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World Darts Championship: Day seven preview

Three-time world champion Michael van Gerwen takes to the Alexandra Palace stage for the first time this year, hoping to show why he is favourite to take the title.

The Dutchman has looked back to his destructive best this season and gets his World Championship campaign underway against Welsh youngster Lewy Williams, who defeated Niels Zonneveld 3-0 in round one.

There is plenty more to look forward to on an action-packed day seven, however, as rising star Josh Rock meets last year's quarter-finalist Callan Rydz, while Gabriel Clemens and William O'Connor clash in what could turn into one of the matches of the day.

What: World Darts Championship
When: 15th December 2022 - 3rd January 2023
Where: Alexandra Palace, London
How to watch: Sky Sports
Odds: Michael van Gerwen 5/2, Michael Smith 5/1, Gerwyn Price 6/1, Peter Wright 9/1, Luke Humphries 14/1, Josh Rock 14/1, Jonny Clayton 20/1, Dimitri van den Bergh 25/1

Mighty Mike set for comfortable success

2022 has been a stellar season for Van Gerwen, who has taken titles at the Premier League, World Matchplay, World Grand Prix and Players Championship Finals to tell the likes of Peter Wright and Gerwyn Price that he is still the best player on the planet.

None of those will mean much to him if he can't add a fourth world title to his CV at the start of January, in which he is 5/2 to do so.

Mighty Mike has suffered just four defeats in his last 22 games and will be full of confidence having won the Players Championship Finals at the end of November, when he overcame Rob Cross in the final.

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Van Gerwen averaged over 100 in four of his six games at that event so 20-year-old Williams must be fearing an onslaught coming.

The Welsh youngster is 7/1 to spring a second-round upset but, despite averaging 92.81 in a 3-0 win over Zonneveld in his Ally Pally curtain-raiser, he knows he needs to raise his level.

Williams is capable and came ever so close to a famous nine-darter when wiring double 12 in that opening scalp.

However, his opponent had him under little pressure and if, as expected, MvG is firing on all cylinders then it could be a hard performance to repeat.

It feels as if the Green Machine is starting to hit more 180s now than ever before - he racked up 33 in six games at the Players Championship Finals - and the 8/13 that he hits more maximums than Williams is the way to approach this.

Rydz could rock emerging star

A breakthrough year on the PDC Tour has everyone excited about the future of Rock, who won the World Youth Championship and has also already won a title on the floor.

However, it is early days in his career and in next opponent Rydz, who made the quarter-final at Alexandra Palace last year, he faces a stern test.

Rock came past Jose Justicia 3-1 in round one, averaging 93.36 and growing stronger as the contest went on.

That means the Northern Irishman may be more settled for his second clash on the big stage, but improvements are still required.

This has the makings of a potential classic and there is little incentive to ride in on Rock at odds of 1/3.

Instead, the 9/4 on offer about this turning into a five-set battle makes most appeal. Rydz is only 24 years of age himself so still has the world at his feet and these two relentless scorers could well spur one another on.

Chisnall to hit the ground running

Dave Chisnall was a semi-finalist at Alexandra Palace two years ago and the 42-year-old from St Helens will be hoping he can enjoy another deep run at the World Championship.

First up for Chizzy is a second-round showdown with Andrew Gilding, and it's a test he can pass with flying colours at odds of 4/11.

Gilding limped past inexperienced Welshman Robert Owen 3-2 in round one, averaging just 88.43 and forcing only three maximums.

That makes the 20/21 on Chisnall to win the contest and hit the most 180s look like the best value on offer.

Hitting maximums is the world number 12's memo and if he is going to win, which he should do, then expect him to pile in the 180s.

O'Connor can conquer Clemens

O'Connor showed his game to be in excellent touch as he whitewashed women's world champion Beau Greaves in round one and having a match under his belt may stand him in good stead against giant German Clemens.

A 92.26 average and a 3-0 win over Greaves was mighty impressive from O'Connor given the pressure on him and the grief he received from the crowd.

But the Irishman conducted himself well and should have little to fear from Clemens, who has found wins hard to come by in recent months.

The German heads to Ally Pally with just one win from his last six matches, a run which features defeats to the likes of Ricardo Pietreczko, Jason Heaver and Kevin Doets.

At 4/5, given we know the state of his game, preference has to be for O'Connor to come out on top.

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