Matchplay draw: Gary Anderson and Michael van Gerwen discover first-round opponents
Coverage of all nine days from Blackpool gets underway on Sky Sports Action from 7pm on Saturday, July 20
Last Updated: 09/07/19 6:43pm
Gary Anderson will begin the defence of his World Matchplay title against Danny Noppert, while Michael van Gerwen faces Steve Beaton.
Anderson beat Mensur Suljovic in an all-time classic final at the iconic Winter Gardens last year, and after a lay-off early in the year, due to a back injury, returned refreshed to team up with Peter Wright to win the World Cup.
This year, the Flying Scotsman kicks off against Noppert, one of seven debutants in this year's stellar field and whoever comes through from the top half of the draw will have to do so the hard way.
Arguably the tie of the first round sees three-time BDO world champion Glen Durrant, another debutant, take on two-time world champion Adrian Lewis, who was runner-up in Blackpool in 2013.
World Matchplay on Sky Sports
Nine days of coverage from the legendary Winter Gardens gets underway on Saturday, July 19 through to the final on Sunday, July 28
World No 1 Van Gerwen, back-to-back champion in 2015 and 2016, will take on the legendary Bronzed Adonis, who is playing in his 20th Matchplay and for a remarkable 19th year in succession.
James Wade, a five-time runner-up to go with his title in 2007, faces last year's semi-finalist Jeffrey de Zwaan, while World Championship runner-up Michael Smith has been handed a tough test against Jamie Hughes, who booked a seaside debut by winning the Czech Open.
In the bottom half, world No 2 Rob Cross leads the way and he will kick off against Chris Dobey, while Grand Slam of Darts champion Gerwyn Price, a potential quarter-final opponent for Voltage, starts against Stephen Bunting.
Ian White will once again hope to translate his form on the Pro Tour and European Tour to the TV stage. The Diamond has never gone beyond the quarter-finals in the major televised events but has two European Tour titles from his four finals this year.
Peter Wright and Daryl Gurney are on course for a quarter-final showdown but they will have to overcome two of the fastest players in the game.
World No 3 Gurney has been drawn to face Rapid Ricky Evans, who is appearing in Blackpool for the first time, while Snakebite will have to see off veteran Dutchman Vincent van der Voort.
The Darts Show podcast
Download and catch-up on every episode before we return for the World Matchplay later this month
(1) Michael van Gerwen vs Steve Beaton
(16) Adrian Lewis vs Glen Durrant
(8) James Wade vs Jeffrey de Zwaan
(9) Mensur Suljovic vs Jermaine Wattimena
(5) Michael Smith vs Jamie Hughes
(12) Dave Chisnall vs Max Hopp
(4) Gary Anderson vs Danny Noppert
(13) Nathan Aspinall vs Mervyn King
(2) Rob Cross vs Chris Dobey
(15) Darren Webster vs Krzysztof Ratajski
(7) Gerwyn Price vs Stephen Bunting
(10) Ian White vs Joe Cullen
(6) Peter Wright vs Vincent van der Voort
(11) Simon Whitlock vs John Henderson
(3) Daryl Gurney vs Ricky Evans
(14) Jonny Clayton vs Keegan Brown
You don't have to wait long until darts is back on Sky Sports, with every dart from every session in Blackpool and the World Matchplay. It starts on Saturday, July 20 and the final is on Sunday, July 28.