World Matchplay champion Dimitri Van den Bergh to play in first Blackpool session as order on the oche is revealed
Dimitri Van den Bergh will open the defence of his Betfred World Matchplay title on a thrilling first night of action as the Professional Darts Corporation’s summer showpiece returns to Blackpool this weekend.
The champion faces debutant Devon Petersen on Saturday as the event which Van den Bergh won behind closed doors in 2020 returns to its home of the previous 25 years, the Winter Gardens.
The schedule of play has now been revealed, and experienced duo Dave Chisnall and Vincent van der Voort have the honour of contesting the first match back in the Empress Ballroom.
A blockbuster opening night will feature four first-round matches as world champion Gerwyn Price faces Jermaine Wattimena and Premier League winner Jonny Clayton takes on Dutch debutant Dirk van Duijvenbode before Van den Bergh clashes with South African Petersen.
Wattimena replaces 2018 finalist Mensur Suljovic, who has withdrawn from the nine-day championship on health grounds.
Sunday’s double session will see James Wade and Rob Cross in action against Luke Humphries and Ross Smith respectively in the afternoon.
The evening session features 2017 runner-up Peter Wright against Danny Noppert and Grand Slam of Darts winner Jose de Sousa taking on Gabriel Clemens.
The Winter Gardens can welcome a capacity crowd again from Monday, when the first round will conclude. Two-time champion Michael van Gerwen plays Australian debutant Damon Heta that night and 2018 winner Gary Anderson faces Stephen Bunting.
The second round will take place on Tuesday July 20 and Wednesday 21, with quarter-finals on the Thursday and Friday, semis on the Saturday and the final two facing off for the Phil Taylor Trophy and £150,000 star prize on Sunday, July 25.
A limited number of tickets remain available for some sessions via pdc.seetickets.com. The tournament will be broadcast live on Sky Sports.
And don’t miss The Gazette’s preview supplement on Friday.
SCHEDULE OF PLAY (sessions start 7pm except Sunday)
Saturday July 17
Dave Chisnall v Vincent van der Voort
Jonny Clayton v Dirk van Duijvenbode
Gerwyn Price v Jermaine Wattimena
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Devon Petersen
Sunday July 18
First session (1pm)
Krzysztof Ratajski v Brendan Dolan
Glen Durrant v Callan Rydz
Rob Cross v Ross Smith
James Wade v Luke Humphries
Second session (7.30pm)
Joe Cullen v Chris Dobey
Michael Smith v Ryan Searle
Peter Wright v Danny Noppert
Jose de Sousa v Gabriel Clemens
Monday July 19
Daryl Gurney v Ian White
Nathan Aspinall v Mervyn King
Michael van Gerwen v Damon Heta
Gary Anderson v Stephen Bunting
Tuesday July 20
Cross/R Smith v Durrant/Rydz
Wade/Humphries v Ratajski/Dolan
Price/Wattimena v Clayton/Van Duijvenbode
Van den Bergh/Petersen v Chisnall/Van der Voort
Wednesday July 21
M Smith/Searle v De Sousa/Clemens
Anderson/Bunting v Aspinall/King
Van Gerwen/Heta v Gurney/White
Wright/Noppert v Cullen/Dobey
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