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2018 PDC World Darts Championship Preview and Draw

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After Monday's final qualifying event, the 2018 PDC World Darts Championship line-up is now complete, with the tournament taking place between December 14th and January 1st at the Alexandra Palace in London.

The event promises to be bigger than ever before, with the prize fund up to a whopping £1,800,000 and a £400,000 cheque going to the winner. In addition, there will be more nations represented than ever before at 24, including the first ever Brazilian to qualify for a world championship in Diogo Portela.

Among the 72-man field, there is one outstanding favourite. Reigning champion Michael van Gerwen will be aiming to win the event for a third time, and when at his best, he is a level above the rest. He will come into the tournament on a hot run of form, having won four televised events all in the space of a month recently. That said, the set-play format used at the Worlds makes it one of the most unpredictable major events on the PDC circuit. Van Gerwen could potentially come unstuck against an opponent in inspired form, like against Gary Anderson in 2015 and Raymond van Barneveld in 2016. He faces fellow Dutchman and former BDO world champion Christian Kist on what should be an explosive opening night to the championships.

File:Michael van Gerwen - 2017253222714 2017-09-10 PDC German Darts Grand Prix (GDGP) - Sven - 1D X MK II - 1717 - AK8I6371.jpg

Either Anderson or legendary 16-time world champion Phil 'The Power' Taylor are likely to be van Gerwen's biggest threat. Anderson is a two-time champion himself, and despite personal issues and inconsistent form this year, he can almost always be relied upon to have a long run at the Worlds.

Taylor will be retiring after the tournament and therefore will be especially determined to win back the crown he last won in 2013. While Taylor is not the player he was a few years ago, he is still capable of moments of magic; for example, this summer, on his way to winning his final World Matchplay title, he demolished van Gerwen 16-6, a thrashing that no other player has dished out to 'Mighty Mike' since he became one of the world's elite players. Both face potentially tricky opening ties, Anderson against Jeff Smith or Luke Humphries, and Taylor against Chris Dobey, but should they get through those, the path is clear for them to clash in the quarter-finals.

Image result for phil taylor darts

Behind them, Peter Wright, Daryl Gurney, Mensur Suljovic and Rob Cross are all dark horses. Wright, Gurney and Suljovic all won their maiden televised titles this year, and while Cross hasn't yet triumphed in front of the TV cameras, he is seen as one of darts' next big stars. His first year as a professional has been nothing short of spectacular, winning four PDC ProTour titles and reaching the final of the European Championships. With the rankings system calculated on a two-year basis, Cross is only seeded 20th, but despite this, he is certainly capable of making it far in the competition. Former PDC world champions Raymond van Barneveld and Adrian Lewis will also be looking to roll back the years and show that they are still at the top of their game.

Away from the big guns, there are some outstanding young talents who could do well at Ally Pally. Ted Evetts is yet to really make his breakthrough in the PDC, but performed exceptionally to win the final qualifying tournament and earn his place in the main draw, hitting averages of over 100 on numerous occasions. The 20-year-old faces former professional rugby player Gerwyn Price in an early match-up, and could potentially meet van Gerwen in the 3rd round if he plays his best darts.

Similarly, Dimitri Van den Bergh has had an up and down year but looks like he is coming into form at just the right time. The recently-crowned World Youth champion will be up against 21st seed and 2014 Lakeside champion Stephen Bunting in a tie which promises to be a tight, high-quality affair which could be one of the highlights of the first round.

Image result for pdc world darts championship

Draw in full:

Preliminary round:

 

 

Willard Bruguier III

V

Cody Harris

 

 

Alan Ljubic

V

Brendan Dolan

 

 

Seigo Asada

V

Gordon Mathers

 

 

Kenny Neyens

V

Jamie Lewis

 

 

Alexander Oreshkin

V

Kevin Munch

 

 

Xiao Chen Zong

V

Bernie Smith

 

 

Jeff Smith

V

Luke Humphries

 

 

Kai Fan Leung

V

Paul Lim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Round (seeding in brackets)

 

(1) Michael van Gerwen

V

Christian Kist

 

 

(32) James Wilson

V

Krzysztof Ratajski

 

 

(16)Gerwyn Price

V

Ted Evetts

 

 

(17) Ian White

V

Bruguier III / Harris

 

 

(8) Dave Chisnall

V

Vincent van der Voort

 

 

(25) Steve Beaton

V

Willie O Connor

 

 

(9) Raymond van Barneveld

V

Richard North

 

 

(24) Kyle Anderson

V

Peter Jacques

 

 

(4) Daryl Gurney

V

Ronny Huybrechts

 

 

(29) John Henderson

V

Marko Kantele

 

 

(13)Michael Smith

V

Steve Lennon

 

 

(20)Rob Cross

V

Asada / Mathers

 

 

(5)Mensur Suljovic

V

Kevin Painter

 

 

(28)Robert Thornton

V

Ljubic / Dolan

 

 

(12)Jelle Klaasen

V

Jan Dekker

 

 

(21)Stephen Bunting

V

Dimitri van den Bergh

 

 

(2)Peter Wright

V

Diogo Portela

 

 

(31)Johnny Clayton

V

Neyens / Lewis

 

 

(15)Alan Norris

V

Kim Viljanen

 

 

(18)Kim Huybrechts

V

James Richardson

 

 

(7)Adrian Lewis

V

Oreshkin / Munch

 

 

(26)Cristo Reyes

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