Three tips and a 5/1 treble as the darts returns.
Gerwyn Price v John Henderson - 19:15
Kicking off the evening’s action at a packed Alexandra Palace, the back-to-back Grand Slam champion, Gerwyn Price returns to action as he takes on the big scot, John Henderson.
The no.3 seed, Gerwyn Price had to pull out all the stops in a nerve-wracking second round encounter against William O’Connor in his opening match of the tournament - a game which had to be settled in extra-time.
Price’s average of 90.98 was well below the standards that he’d previously set over the course of 2019, but the Welshman appeared relieved to get over the line, considering he was eliminated in round one 12 months ago in a defeat to Nathan Aspinall, who notably went on a surging run to the semi-finals.
Unbelievably, this is only the second time that Price has reached the last 32 in five attempts. Price previously defeated Ian White at this stage, before losing out to an on-song Michael van Gerwen in the last 16 back in 2017.
As for Henderson, the scot made light work of James Richardson in round two, dropping just three legs in a complexing 3-0 win over the Northamptonshire thrower.
During the win, Henderson recorded an average of 93.34 and an impressive checkout rate of 36%.
The Highlander is aiming to win consecutive matches at a World Championship tournament for just the second time. Reaching the last 16 two years ago, which included an impressive win over Daryl Gurney before losing out 4-1 to Rob Cross.
Given Price’s five-star quality, Henderson can still potentially cause the Welshman some early problems and it will have sets in it, with Price emerging victorious.
Gary Anderson v Nathan Aspinall - 20:15
In a mouth-watering last 16 tie, former two-time world champion, Gary Anderson takes on the reigning UK Open champion, Nathan Aspinall in what’s expected to be a fascinating encounter.
Anderson was made to work during his hard-fought 4-3 win over Ryan Searle in round three - the Scot really had to up his level of performance, averaging 99.85 in coming from 3-1 behind to edge out the Devon thrower, who produced an immense level of performance in defeat.
In terms of recent meeting against Aspinall, the pair have only ever met twice before. Aspinall was victorious in their most recent meetings little over two months ago, winning 6-3.
As for Stockport’s Aspinall, the UK Open champion and world no.12 enjoyed a narrow 4-3 win over Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski in what was one of the matches of the tournament so far.
The odds were stacked against Aspinall as the world no.12 surrendered a 3-1 lead as Ratajski levelled things up at 3-3 before Aspinall produced a ruthless display in the final set, averaging 104.86 with 3/7 on the doubles, piling the pressure on the pole. Aspinall took the deciding set 3-0 to book his place in the last 16 for a second consecutive year.
Both Anderson and Aspinall recorded similar averages during their respective victories in round three, hitting 13 maximums between them. With both players boasting impressive checkout statistics (46.88% vs 42.86%) - it should be a high-quality bout which should feature several moments of real quality, 180’s and high finishes.
This encounter most definitely has sets in it and potentially could be another seven-setter.
Michael van Gerwen v Stephen Bunting - 21:15
As the evening draws to a close at Alexandra Palace, reigning world champion takes on former BDO World champion, Stephen Bunting in a mouth-watering last 16 tie.
The defending champion cemented his place in round three, seeing off Ricky Evans in straight sets. The score-line didn’t quite reflect the quality of the match as it wasn’t all plain sailing for the green machine as three out of the four sets went to a fifth and deciding leg with Evans missing darts to win sets three and four.
Van Gerwen fired in ten maximums en route, but overall his scoring wasn’t up to his usual ridiculously good standards and his match average of 96.75 wasn’t vastly different to the one recorded in his opening victory over Jelle Klaasen on the opening night of the tournament.
It’s the first time that the van Gerwen has averaged below a ton in two consecutive World Championship matches since December 2014.
As far as head-to-head’s go, van Gerwen has dominated this particular fixture, winning 14 of their last 15 meetings. In their previous two meetings this year, which both came on the PDC European Tour stage, van Gerwen was the comfortable winner, winning 6-1 on both occasions.
As for Bunting, the Bullet makes it to the last 16 at the PDC World Championship for the first time since his debut at Alexandra Palace in 2015 - in which he went on to reach the quarter-finals in a dream debut year.
Bunting progress into round three with an unexpected 4-0 whitewash victory against an out-of-form Jonny Clayton. It was a victory which was differential to his opening victory over Jose Justicia, in which the Spaniard pushed Bunting into a deciding set.
Bunting’s checkout rate of 35.29% during the Clayton win was poor in comparison to the 43.75% he recorded during the win over Justicia although it’s worth noting that Bunting’s performance levels vastly improved - upping his average by almost five points in the last two sets.
Both van Gerwen and Bunting are maximum-hitting machines on the oche. The green machine produced ten maximums during his 4-0 win over Evans, whilst Bunting fired in five 180’s during his whitewash win over Clayton.
Expectedly, there’ll be a barrage of 180’s with over 11.5 @ evens proving to be excellent value.