Jan Dekker out of his depth at Alexandra Palace
Hot Scots Gary Anderson and Robert Thornton top the bill
Sky Sports Arena, from 12.30pm Saturday
The saltire will be flying above Alexandra Palace as Scottish heavyweights Gary Anderson and Robert Thornton make their entrance at the William Hill World Championship.
Two-time champion and second seed Anderson tops the Saturday night bill, while Thornton is the star turn in the afternoon, both men playing winners of preliminary round ties.
Brendan Dolan v Alan Ljubic
Head-to-head: No meetings
It’s going to be a subdued start to Saturday at the Palace as Brendan Dolan endeavours to turn back the clock against pint-sized Croatian Alan Ljubic.
Dolan, who scraped through the qualifiers – and was hammered by Ted Evetts in the final - could find it tough against doughty left-hander Ljubic.
The Croat, who won the Eastern European qualifiers, is a soft-tip star who certainly won’t be fazed by a slow pace. He can easily take a set off the former Grand Prix finalist. The winner plays Robert Thornton.
A Ljubic +1.5
2pts 5-4 bet365
Benito van de Pas v Steve West
H2H: Van de Pas leads 3-1
The bell is set to toll for Big Ben, whose time at the worlds this year could be short-lived.
The Dutchman with the ungainly throw is a horribly inconsistent player, which makes him hard to predict but also easy to oppose, especially at odds-on.
At the Grand Prix, for example, he produced the performance of round two, dropping just two legs in a masterclass against Gerwyn Price. Two days later he won just two legs in a simply abject effort against Simon Whitlock.
Local lad Steve West is all about rhythm and if he gets into it he can take anyone apart.
2pts 6-4 bet365
Mervyn King v Zoran Lerchbacher
H2H: King leads 2-0
Mervyn King has won both his showdowns with Austrian Zoran Lerchbacher this year and should plod his way to a hat-trick.
Less troubled by his back issue over the shorter distance, King is fairly relentless and will get the key breaks when they matter. That said, Lerchbacher has reached a tour final this year, won on his debut on this stage 12 months and can keep The King detained.
Over 16.5 legs
2pts 10-11 Betfair
Jeff Smith v Luke Humphries
H2H: No meetings
Canada’s former BDO finalist, Jeff Smith, is a smooth operator and knows the big stage, and that extra nous could be invaluable against youngster Luke Humphries.
Having said that, Humphries has consistently beaten some really strong players this year to win the Development Tour and Smith looks short enough. Gary Anderson awaits the winner at the end of the night.
Joe Cullen v Jermaine Wattimena
H2H: Wattimena leads 1-0
This is a game which could well go the distance – and that still may not take too long.
These are two brisk players and whether the irritatingly inconsistent Joe Cullen is any sort of value at short prices is open to question.
He looks a million dollars when it clicks – as it did when he won twice on the floor this year – but Jermaine Wattimena did well at the Players Championship Finals earlier this month, winning two matches with averages in the high-90s before taking Steve Beaton the distance.
Over 16.5 legs
2pts 5-6 Betfred
Jelle Klaasen v Jan Dekker
H2H: No meetings
Jan Dekker was whitewashed by Adrian Lewis on his only appearance at Alexandra Palace and it's easy to see it happening again.
A double BDO world semi-finalist, Dekker is making a big a step up again against compatriot Jelle Klaasen, who will throw big scores and roof-raising combinations at him.
J Klaasen to win & score highest checkout
1pt 7-5 Betfair
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