The Main Event
Tournament favourite Luke Humphries returns to the Alexandra Palace stage tomorrow night vowing to improve on his opening performance at the PDC World Darts Championship.
Humphries has enjoyed a stellar 2023, winning the World Grand Prix, the Grand Slam of Darts and the Players Championship Finals. He beat Lee Evans 3-0 in his second-round match but the scoreline flattered Humphries with his opponent only hitting five of 24 shots at a double.
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“I was not at my best but the most important thing is it felt good, and the first game is always the toughest,” Humphries told Sky Sports.
“I am through to the next round and I won’t play the same in the next round. I am not disappointed because I won 3-0 which is what I wanted.
“I feel like that is the hardest game in the whole tournament to get through, so I’m happy and in the next game I will be so much better than that.”
We’ve already seen some huge upsets in Round 2 at the World Championship! ❌ Which one was the biggest surprise for you so far?! pic.twitter.com/ey55GKrnCR— houseofdarts (@houseofdarts180) December 26, 2023
Humphries plays Ricardo Pietreczko, who has beaten Mikuru Suzuki and Callan Rydz to reach the last 32.
Also in action tomorrow is Stephen Bunting, who leads the averages so far having hit 107.28 to see off Ryan Joyce.
Bunting said: “To have the highest average going into Christmas is fantastic, but it doesn’t win you the title, so I know the hard work starts now and I’ll be raring to go after the break.”
The 2021 semi-finalist plays Florian Hempel while Gerwyn Price opens the evening session by taking on veteran Northern Irishman Brendan Dolan.
Order of play (all matches in round three)
Afternoon session (from 1230 UK time)
Florian Hempel v Stephen Bunting
Joe Cullen v Ryan Searle
Ross Smith v Chris Dobey
Evening session (from 1900 UK time)
Gerwyn Price v Brendan Dolan
Luke Humphries v Ricardo Pietreczko
Ricky Evans v Daryl Gurney
How to watch
The PDC World Championship is being screened on Sky Sports in the UK.
You can watch the afternoon session on Sky Sports Arena and Sky Sports Main Event from 1230. The evening session is on Sky Sports Arena and Sky Sports Main Event at 1900.
Humphries is likely to improve markedly on his opening performance and if he gets on a roll, and the crowd gets on Pietreczko’s back, it could be a very one-sided encounter. Go for Humphries in straight sets.
Bunting should prove too strong for Hempel, and Price will have too much for Dolan but the other games are close to call.
Gurney ought to edge out Evans, and I’d pick Searle and Dobey to also go through.