PDC world darts: Littler extends fantastic run, Williams surprises Noppert

The dream PDC World Championship debut of teenager Luke Littler continued as he defeated Andrew Gilding to advance to the third round. The 16-year-old captured attention at Alexandra Palace by defeating Christian Kist and followed it up with a 3-1 victory over the 20th seed, Gilding. Despite being 37 years younger than Gilding, Littler demonstrated greater composure in the first two sets, with Gilding failing to hit double with his darts twice in the second set.

Littler faced a setback in the third set, but Gilding couldn’t capitalize on his opportunities, allowing the teenager to secure a spot in the last 32 against Matt Campbell. Littler, speaking to Sky Sports, said, “When I went 2-0 up, I lost all my energy. When Andrew got the set back, I was just thinking, ‘Just try and win it’ because I don’t want to go 2-2 on this stage. I was nervous as it is. I don’t know how I got over the line, but I’ve done it.”

The seventh seed, Danny Noppert, suffered a comprehensive 3-0 defeat by Scott Williams, who narrowly missed a nine-dart finish. Gabriel Clemens, a semi-finalist from last year, defeated Man Lok Leung from Hong Kong 3-1. The night concluded with the 10th seed, Damon Heta, securing a 3-1 victory over Martin Lukeman, who was not performing well.

In an earlier match, former champion Rob Cross secured his place in the third round with a less than convincing 3-0 win against Thibault Tricole. Tricole struggled with nerves, missing 13 attempts at double in the first set. Although he managed to go up two legs in the next set, Cross fought back and showcased his class with an impressive 114 checkout to take a 2-0 lead. Cross, the eighth seed and 2018 winner, easily won the third set and will continue competing after Christmas.

Zong Xiao Chen started the proceedings of day seven with a 180 on his first three darts and followed it up with a superb 128 bullseye checkout in the next leg. However, Mickey Mansell proved superior and advanced to the second round with a 3-0 victory. Mansell averaged 89.94 and will face fellow Northern Irishman Brendan Dolan in round two.

In the final round one clash of the championships, debutant Berry van Peer caused an upset by eliminating England’s Luke Woodhouse with a 3-2 victory. Despite Woodhouse landing six maximums, he was defeated by the Dutchman Van Peer in a high-quality match. Van Peer, making his first appearance at Alexandra Palace after battling with dartitis, regrouped impressively after missing two match darts at 2-1 up. He landed double 10 in the decider to secure his place in round two.

The No. 32 seed, Madars Razma, will face defending champion Michael Smith in the third round after his 3-1 win against Mike de Decker.

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