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Raymond van Barneveld through as World Championship draw opens up


Raymond van Barneveld rolled back the years to reach the third round of the PDC World Darts Championship with a 3-1 victory over Radek Szaganski.

The 56-year-old Dutchman – a five-time world champion – booked his post-Christmas place at Alexandra Palace and may fancy his chances of going further in the tournament with Peter Wright and James Wade eliminated from his section of the draw.

Van Barneveld next plays Welshman Jim Williams, the conqueror of two-time world champion Wright, and could meet teenage sensation Luke Littler in the last 16.

“Of course I look at it (the draw) but it gives you more pressure, right?” Van Barneveld told Sky Sports after averaging 99.81 and resisting a strong Szaganski recovery after the Pole had lost the opening two sets.

“Peter Wright has gone, James Wade has gone, but, hey, there’s a little guy named Luke Littler. Come on, he’s fantastic.

“I had a bad start. When I was practising backstage I never missed a treble. I’m thinking ‘all right’, but my finishing was really good and I’m really happy with this game.

“But it’s still not my A game and I can do a lot better.”

Peter Wright has gone, James Wade has gone, but, hey, there’s a little guy named Luke Littler. Come on, he’s fantastic.

Raymond van Barneveld

Chris Dobey, the current Masters champion, beat William O’Connor 3-2 in a match of high scoring and high quality.

The pair produced 17 180s – 10 for Dobey and seven for O’Connor – as the game swung one way and then the other into a final set.

Dobey, who this week celebrated the birth of his son Chester, held his nerve to win the decider 3-1 and finished with a match average of 103.09, his best at Alexandra Palace.

Florian Hempel ended Dimitri van den Bergh’s tournament hopes for the second time in three years.

Van den Bergh, the number 15 seed and World Championship semi-finalist 12 months ago, raced into a two-set lead after losing the first two legs of the match.

But Hempel stormed back to win 3-2 and will play Stephen Bunting or Ryan Joyce in round three.

Hempel’s fellow German Martin Schindler overcame Jermaine Wattimena 3-1.

Schindler dominated most of the match but Wattimena had the consolation of a 170 checkout in the third set.



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