Three-time champion Michael Van Gerwen withdraws after positive Covid-19 test

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Three-time champion Michael Van Gerwen has withdrawn from the William Hill World Darts Championship after testing positive for Covid-19, organisers have announced.

Dutchman Van Gerwen was set to play Chris Dobey in the third round on Tuesday night at Alexandra Palace.

A statement from the PDC read: “Michael Van Gerwen has withdrawn from the William Hill World Darts Championship after testing positive for Covid-19 ahead of his match with Chris Dobey.

“Dobey will receive a bye to the last 16 and Tuesday evening’s session will continue with two matches.”

Van Gerwen becomes the third player to have contracted the virus during this year’s championship.

Vincent Van Der Voort was forced to pull out ahead of his scheduled match against James Wade on Monday, while fellow Dutchman Raymond Van Barneveld tested positive after beginning to feel unwell in the wake of his 3-1 defeat to Rob Cross on Thursday night.

Following Van Barneveld’s positive test, organisers insisted all necessary precautions were in place to safeguard both players and fans at the event.

Van Gerwen’s withdraw will open up the draw, with Dobey set to take on either Dave Chisnall or Luke Humphries for a quarter-final place.

Martijn Kleermaker in action against Joe Cullen
Martijn Kleermaker held his nerve to fend off a fightback by Joe Cullen (Bradley Collyer/PA)

In Tuesday afternoon’s session, Martijn Kleermaker edged out Joe Cullen 4-3 in their third-round match.

The Dutchman, making his debut at Alexandra Palace, had opened up a three-set lead, only for Cullen to launch a fightback and force a decider, with Kleermaker going on to clinch it 4-2.

Players Championship runner-up Ryan Searle saw off Danny Noppert 4-2 to move into the last 16, while Mervyn King had earlier coasted to a 4-0 win over Irishman Steve Lennon.

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