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Jon Riley 13th Dec 2012 - 16:34

World Darts Championship - Preview

Lewis Chasing World Darts Championship Hat-Trick

Adrian Lewis begins his bid to complete a World Darts Championship hat-trick on Friday night as he faces Dutch ace Gino Vos when the £1 million, 15-day tournament commences at Alexandra Palace.
Lewis has scooped the £200,000 title for the last two years at the North London venue, defeating Gary Anderson and Andy Hamilton in the respective finals, and is looking to write his name into the history books over the festive period.

No player in the sport's history has won their first World Championship and gone on to take three successive titles, but the Stoke ace is confident that he can claim further glory on New Year's Day.
"It's going to be very tough but it means everything to me to be called World Champion," said Lewis. "To win a third straight title would be a massive honour for me because it's not been done by a first-time winner before. I'm full of belief and I'll be doing everything to try and keep my title. I've had a patchy year but my form's coming good again as we get towards the World Championship, as it has done for the last two years. I've been practising really hard and I can't wait to get on stage against Gino Vos now. I'm going to go up there fully focused and enjoy it."

Lewis' challenge in the recent Players Championship Finals was disrupted when wife Sarah went into labour with their son Matthew, forcing the world number two into travelling back and forth from Stoke for the birth between his games with Richie Burnett and Phil Taylor.

"It was a hectic weekend but it was well worth it," said Lewis. "I probably only had four or five hours sleep in a couple of days and I didn't know what day of the week it was to be honest - it was a whirlwind! It's taken a big weight off my shoulders and it was a fantastic feeling, and I want to go on stage now and win the World Championship for him. Having him at home has been a great boost and I've even got involved with changing a few nappies!"

The tournament's first night also feature's June's UK Open champion Robert Thornton, who plays Swedish number one Magnus Caris in the opening fixture.

Former World Championship quarter-finalists Paul Nicholson and Co Stompe meet in another first round clash, while 2004 runner-up Kevin Painter plays the winner of the preliminary round contest between Germany's Andree Welge and Hong Kong's Leung Chun Nam.

Phil Taylor, the 15-time World Champion and favourite, will open his challenge against Northern Ireland's Michael Mansell on Saturday evening.

"It would mean a massive amount to win the World Championship title again," said Taylor. "I've been practising really hard and working to make sure I peak at the right time. Everybody's nervous in the first round but I love it and I get excited every time I go up there. I've got a massive chance but there are so many good players now and the standard's gone through the roof, so it's a great challenge."
Three-time World Champion John Part - the first Alexandra Palace winner after the tournament moved to the historic London venue in 2008 - also plays on Saturday when he faces youngster Joe Cullen.

Dave Chisnall, who knocked Taylor out in the second round last year, plays Australian Shane Tichowitsch on Saturday, while former semi-finalist Terry Jenkins meets Steve Brown in the afternoon session and World Youth Champion James Hubbard makes his debut in the senior event against Richie Burnett.

Anderson and Hamilton, the last two World Championship finalists, come into the fray on Sunday night alongside five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld, who plays emerging youngster Michael Smith.

World number three James Wade and two-time semi-finalist Mark Webster are in action on Monday, while Tuesday's clashes feature number six seed Wes Newton against debutant Johnny Haines and Mervyn King's clash with Dean Winstanley.

Dennis Priestley, the PDC's first World Champion in 1994 who has qualified at the age of 62, is in action on Wednesday against Ronnie Baxter, with 2010 runner-up Simon Whitlock also returning to the stage where he reached the semi-finals last year.

The first round concludes on Thursday, with number seven seed Michael van Gerwen, the 4/1 second favorite after winning the World Grand Prix amongst eight tournament victories in 2012, stepping up to the oche.

Recent Players Championship Finals runner-up Kim Huybrechts - who reached the quarter-finals on his Alexandra Palace debut 12 months ago - will play Scott Rand, with the Belgian vowing to play despite the sudden death this week of his father.

The 2013 World Darts Championship will be the 20th since the formation of the PDC, with Taylor having won the title 13 times, Part and Lewis having won two titles apiece and Priestley and van Barneveld also having been crowned as champions.

Over 40,000 fans will attend the event live at Alexandra Palace, while Sky Sports live coverage in the UK being accompanied by 3D broadcasts for the semi-finals and final.

The broadcast coverage is also being screened live across Europe, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.

World Darts Championship
First Round Schedule of Play
Friday December 14 (7pm-12am)
1x Preliminary Round, 4x First Round

Robert Thornton v Magnus Caris
Andree Welge v Leung Chun Nam (P)
Paul Nicholson v Co Stompe
Adrian Lewis v Gino Vos
Kevin Painter v Welge/Chun Nam
Saturday December 15
Afternoon Session (12pm-5pm)
1x Preliminary Round, 4x First Round

Wayne Jones v Jerry Hendriks
Daryl Gurney v Robert Marijanovic (P)
Richie Burnett v James Hubbard
Terry Jenkins v Steve Brown
Andy Smith v Gurney/Marijanovic
Evening Session (7pm-12am)
1x Preliminary Round, 4x First Round

Dave Chisnall v Shane Tichowitsch
Max Hopp v Charl Pietersen (P)
John Part v Joe Cullen
Phil Taylor v Michael Mansell
Denis Ovens v Hopp/Pietersen
Sunday December 16 (7pm-12am)
1x Preliminary Round, 4x First Round

Brendan Dolan v Mark Jones
Jarkko Komula v Jani Haavisto (P)
Andy Hamilton v James Richardson
Raymond van Barneveld v Michael Smith
Gary Anderson v Komula/Haavisto
Monday December 17 (7pm-12am)
1x Preliminary Round, 4x First Round

Peter Wright v Arron Monk
Carlos Rodriguez v John Bowles (P)
Mark Webster v Ian White
James Wade v Peter Hudson
Jamie Caven v Rodriguez/Bowles
Tuesday December 18 (7pm-12am)
1x Preliminary Round, 4x First Round

Steve Beaton v Kyle Anderson
Lourence Ilagan v Jamie Lewis (P)
Wes Newton v Johnny Haines
Mervyn King v Dean Winstanley
Colin Osborne v Ilagan/J Lewis
Wednesday December 19 (7pm-12am)
1x Preliminary Round, 4x First Round

Justin Pipe v Andy Jenkins
Haruki Muramatsu v Dave Harrington (P)
Ronnie Baxter v Dennis Priestley
Colin Lloyd v Darin Young
Simon Whitlock v Muramatsu/Harrington
Thursday December 20 (7pm-12am)
1x Preliminary Round, 4x First Round

Mark Walsh v Darren Webster
Paul Lim v Mohd Latif Sapup (P)
Kim Huybrechts v Scott Rand
Vincent van der Voort v Stuart Kellett
Michael van Gerwen v Lim/Sapup



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