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World Matchplay Darts 2021: Dimitri Van den Bergh handed Devon Petersen opener as draw made

Darts is back on your Sky Sports screens this month, with nine days of coverage from the iconic Winter Gardens and the World Matchplay - the action gets underway on Saturday July 17

Image: Dimitri Van den Bergh clinched his first major triumph with a final win over Gary Anderson last year

Reigning champion Dimitri Van den Bergh will begin the defence of his World Matchplay title against Devon Petersen, after the draw was made on Friday afternoon.

'The Dream-Maker' enjoyed his breakthrough victory last year behind closed doors in Milton Keynes, but this month will attempt to retain the Phil Taylor Trophy at the tournament's traditional home, the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.

The top 16 players from the PDC Order of Merit are seeded for the event, and have each been drawn to play one of the 16 qualifiers from the one-year ProTour Order of Merit.

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Top seed Gerwyn Price will face 2018 runner-up Mensur Suljovic, with a potential all-Welsh clash with Premier League winner Jonny Clayton in the last 16. However, Clayton must first concentrate on Dirk van Duijvenbode.

Two-time winner Michael van Gerwen will face Australian debutant Damon Heta, while number two seed Peter Wright takes on Dutchman Danny Noppert.

Michael van Gerwen faces Jonny Clayton with a place in the Premier League Dart final at stake - and he has his eyes on a sixth title (Image: PDC/Lawrence Lustig)
Image: Michael van Gerwen will be chasing his first PDC title for 2021

One of the pick of the first-round ties will see 2007 champion James Wade play Luke Humphries in a repeat of this year's UK Open final, while the field's two other previous winners Rob Cross and Gary Anderson have been drawn against Ross Smith and Stephen Bunting respectively.

The tournament will see players compete across nine days for £700,000 in prize money.

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The schedule of play will be confirmed in due course, with the first round being played across the first three days from July 17-19.

All the action will be live on Sky Sports, with the venue welcoming a full capacity from Monday, July 19 onwards.

2021 Betfred World Matchplay draw

(1) Gerwyn Price v Mensur Suljovic
(16) Jonny Clayton v Dirk van Duijvenbode
(8) Dimitri Van den Bergh v Devon Petersen
(9) Dave Chisnall v Vincent van der Voort
(4) James Wade v Luke Humphries
(13) Krzysztof Ratajski v Brendan Dolan
(5) Rob Cross v Ross Smith
(12) Glen Durrant v Callan Rydz

(2) Peter Wright v Danny Noppert
(15) Joe Cullen v Chris Dobey
(7) Michael Smith v Ryan Searle
(10) Jose de Sousa v Gabriel Clemens
(3) Michael van Gerwen v Damon Heta
(14) Daryl Gurney v Ian White
(6) Gary Anderson v Stephen Bunting
(11) Nathan Aspinall v Mervyn King

Darts is back on your Sky Sports screens this month, with nine days of coverage from the iconic Winter Gardens and the World Matchplay - the action gets under way on Saturday July 17.

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