After a brief interlude for Christmas, the PDC World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace enters top gear when the action resumes on Tuesday afternoon.
For the top players, surviving the pre-turkey cull is the key in the opening stages but this is where it all starts to get a little more serious.
Top seed Michael van Gerwen and reigning champion Gary Anderson headline Tuesday and Wednesday night respectively and will be expected to make serene progress. Both should be in cruise control at this point.
There are some intriguing last-32 games on Tuesday afternoon, none more so than a clash between 2012 UK Open winner Robert Thornton, seeded nine, and Northern Ireland’s Daryl Gurney.
Despite being seeded 24, it is the latter that has the tag of favourite for this one.
Thornton, a proven performer on the Premier League stage and in major television tournaments, is 23/20 to win the match and looks worth siding with. Having suffered a shock first-round loss 12 months ago, ‘The Thorn’ admitted to feeling some pressure in his opener against Zoran Lerchbacher.
He came through 3-0 and can surely be more relaxed now. On his game, Thornton is a match for anyone and he can oust Gurney.
Tuesday’s action begins with former Lakeside world champion Mark Webster facing number eight seed Mensur Suljovic.
Having lost the first two legs against Dutchman Ron Meulenkamp in his opener, the Serb dropped only two more in the entire match as he won 3-0. Suljovic is throwing with genuine consistency and should be able to move onto the last-16 with a win, priced at 10/21 with ComeOn!
Cristo Reyes faces the daunting task of a match against Michael van Gerwen on Tuesday evening.
MVG wasted little time in round one and he is 1/100 to win this tussle. Reyes was pushed to the wire in his first-round match and the value here can be had in backing the world’s best player to win 4-0 at odds of 1/2 with ComeOn!
World champion Anderson hasn’t dropped a set in moving through two rounds and the Flying Scotsman has also seen Terry Jenkins and Justin Pipe eliminated in his section of the draw. Perhaps the biggest danger is Dave Chisnall, but he looked out of sorts in round one.
Anderson is 2/3 with ComeOn! to win his quarter of the draw and the two-time defending champ looks booked for at least a semi-final appearance as things stand.
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