Over the last 17 years just three men – John Part, Raymond van Barneveld and Adrian Lewis – have won the Ladbrokes World Championship besides the dominant Phil Taylor. On Monday, eight others will begin their bids to join that list…
Andy Hamilton to beat Antonio Alcinas @ 2/5
The only Spaniard in this year’s competition faces a struggle getting through the first round after being paired with 17th seed Hamilton, a semi-finalist in 2007 who rarely struggles to reach the final 32.
The Hammer made it through his opener last year 3-0, the same margin that Alcinas was beaten by against James Wade, so a repeat of that outcome is an appealing prospect at 3-0.
Per Laursen to beat Petri Korte @ 2/5
Neither of these two are into the first round yet, and are instead fighting for the right to participate in a daunting first-round tie with 8/1 tournament third favourite Wade.
Of the pair, Laursen is the one who has been here before, dumping out former champion Part in last year’s edition, and that experience is likely to give the Dane the edge over his Scandinavian counterpart.
Mervyn King to beat Geoff Kime @ 1/12
The King isn’t a stranger to early exits at Alexandra Palace but even so, the East Anglian’s problems usually start in the second round rather than the first.
In fact, he has won his opening encounter 3-0 in each of the last three years, and is 10/11 to maintain that streak against his Australian opponent.
Kevin Painter to beat Aaron Monk @ 4/9
Though he was shown up at this stage 12 months ago by Brendan Dolan, the Artist has had a lot of success at the World Championship.
He reached the 2004 final against fierce rival Taylor and the final four in 2008, dumping out holder Raymond van Barneveld en route, and should banish last year’s disappointment against Monk.
Accumulator odds greater than 14/1 are offered for Laursen and Painter to win and Hamilton and King to triumph 3-0.