World Darts Championship: Dirk Van Duijvenbode Set For Ultimate Test Against Michael Van Gerwen

World Darts Championship: Dirk Van Duijvenbode Set For Ultimate Test Against Michael Van Gerwen

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Wayne Mardle looks ahead to Friday at the World Darts Championship

Wayne Mardle looks ahead to Friday at the World Darts Championship

Dirk van Duijvenbode will take on Michael van Gerwen in an all-Dutch fourth-round encounter knowing he will have to average well over a ton and play at his very best to stand any chance of an upset win at the World Darts Championship.

Van Duijvenbode came through to win a tie-break thriller in a record-breaking clash with Ross Smith with a remarkable 31 180s between the pair in an epic encounter at Alexandra Palace.

His reward is a meeting against Van Gerwen on Friday evening, with ‘Mighty Mike’ hoping to continue his quest to land a fourth world title and his first here since 2019 having battled past an inspired Mensur Suljovic on Wednesday.

Van Duijvenbode and Ross Smith set a new best-of-seven-sets record at Alexandra Palace. They hit 31 180s in their third round epic, including an individual record for Smith

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Van Duijvenbode and Ross Smith set a new best-of-seven-sets record at Alexandra Palace. They hit 31 180s in their third round epic, including an individual record for Smith

Van Duijvenbode and Ross Smith set a new best-of-seven-sets record at Alexandra Palace. They hit 31 180s in their third round epic, including an individual record for Smith

Friday, December 30 – Fixtures (1900 GMT)

Rob Cross vs Chris Dobey (R4)
Michael van Gerwen vs Dirk van Duijvenbode (R4)
Luke Humphries vs Stephen Bunting (R4)

“I need to do well because if you don’t play well, I don’t have a chance,” Van Duijvenbode told Sky Sports’ Michael Bridge. “I can average over 100 every game but I need to do it in two games, otherwise I’ve got no chance.

“If he plays like he did against Suljovic then I need to go over a 100 average, which I’ve been doing this year as well, but he’s obviously the favourite and he’s playing well.

“If I play well, I stand a chance, if I’m not playing well then I don’t have a chance.”

He added: “It’s going to be fantastic for the neutral watching but I’m not happy with the way I’m playing at the moment. My proper game is in there but I’m not showing it and I 100 per cent need to show it otherwise I’m out.

“The match depends on how we throw but the pressure will be more on him. If I lost to Michael in Holland people would say ‘you lost to the best player’.

“The pressure will be more on him but he can handle it – that’s the problem.”

Van Gerwen was left shell-shocked after Mensur Suljovic hit an incredible 161 checkout to win the fifth set after the Dutchman had opted against the bullseye for a 121 to win the match

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Van Gerwen was left shell-shocked after Mensur Suljovic hit an incredible 161 checkout to win the fifth set after the Dutchman had opted against the bullseye for a 121 to win the match

Van Gerwen was left shell-shocked after Mensur Suljovic hit an incredible 161 checkout to win the fifth set after the Dutchman had opted against the bullseye for a 121 to win the match

Van Gerwen, the three-time world champion, survived a major scare against Suljovic, despite posting a stunning 107.66 average and landing a dozen 180s.

He even refused the option of going for the bull on a 121 combination to complete a 4-1 success, but Suljovic conjured up an astonishing 161 skin-saver to reduce the arrears to 3-2.

Friday, December 30 – Fixtures (1230 GMT)

Kim Huybrechts vs Dimitri Van den Bergh (R4)
Gabriel Clemens vs Alan Soutar (R4)
Michael Smith vs Joe Cullen (R4)

MVG almost achieved the unthinkable at the 2012/13 World Championship, hitting 17 perfect darts in his semi-final win over James Wade

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MVG almost achieved the unthinkable at the 2012/13 World Championship, hitting 17 perfect darts in his semi-final win over James Wade

MVG almost achieved the unthinkable at the 2012/13 World Championship, hitting 17 perfect darts in his semi-final win over James Wade

However, Van Gerwen eventually crashed in a 14-darter to close out a classic after which he said: “I feel really comfortable, I feel good, and to win the way I did, that gives me extra motivation and confidence.

“If you want to win this tournament you have to battle through all circumstances and it gives me pleasure winning games like this. There could only be one winner and that was me luckily.”

Watch the 2023 PDC World Darts Championship – live on Sky Sports Darts – through to the final on January 3.

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