Two of the PDC’s most decorated players take to the oche this evening as the World Darts Championship enters day six.
Raymond van Barneveld will begin his campaign against Richard North, while Adrian Lewis will open up against either Aleksandr Oreshkin or Kevin Munch.
Big John Henderson faces International qualifier Marko Kantele in the evening’s opening first-round match.
We preview all three matches ahead of tonight’s action…
John Henderson v Marko Kantele
Henderson usually enters World Championship matches as the underdog.
In recent years he’s faced Andrew Gilding, Darren Webster, Vincent van der Voort and Dave Chisnall as a result of his lower-ranked status.
This year things are different. The 44-year-old has climbed to 29th in the PDC Order of Merit – thanks in no small part to his victory over Michael van Gerwen in the World Grand Prix.
However, the Scotsman won’t have it all his own way. This stage has proved tough for him in the past and this format should allow the Finn to pick up a set at 9/4. Henderson to be King of the Oche should also land at 15/8.
Raymond van Barneveld v Richard North
Despite rumours of retirement after his failed bid at the Alexandra Palace last year, Barneveld’s back.
And while the seeds have been dropping like flies at this year’s tournament, Barney should have the quality to edge through at 1/6.
North will be no pushover, though.
He beat Mark Webster in straight-sets in the Grand Prix and has reached the latter stages of five Players Championship events this year.
The Lionheart has made significant progress this season and if Barney isn’t in the mood, this match could spell trouble.
Adrian Lewis v Aleksandr Oreshkin/Kevin Munch
2017 has not been a very good year for Lewis.
‘Jackpot’ has been plagued by injury trouble and has slipped to seventh in the Order of Merit after making the quarter-final of just a single major tournament.
In short, he’s not the force that he used to be.
And with that in mind, Aleksandr Oreshkin and Kevin Munch will both smell blood.
The pair have both played on this stage before and will not be afraid of the two-time World Champion.
Lewis’ quality should show through, but whichever player makes it through the preliminary game could nick a set if the Stoke-slinger continues to under-perform on the big stage.
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All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication