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Article: 2009 World Darts Championship Preview

2009 World Darts Championship Preview

THE 2009 World Darts Championship begins on Friday night, with 70 players starting out in the battle for the sports biggest ever prize.

Stars from 22 countries will be battling for £740,000 in prize money at London^s Alexandra Palace, with the champion on Sunday January 4 taking home a record £125,000 cheque, as well as the prestigious trophy.

Canada^s John Part begins the defence of his title amongst five matches to be played on the opening night, and believes that retaining the trophy would rank as the finest moment of his career.

"To retain the title would be probably my greatest achievement," said Part.

"It^s always an honour to win the World Championship but retaining the title is perhaps harder and very few players have done that, so it would be special."

Part is taking nothing for granted in his all-north American clash with Philadelphia^s Davis, who previously competed two years ago in the World Championship.

"I^ve known Bill for many years," said Part. "He^s used to a shorter format in America so this may suit me but he^s got plenty of experience on stage in the last couple of years and will be a challenge.

"I^ve not seen him for a few months so I^ll have no idea what his form is like. I know he can play well and he^ll probably be more comfortable playing me because I^m a player he knows well."

Phil Taylor, the 13-time World Champion, begins the tournament as 1/2 favourite with sponsors - despite not having picked up the title since 2006.

Having been beaten in a sudden-death leg of the final by Raymond van Barneveld two years ago, Taylor lost in the quarter-finals of last year^s tournament against Wayne Mardle to end a disappointing 2007.

However, he has roared back this year, claiming a fourth successive Premier League Darts title and wins in 19 of 26 tournaments he has entered - including record-breaking displays in claiming the World Matchplay and European Championship.

"I feel great and I think I^m playing better than I^ve ever done," said Taylor. "I^m more relaxed and really looking forward to it.

"In my mind, you^re only as good as your next tournament. It doesn^t matter what my record this year is - I lost the last tournament in Germany.

"I don^t like losing but it has made me feel a bit hungrier for the World Championship.

"I^m very confident and if I don^t win the World Championship this year I want a kick up the backside, because I^ve been in great form this year and want this so much."


takes on qualifier Steve Grubb on Saturday evening in his opening game, and said: "Steve^s a good player and I know him from the circuit.

"He^s obviously done well to qualify but it^s hard to know what to expect from him when he gets up there."

Grubb, a publican from Somerset by trade, has never competed in a major tournament before but said: "If I can handle the occasion, who knows what might happen.

"I^m as confident as I can be and my practice and preparation as been good, and I^m looking forward to the occasion.

"Every player dreams of taking on Phil Taylor in the World Championship and this is my chance. Hopefully I can take it."

World number three James Wade, who has won three major titles since mid-2007, is the 7/1 third favourite ahead of his opening clash with Northern Ireland^s Brendan Dolan on Tuesday, and is looking to put a disappointing autumn behind him.

"I^ve proven what I can do time and again but I^ve been going through a bad patch so I^m due a good run," said Wade.

"It^s massively important because it^s the biggest tournament in the world. It^s the pinnacle of our game and I would love the title to be mine.

"I feel that my chances are better than they have been for the last three or four months, I’ve put some extra work in and am trying hard."

Raymond van Barneveld, the PDC world number two who has reached just one televised final in 2008, at the World Grand Prix, has enlisted the help of Mervyn King in his preparations.

King has powered into the PDC^s top 16 this year, reaching semi-finals in the World Grand Prix and Grand Slam of Darts in the process, and travelled to Holland for three days of intensive practice with van Barneveld this week.

The tournament will also feature the debut of Russian star Anastasia Dobromyslova, the 2008 Women^s World Champion who recently joined the PDC circuit and takes on Holland^s Remco van Eijden in the preliminary round on Sunday.

She succeeds Gayl King - who took the first set from Graeme Stoddart in their 2001 clash before succumbing to a 3-1 first round defeat - as only the second female to compete in the PDC^s World Championship, but is avoiding the hype surrounding her appearance.

"All I am concentrating on is my practice and preparing myself physically and mentally, because it will be the biggest tournament I will ever play and I want to do well," she said.

"Every player who^s good has to work really hard - it^s hard work in any sport. But if I^m be good enough I^ll beat my opponent, so it^s fair play."

Alongside defending champion Part, Friday^s opening session will feature the meeting of 2007 semi-finalist Andy Jenkins and Co Stompe, who defeated Taylor recently in the final of the German Darts Championship.

Spanish newcomer Red Dragon Darts

Carlos Rodriguez takes on Roland Scholten - who has been battling to overcome a shoulder injury in the second half of 2008 - in the opening game of the tournament, while another former semi-finalist, Wayne Jones, faces Scotland^s Robert Thornton.

New Zealander Warren French and Japanese national champion Akihiro Naghakawa also clash, in the first of six preliminary round games which will take place in the tournament^s first four days. World Darts Championship

Latest Odds (Selected Players, full odds available at

Phil Taylor 1/2

Raymond van Barneveld 6/1

James Wade 7/1

Andy Hamilton 33/1

Adrian Lewis 33/1

Terry Jenkins 33/1

Mervyn King 40/1

Robert Thornton 40/1

Alan Tabern 50/1

John Part 50/1

Schedule of Play (Pre-Christmas matches only)

First Round (Preliminary Round games denoted by (P))

Friday December 19

7.10pm Roland Scholten v Carlos Rodriguez

8.15pm Warren French v Akihiro Nagakawa (P)

9.00pm Wayne Jones v Robert Thornton

10.00pm John Part v Bill Davis

11.00pm Andy Jenkins v Co Stompe

Saturday December 20

12.40pm Terry Jenkins v Dennis Smith

1.45pm Hannes Schnier v Shi Yongsheng (P)

2.30pm Kevin Painter v Matt Clark

3.30pm Dennis Priestley v French/Nagakawa

4.30pm Barrie Bates v Felix McBrearty

7.10pm Alan Tabern v Steve Beaton

8.15pm David Fatum v Shane O^Connor (P)

9.00pm Michael van Gerwen v Darin Young

10.00pm Phil Taylor v Steve Grubb

11.00pm Alex Roy v Kevin McDine

Sunday December 21

1.10pm Mark Walsh v Jamie Caven

2.15pm Charles Losper v Sudesh Fitzgerald (P)

3.00pm Mark Dudbridge v Nick Fullwell

4.00pm Wes Newton v Per Laursen

5.00pm Denis Ovens v Steve Maish

7.10pm Andy Hamilton v Michael Barnard

8.15pm Remco van Eijden v Anastasia Dobromyslova (P)

9.00pm Wayne Mardle v Fatum/O^Connor

10.00pm Raymond van Barneveld v Mark Stephenson

11.00pm Peter Manley v Mensur Suljovic

Monday December 22

7.10pm Chris Mason v John MaGowan

8.15pm Marko Kantele v Lourence Ilagan (P)

9.00pm Adrian Lewis v Russell Stewart

10.00pm Colin Lloyd v Jelle Klaasen

11.00pm Mervyn King v Schnier/Yongsheng

Tuesday December 23

12.40pm Andy Smith v Tony Ayres

1.45pm Adrian Gray v Paul Nicholson

2.45pm Kirk Shepherd v Jan van der Rassel

3.45pm Tony Eccles v van Eijden/Dobromyslova

7.10pm Ronnie Baxter v Kantele/Ilagan

8.15pm Colin Osborne v Losper/Fitzgerald

9.15pm James Wade v Brendan Dolan

10.15pm Vincent van der Voort v Nandor Bezzeg

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