Daryl Gurney and Michael van Gerwen to feature on day one of World Grand Prix
Gurney faces repeat of 2017 semi-final against John Henderson in Dublin; MVG faces home favourite Steve Lennon and Anderson takes on Jonny Clayton.
By Paul Prenderville
Last Updated: 18/09/18 4:14pm
The draw for the World Grand Prix has thrown up a host of thrilling first-round matches, and defending champion Daryl Gurney and world No 1 Michael van Gerwen will feature in tough openers on day one in Dublin.
With its unique double-to-start format, and quickfire race to two sets in the first round, the Grand Prix rarely disappoints in terms of drama and a high-quality 32-man field was always going to deliver a mouthwatering draw.
Last year an emotional Gurney captured his first major title, beating Simon Whitlock to the title while Van Gerwen crashed to a surprise first-round defeat to John Henderson.
This year promises to another action-packed week at the Citywest Hotel and Tuesday's draw and schedule release has thrown up plenty to look forward to when the action gets underway on Sky Sports on Sunday, September 30.
World Grand Prix - Draw
|Michael van Gerwen (1) v Steve Lennon|
|Darren Webster v Stephen Bunting|
|Dave Chisnall (8) v Max Hopp|
|Ricky Evans v Raymond van Barneveld|
|Daryl Gurney (5) v John Henderson|
|Ron Meulenkamp v Joe Cullen|
|Gary Anderson (4) v Jonny Clayton|
|Jeffrey de Zwaan v Kim Huybrechts|
|Peter Wright (2) v Steve West|
|Jermaine Wattimena v Mervyn King|
|Simon Whitlock (7) v James Wilson|
|Michael Smith v Adrian Lewis|
|Mensur Suljovic (6) v James Wade|
|Josh Payne v Ian White|
|Rob Cross (3) v Steve Beaton|
|Danny Noppert v Gerwyn Price|
Jeffrey de Zwaan, one of nine debutants in the event this year and a star during his run to the World Matchplay semi-final, will kick off opening night in Dublin against Belgium's Kim Huybrechts, while 'Rapid' Ricky Evans also makes his Grand Prix bow in a huge clash with Raymond van Barneveld.
Eighth seed Dave Chisnall has a tough test on his hands against mercurial German Max Hopp, who has won his first title this year and impressed at the World Cup of Darts.
Defending champion Gurney will then delight the crowd as he takes to the stage against John Henderson in a repeat of their semi-final last year before world No 1 and three-time champion Van Gerwen looks to improve on his first-round defeat last year.
However, MVG will face the crowd as well having been drawn against Carlow's Steve Lennon, who will also make his debut after an impressive year on the PDC Tour that included a first-ever final defeat, where he was beaten by Van Gerwen.
Gary Anderson concludes the opening night against Wales' Jonny Clayton, another debutant with a title under his belt this year.
Monday night will feature the world champion Rob Cross against Steve Beaton and second seed Peter Wright against in-form Steve West before the two high-profile matches of the evening.
Sixth seed and last year's semi-finalist Mensur Suljovic faces two-time champion James Wade before the first round concludes with arguably the match of the opening phase.
Premier League runner-up Michael Smith faces two-time world champion Adrian Lewis. Smith is chasing his first major title, while Lewis is out to return to winning ways after a couple of years of slipping down the rankings.
Schedule of Play
Sunday, September 30
Jeffrey de Zwaan v Kim Huybrechts
Ron Meulenkamp v Joe Cullen
Darren Webster v Stephen Bunting
Ricky Evans v Raymond van Barneveld
Dave Chisnall (8) v Max Hopp
Daryl Gurney (5) v John Henderson
Michael van Gerwen (1) v Steve Lennon
Gary Anderson (4) v Jonny Clayton
Monday, October 1
Jermaine Wattimena v Mervyn King
Josh Payne v Ian White
Danny Noppert v Gerwyn Price
Peter Wright (2) v Steve West
Rob Cross (3) v Steve Beaton
Mensur Suljovic (6) v James Wade
Simon Whitlock (7) v James Wilson
Michael Smith v Adrian Lewis
Tuesday, October 2
Chisnall/Hopp v Evans/Van Barneveld
Anderson/Clayton v De Zwaan/Huybrechts
Gurney/Henderson v Meulenkamp/Cullen
Van Gerwyn/Lennon v Webster/Bunting
Wednesday, October 3
Suljovic/Wade v Payne/White
Cross/Beaton v Noppert/Price
Wright/West v Wattimena/KIng
Whitlock/Wilson v Smith/Lewis
Thursday, October 4
Quarter-finals - TBC
Friday, October 5
Semi-finals - TBC
Saturday, October 6
Seven days of coverage from the Citywest Hotel gets underway on Sky Sports Arena from 7pm on Sunday, September 30
You can follow the unique double-in double-out format right through to the final on Saturday, October 6 and join in the conversation and go behind the scenes with us @SkySportsDarts