Preview: PDC World Championship second round

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Sports Mole previews the second round of the PDC World Championship, which begins on Friday night at Alexandra Palace.

The opening week of the PDC World Championship has provided plenty of excitement and surprises, with seeds exiting the competition and two nine-darters being hit at Alexandra Palace.

The likes of Dave Chisnall, Terry Jenkins, Colin Lloyd and Ronnie Baxter have already been eliminated, and there is the prospect of more shocks being caused during the last 32 of the tournament.

Below, Sports Mole takes a look at the second round of the competition, as 32 players look to ensure that they will be returning to North London after Christmas.

The top three seeds

1. Phil Taylor vs. Michael Smith

Sixteen-time world champion Phil Taylor struggled during his first-round encounter with New Zealand's Rob Szabo, but he fought back from a set behind to move through to the last 32.

Taylor will be expecting a significant improvement in his mstch with Michael Smith, who will also be looking to make a positive impression after a disappointing display against Morihiro Hashimoto.

At the age of 23, Smith has the potential to become world champion in the future, but he will face a Taylor backlash on Friday night and it would come as no surprise if the Stoke-on-Trent thrower eases to a 4-0 win.

2. Michael van Gerwen vs. Kevin McDine

Last year's runner-up Michael van Gerwen eased through his first-round match as he looks to add to his growing list of major titles.

Former Grand Slam of Darts semi-finalist Kevin McDine came through a close battle with Wayne Jones, and on his day, the 28-year-old has the ability to make an impact against the world's best throwers.

However, Van Gerwen will be motivated to make amends for last year's final defeat, and the Dutchman should reel off a 4-0 or 4-1 triumph.

3. Adrian Lewis vs. Vincent van der Voort

Adrian Lewis produced a strong performance to dispatch of Dennis Smith on Wednesday night, not allowing the experienced thrower to have a shot at a double during their last-64 match.

Vincent van der Voort has endured a disappointing two years on the PDC Tour, but he will be encouraged with his victory over Matt Clark as he attempts to move back up the PDC Order of Merit.

The fast-paced Dutchman has won two of his three matches with Lewis in 2013, but the former world champion has been in scintillating form over the second half of the year and he should have little problem in advancing through to the third round.

Three potential upsets

1. Justin Pipe vs. Devon Petersen

South Africa's Devon Petersen caused one of the surprises of the first round to defeat Steve Beaton on his first television appearance since recovering from an arm injury.

Justin Pipe was involved in a sub-standard encounter with Arron Monk, but the world number 11 swept past the youngster as he looks to put himself in contention for a Premier League place at the start of next year.

Petersen is likely to start off quickly against his more experienced opponent, but should Pipe take one of the first two sets, he should have enough to move through to the third round.

2. Kim Huybrechts vs. Ian White

This encounter is worthy of being a last-16 tie, but one player is going to face exiting the competition before Christmas.

Kim Huybrechts hit back from a nervous start to defeat his brother Ronny in the first round, while Ian White survived a nine-darter from Kyle Anderson to record a 3-1 success over the Australian thrower.

The Belgian player will be favourite to come through against White, but if the Stoke-on-Trent man brings his 'A' game, this match has seven sets written all over it.

3. Mervyn King vs. Ricky Evans

Ricky Evans announced himself on the world stage with a comprehensive victory over Ronnie Baxter to continue to move towards the top 50 in the PDC Order of Merit.

King got the better of American Darin Young to earn his place in the last 32, and he will be expected to set up a potential third-round date with Adrian Lewis.

If Evans can build on his performance from Monday night, he has a chance of overcoming King, but the former Grand Prix runner-up should prove to be the more composed on the doubles than the 23-year-old.

Other selected ties

Raymond van Barneveld will have to be at his best to defeat a resurgent Jamie Caven, who knocked out former world champion Jelle Klaasen in the opening round.

The tie between Brendan Dolan and Gary Anderson could go either way, but the Scot requires a win to justify his potential Premier League inclusion, while James Wade will need to improve on his first-round display when he plays Andy Smith.

Finland's Jarkko Komula, who saw off the challenge of Mark Walsh, could also cause a surprise against Simon Whitlock.

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