, he looks like a real contender.
Seeded ninth, the Belgian star blew Jermaine Wattimena away to set up a date with Dave Chisnall or Danny Noppert in the last 16.
The 26-year-old took the spoils in a topsy-turvy opening set, in which just one leg went on throw. From there, however, he found his groove and had far too much firepower for ‘The Machine Gun’, storming into a 3-0 lead.
He gathered pace as the finish line came into sight, winning the final set without dropping a leg.
The Dream-Maker finished with an average of 97.33, and hit 12/26 on doubles. Crucially, it appears he has a few more gears.
Polish Eagle soars into the last 16
Is this going to be the week that Krzysztof Ratajski finally delivers at a major televised event? The Polish Eagle is widely regarded as one of the most strong players on the Pro Tour, but as of yet has failed to fulfil his potential on the big stage.
That could be set to change.
The 15th seed stormed into an early two-set lead against Simon Whitlock, without truly hitting his peak. The Australian had an uphill task, knowing that his opponent was operating far from his best.
Whitlock was uncharacteristically inaccurate on the outer ring, offering Ratajski a route back into legs which he had no right to win.
The Warsaw native was only too pleased to oblige, taking advantage while not firing on all cylinders.
The 2010 runner-up finally clicked into gear in the third set, taking the stanza to a deciding leg. However, heavy scoring when it mattered from Ratajski laid the foundations for a crucial hold of throw to take a 3-0 lead, after Whitlock missed D20 for a Shanghai finish.
It appeared to break the Australian’s resistance. Ratajski won an early leg against the darts in the fourth set. However, the former Premier League star dug deep and forced a decider, throwing to peg one set back.
But emblematic of the entire match, Whitlock fluffed his lines on the finish, and the Polish star gladly cleaned up on D4 to set up a fourth-round date with Peter Wright or Gabriel Clemens.
Six out of 29 on doubles told the sorry tale for Whitlock, whose impressive 2020 ends on a sour note.
Too much Christmas dinner I think, well that’s my excuse 🙈🤫🤫. Some things are meant to be and some things best left. I appreciate all your support this year and let’s hope we all have a better 2021 🙏. 👍 @Winmau @ModusDarts180 @VansdirectUK @SportsCentreAus @DJShopDarts 👋👋
Searing Searle secures safe passage through
Kim Huybrechts was arguably the player of the tournament coming into the third round, having hit three-figure averages in wins over Di Zhuang and Ian White.
But it was Ryan Searle who hit the ground running, as the Hurricane averaged under 80 in the opening set. ‘Heavy Metal’ showed his intent from the early stages, going for the bull for a 170 out-shot when his opponent was not on a finish.
The Englishman eased into a 1-0 lead, under minimal pressure. From there, both players raised the tempo, and Huybrechts finally settled, winning three quickfire legs in the second set to level it at one apiece.
However, the pendulum swung once more, and Searle rattled off five legs without reply to seize control of the match. He moved into a 3-1 ascendancy after Huybrechts failed to win the leg despite having a shot at D12 for a nine-darter.
Lesser players may have lied down after such adversity, but Huybrechts bounced straight back to win the fifth set. The Belgian star then looked set to take it all the way to a decider, throwing first at 2-2 in the sixth set. However, he missed two shots at tops, and Searle took advantage to seal a 4-2 triumph.
Coverage from Alexandra Palace continues every day through to Sunday, January 3. You won’t miss a single arrow by tuning into our dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel!
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