Raymond van Barneveld battled back to defeat Ryan Meikle and set up a mouth-watering third-round showdown against Gerwyn Price at the Cazoo World Darts Championship on Tuesday.
Van Barneveld – making his landmark 30th World Championship appearance – was struck down by food poisoning earlier in the day, but he displayed all his fighting qualities to reach round three at Alexandra Palace for the first time in four years.
Meikle edged past Lisa Ashton in round one, and ‘The Barber’ had the scalp of another multiple World Champion in his sights after securing the opening set with a ton-plus average.
The five-time World Champion responded in emphatic fashion, reeling off three straight legs in 13, 14 and 12 darts to level proceedings – boasting a stunning set average of 115.92.
The Dutch veteran then came through a crucial third-set decider to establish control, and with Meikle visibly deflated, Van Barneveld rattled through set four in serene fashion to seal a 3-1 success.
“I’m really pleased with this victory. I had to dig in and work hard to win this game,” said Van Barneveld, who averaged 95, landed seven 180s and converted 50% of his attempts at double.
“My willpower to win this game was enormous, but all credit to Ryan, he played an amazing game tonight.”
Van Barneveld will now take on top seed and 2021 World Champion Price in a blockbuster third round tie, having claimed a brace of victories over the Welshman at last month’s Grand Slam of Darts.
“I love Gerwyn. I always love to see him play. He is a fighter.
“I have got a lot of respect for Gerwyn, but I believe in myself, I’m playing well and I cannot wait to play against the world number one.”
The Cazoo World Darts Championship is being broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK & Ireland, through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and Viaplay, and on PDCTV (excluding UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria & Switzerland based subscribers).
Tuesday December 20
3x First Round, 1x Second Round
Jim Williams 3-2 Sebastian Bialecki (0-3, 3-1, 2-3, 3-0, 3-1) (R1)
Jimmy Hendriks 3-1 Jamie Hughes (2-3, 3-1, 3-2, 3-1) (R1)
Ricky Evans 3-1 Fallon Sherrock (1-3, 3-2, 3-2, 3-2) (R1)
Raymond van Barneveld 3-1 Ryan Meikle (1-3, 3-0, 3-2, 3-0) (R2)
Wednesday December 21
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
2x First Round, 2x Second Round
John O’Shea v Darius Labanauskas (R1)
Martijn Kleermaker v Xicheng Han (R1)
Callan Rydz v Josh Rock (R2)
Dave Chisnall v Andrew Gilding (R2)
Evening Session (1900 GMT)
4x Second Round
Mervyn King v Danny Baggish (R2)
Gabriel Clemens v William O’Connor (R2)
Michael van Gerwen v Lewy Williams (R2)Stephen Bunting v Leonard Gates (R2)
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