World Matchplay 2020: MvG, Gary Anderson and James Wade feature on opening night
Nine days of coverage from the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes begins on Saturday and will run through until the final on Sunday July 26
By Paul Prenderville
Last Updated: 13/07/20 4:41pm
Michael van Gerwen, Gary Anderson and James Wade will all feature on the opening night of the World Matchplay as darts returns to the big stage on Sky Sports this Saturday.
After a five-day Summer Series signalled darts' safe return following the coronavirus pandemic, all eyes remain on Milton Keynes where the sport's biggest names will reconvene for more than a week of top-level darts.
Following Sunday night's draw, there are a host of mouthwatering matches and with the four former champions all placed in the top half of the draw, the cast list for opening night is a cracker - and you can watch it unfold on Sky Sports Action from 6pm.
World Matchplay - Saturday's matches
|(16) Simon Whitlock v Ryan Joyce|
|(13) Krzysztof Ratajski v Jermaine Wattimena|
|(9) James Wade v Keegan Brown|
|(1) Michael van Gerwen v Brendan Dolan|
|(8) Gary Anderson v Justin Pipe|
World No 1 and two-time champion Michael van Gerwen will look to improve on a couple of disappointing showings at the Matchplay over the last three years - his quest to go beyond the last eight for the first time since his second title in 2016 starts against Brendan Dolan.
Gary Anderson will close opening night against Justin Pipe. The 2018 champion enjoyed a mixed bag in Milton Keynes but famously raises his game on the big stage and a possible meeting with another former winner, James Wade, awaits in the second round, if The Machine can get past Keegan Brown,
Simon Whitlock and Ryan Joyce will kick off the race for the Phil Taylor Trophy, while fast-emerging Krzysztof Ratajski meets rapid-fire Jermaine Wattimena on a bumper opening slate of five games.
World Matchplay - Sunday's matches
|(12) Mensur Suljovic v Jamie Hughes|
|(15) Glen Durrant v Jeffrey de Zwaan|
|(4) Rob Cross v Gabriel Clemens|
|(2) Peter Wright v Jose De Sousa|
|(5) Michael Smith v Jonny Clayton|
Fresh from his triumph in Sunday's final Summer Series event - a win that also saw him clinch the five-day Order of Merit - world champion Peter Wright will start his bid for a maiden Matchplay on Sunday when he takes on Portuguese sensation Jose De Sousa.
Rob Cross' defence of the title he won in Blackpool last year begins on the second night of action against Gabriel Clemens, while last year's runner-up Michael Smith and semi-finalist in 2019 Glen Durrant will also feature.
Five more matches will follow on Monday night when major champions Daryl Gurney and Gerwyn Price start their bid for the title and they are join on the card by Dave Chisnall and Ian White who are hoping to win a first major premier ranking title.
World Matchplay - Monday's matches
|(10) Dave Chisnall v Vincent van der Voort|
|(11) Ian White v Joe Cullen|
|(7) Daryl Gurney v Ricky Evans|
|(3) Gerwyn Price v Danny Noppert|
|(14) Adrian Lewis v Steve Beaton|
Steve Beaton, making his 20th consecutive appearance at the tournament goes up against an out-of-sorts Adrian Lewis, who will hope to rekindle the form that has made him a two-time world champion.
The first round concludes on Tuesday night when world no 6 Nathan Aspinall meets the dancing debutant Dimitri Van den Bergh before the first three second round matches.
World Matchplay - Tuesday's matches
|(6) Nathan Aspinall v Dimitri Van den Bergh|
|Smith/Clayton v Suljovic/Hughes|
|Anderson/Pipe v Wade/Brown|
|Van Gerwen/Dolan v Whitlock/Joyce|
|Cross/Clemens v Ratajski/Wattimena|
How to follow on Sky Sports
You won't miss an arrow as the Sky Sports Darts team head to Milton Keynes to take you behind closed doors for more than a week of action as the battle for one of the sport's most famous trophies takes place without a crowd.
As well as live coverage of all nine sessions and every single match, you'll be able to follow when you are out and about via Sky Go or via our live blogs which will feature on the night clips and leg-by leg updates.
Download and subscribe to The Darts Show podcast will have a flavour of the action with regular episodes through the talking, talking to the players, the experts and those behind the scenes helping bring the story to you.
And make sure you are following us @SkySportsDarts, when we'll take you behind the scenes, hear from the Sky Sports team on the matches to watch and the stories that emerge through the week.
All that plus bonus Matchplay memories with extra programmes scheduled through the week. After MVG Monday, it's Taylor Tuesday as we focus on two of the biggest names to win the title on more than once occasion.
As we prepare for darts returns we've also raided the archives for the best of the World Matchplay, and darts behind the iconic tournament as we rewind to memorable matches from across the darts calendar, including Fallon Sherrock's history making turn at the World Championship.
Darts is back on Sky Sports in July, with nine days of coverage from the World Matchplay getting underway on Saturday, July 18, and every day until the final on Sunday, July 26.