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Michael van Gerwen to begin World Matchplay title defence against Brendan Dolan

Other ties see Gerwyn Price take on Stephen Bunting and Michael Smith face Steve Beaton; Raymond van Barneveld will play in the tournament for the first time in five years; the World Matchplay is live on Sky Sports from July 15-23

Michael van Gerwen will defend his World Matchplay title, with World Champion Michael Smith the favourite in 2023
Image: Michael van Gerwen will defend his World Matchplay title, with world champion Michael Smith the favourite in 2023

Michael van Gerwen will begin the defence of his Betfred World Matchplay title against Brendan Dolan.

Van Gerwen, who won the prestigious title for a third time 12 months ago, will start his campaign against Dolan, with the experienced Northern Irishman set to make his ninth World Matchplay appearance.

With this year's event taking place from July 15-23 at Blackpool's iconic Winter Gardens, the first round sees the world's top 16 players seeded and pitted against the 16 qualifiers from the one-year ProTour Order of Merit.

Among the picks of the first-round ties sees 2018 champion Gary Anderson, an unseeded player for the first time since 2010, up against five-time quarter-finalist Dave Chisnall.

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Last year's runner-up Gerwyn Price will face 2019 quarter-finalist Stephen Bunting, while world champion Michael Smith will take on veteran star Steve Beaton, who is competing in his 22nd World Matchplay.

A further four former champions are among the field; Peter Wright meets UK Open champion Andrew Gilding, James Wade faces Chris Dobey, Dimitri Van den Bergh plays Ross Smith and Rob Cross takes on Daryl Gurney in a repeat of their epic 2019 semi-final.

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2010 runner-up Raymond van Barneveld will make his first Matchplay appearance in five years against former TV finalist Ryan Searle.

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World youth champion Josh Rock will make his Matchplay debut against Australian No 1 Damon Heta, while Belgium's Mike De Decker will also take to the Winter Gardens stage for the first time against 2018 quarter-finalist Joe Cullen.

Recent World Cup winner Jonny Clayton will face German No 1 Gabriel Clemens, as sixth seed Luke Humphries comes up against former Grand Slam champion Jose de Sousa.

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Wales lived up to their billing as pre-tournament favourites as they dominated the final in Frankfurt and wrapped up a 10-2 victory

Two-time quarter-finalist Nathan Aspinall meets Krzysztof Ratajski, former UK Open champion Danny Noppert takes on Germany's Martin Schindler, and three-time TV finalist Dirk van Duijvenbode plays Kim Huybrechts - making his ninth Blackpool appearance.

The tournament will see players compete across nine days of action for £800,000 in prize money, with the winner taking home £200,000 and the coveted Phil Taylor Trophy.

2023 Betfred World Matchplay

Draw Bracket

(1) Michael Smith v Steve Beaton

(16) James Wade v Chris Dobey

(8) Danny Noppert v Martin Schindler

(9) Nathan Aspinall v Krzysztof Ratajski

(4) Gerwyn Price v Stephen Bunting

(13) Joe Cullen v Mike De Decker

(5) Rob Cross v Daryl Gurney

(12) Dave Chisnall v Gary Anderson

(2) Peter Wright v Andrew Gilding

(15) Ryan Searle v Raymond van Barneveld

(7) Jonny Clayton v Gabriel Clemens

(10) Dimitri Van den Bergh v Ross Smith

(3) Michael van Gerwen v Brendan Dolan

(14) Damon Heta v Josh Rock

(6) Luke Humphries v Jose de Sousa

(11) Dirk van Duijvenbode v Kim Huybrechts

Watch the 2023 Betfred World Matchplay live on Sky Sports from July 15-23. Also stream on NOW TV.

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