Day one of the PDC World Darts Championship from London's Alexandra Palace. Phil Taylor will begin his title defence against the victor of Rob Szabo's clash with Ian Moss.
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Sky Sports 1 HD
|Sky Sports 1 HD|
With plenty of big names running into form at the right time, the stage is set for a rare old battle at the Ally Pally, says Wayne Mardle.
Despite Phil Taylor's continued darting dominance, there's a dozen players capable of winning this year's World Championship, says Sky Sports expert Wayne Mardle.
Grand Slam of Darts offers a good indicator of the form of the players ahead of December's showpiece event and Taylor proved he is in form after overcoming the likes of Gary Anderson, Adrian Lewis and Robert Thornton to claim the title.
But then he was blown away by Michael van Gerwen in the final of the Players Championship last week, the Dutchman producing one of his trademark power runs after initially falling behind to the World Champion.
"There's more names in the mix," Mardle told Sky Sports.
"Before the Grand Slam of Darts there wasn't many. Before the tournament there was Lewis, Michael van Gerwen and Taylor - but now there's James Wade who played superbly [there].
"Gary Anderson, for me, is the one that has really shot up the rankings and has a chance of being a world champion for the first time.
"He came into [The Grand Slam] with no form whatsoever and played Taylor, had a brilliant game and lost with a 106 average. Before that he produced a 107 and 111 average.
"There's so many now with a chance - and don't forget Robert Thornton either. He's going to be tough to beat.
"We've just seen the quality through the whole of the Grand Slam. Darts is in a real good spot at the moment and there are so many good players.
"If 25 per cent play like that at the Worlds then the last eight could be something incredible."
To read more about the PDC World Championship, visit skysports.com.
Michael van Gerwen blew Phil Taylor away in last week's final of the Players Championship