July 19, 2024

Raymond van Barneveld ‘not afraid’ of Luke Littler in clash of the darting generations at PDC World Championship | Darts News

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Five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld set up a last-16 showdown with teenage sensation Luke Littler at this year’s PDC World Darts Championship thanks to a 4-1 win over Jim Williams; watch every dart of this year’s World Championship live on Sky Sports

Last Updated: 29/12/23 6:02pm

Raymond van Barneled and Luke Littler clash in the last 16 at the World Darts Championship

Raymond van Barneled and Luke Littler clash in the last 16 at the World Darts Championship

Raymond van Barneveld is relishing a clash of the darting generations against Luke Littler but is adamant he fears no player at the PDC World Darts Championship.

The five-time Lakeside and PDC world champion sealed his place in the last 16 of this year’s tournament with a 4-1 victory over Jim Williams on Friday afternoon, setting up a showdown with the 16-year-old sensation on Saturday evening.

Van Barneveld has been impressed by what he has seen from the teenage debutant at the Alexandra Palace so far and cannot wait to face him but is not unnerved by Littler or any other opponent.

Raymond van Barneveld says he's not worried about facing anyone including Luke Littler and believes he has the form to beat him

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Raymond van Barneveld says he’s not worried about facing anyone including Luke Littler and believes he has the form to beat him

Raymond van Barneveld says he’s not worried about facing anyone including Luke Littler and believes he has the form to beat him

“I’m thinking ‘wow, what a quality player,” Van Barneveld told Sky Sports Darts. “To do this on such a high level, that’s quality.

“He will definitely get his tour card next year, he’s an amazing player, but I don’t play players, I play the board.

“I’m not afraid of Michael van Gerwen, I’m not afraid of (Luke) Humphries, I’m not afraid of Phil Taylor, I’m not afraid of Luke Littler.

“But to beat these guys, you’ve got to produce quality and that’s what I’m going to do. I’m one of the last to get through to the last 16, so we get back to the hotel, do some press work and focus on the next match.”

Raymond van Barneveld beat Jim Williams 4-1 and says he's delighted to face the 'amazing' Luke Littler next

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Raymond van Barneveld beat Jim Williams 4-1 and says he’s delighted to face the ‘amazing’ Luke Littler next

Raymond van Barneveld beat Jim Williams 4-1 and says he’s delighted to face the ‘amazing’ Luke Littler next

Van Barneveld was 23 when he made his World Championship debut at the Lakeside in 1991 – two years prior to the World Darts Council, the forerunner of the PDC, being formed, and 16 before the birth of his fourth-round opponent.

The Dutchman’s last world title came on New Year’s Day in 2007 when he beat 16-time world champion Taylor 7-6 in a sudden-death epic in what would prove to be the final PDC World Championship to be held at the Circus Tavern.

That was also a mere 20 days before Littler was born and although the reigning PDC World Youth Champion is not old enough to have witnessed any of Van Barneveld’s world title triumphs he has always looked up to one of the game’s greats.

“Raymond would be unbelievable to play against,” Littler said after his 4-1 win over Matt Campbell in the last 32. “Obviously the crowd have got to pick and choose who they want on their side.

Luke Littler says he would love to play Raymond van Barneveld in the fourth round and teases a nine-darter is lurking in him

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Luke Littler says he would love to play Raymond van Barneveld in the fourth round and teases a nine-darter is lurking in him

Luke Littler says he would love to play Raymond van Barneveld in the fourth round and teases a nine-darter is lurking in him

“Raymond is a true hero of the game – I’d love to play Raymond.

“I spoke to him in the hotel, and him and Michael van Gerwen said keep your head up, keep focused.”

Van Barneveld acknowledged he will have to produce a better standard than he did against Williams, however, if he is to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2018 and bring Littler’s fairy-tale run to an end.

He beat the Welshman despite averaging just 89.16 compared to Williams’ 91.71, with a 36 per cent success rate on the doubles.

Mark Webster and Dan Dawson discuss how far they believe Luke Littler could go in this year's World Championship and how tougher opponents could cause him some problems

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Mark Webster and Dan Dawson discuss how far they believe Luke Littler could go in this year’s World Championship and how tougher opponents could cause him some problems

Mark Webster and Dan Dawson discuss how far they believe Luke Littler could go in this year’s World Championship and how tougher opponents could cause him some problems

Littler, meanwhile, has averaged over 90 in each of his three wins so far and produced a staggering average of 106.12 as he blanked former Lakeside champion Christian Kist in the first round.

“He [Williams] missed some crucial doubles and let me in, but I never played my A-game,” Van Barneveld said. “I was thinking ‘Ray, you can do a lot better than this’ – it never felt comfortable.

“I will love to play Luke Littler. When I was 16, I was playing with Lego and Playmobil! We didn’t have internet or whatever.

“This guy is something else. It’s from a different level and will focus on the match. I can’t wait to face Luke Littler.

“I know I can produce a lot better, but I will have to be quality against this young man.”

Watch the World Darts Championship all the way until the final on January 3, 2024 – live on Sky Sports Darts. Stream Sky Sports with a NOW Sports Month Membership





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