Kim Huybrechts produced one of the best performances in the first round of the PDC World Championship and can make quick work of Max Hopp at Alexandra Palace on Wednesday.
Some pundits felt the Belgian had one of the toughest ties when he was paired with James Wilson in the opening round but the Yorkshireman was dismissed with ease. Huybrechts eased to victory in straight sets, averaging almost 99, and his 138 finish to seal victory was a fitting end to an impressive display.
Whether he can go all the way to clinch a first televised title remains a doubt but as a former World Cup of Darts and Players Championship finalist, Huybrechts has the pedigree to reach the latter stages of the tournament.
Speaking after his first-round win, the 31-year-old said: “I’m really happy. To play James Wilson in the first round is not a present so I’m really delighted with how it went. I’m not setting any targets. I will just take it one game at a time and see how far I can get.”
Hopp was also an impressive first-round winner as he knocked out 20th seed Vincent van der Voort with a 3-1 win and he is 19/10 for another upset. Reading too much into that result may not be wise, though, given that Van der Voort was troubled by a back injury and suggested after the match that he may be forced to retire from the sport.
Huybrechts last faced the German youngster in the European Darts Trophy last year when he cruised to a 6-0 win and although the 20-year-old may have improved since then, he should have his work cut out here. With that in mind, Huybrechts to lose no more than one set appeals at 6/5.
In the second match of the day, James Wade (above) is 19/20 to also drop no more than one set against Steve Beaton, having looked in good nick against Ronny Huybrechts in the first round. Checkouts of 141 and 120 were the highlights of a 3-0 win and he suggested he is in confident mood.
“I’ve been playing well,” he said afterwards. “My chances here are nothing to do with my results in other tournaments. What I’ve being doing in practice is a little bit special and it stands me in a good place for the rest of the tournament.”
Defending champion Gary Anderson is yet to drop a set and is 187/100 to extend his perfect record when he faces Benito van de Pas, who survived a missed match dart from Terry Jenkins to scrape through in the last round.
Jelle Klaasen has won his three most recent meetings with Northern Ireland’s Brendan Dolan by an aggregate set score of 17-7 and is 3/10 to progress while Peter Wright is 2/1 for another straight-set victory when he faces Jamie Lewis of Wales.