The schedule of play for the BetVictor World Matchplay has been confirmed, with the all-Dutch tie between Michael van Gerwen and Jeffrey de Zwaan to headline the opening night on Saturday July 21.
Blackpool’s famous Winter Gardens will host the 25th staging of the World Matchplay later this month, with 32 players competing live on Sky Sports for the newly-titled Phil Taylor Trophy.
The first round is split across the opening three days, including a double session on Sunday July 22, with a mouth-watering opening night set to see the tournament begin in style.
Former finalist Adrian Lewis will face James Wilson in the opening fixture, before four-time quarter-finalist Dave Chisnall takes on Keegan Brown.
World number one Van Gerwen then meets Blackpool debutant De Zwaan, before 2018 Premier League finalist Michael Smith plays another World Matchplay debutant, Jonny Clayton.
Sunday’s afternoon session will see 2017 World Grand Prix champion Daryl Gurney take on Steve West, while Sunday evening’s play features reigning World Champion Rob Cross and two-time World Champion Gary Anderson.
Last year’s runner-up Peter Wright begins his quest for a maiden Matchplay title on the final night of first round action as he meets Jelle Klaasen, with former champion James Wade also playing Jermaine Wattimena on Monday evening.
The second round is split across Tuesday and Wednesday nights in Blackpool, with the players from the bottom half of the draw playing on Tuesday and those in the top half in action on Wednesday.
The quarter-finals are then split across Thursday and Friday, with the semi-finals on Saturday before the eagerly-awaited final on Sunday.
The tournament features £500,000 prize money this year, including £115,000 to the eventual champion, with a £10,000 bonus on offer for a nine-dart finish.
Van Gerwen is the red-hot favourite with BetVictor to lift a third World Matchplay title at 4/6, Anderson is the 7/1 joint second favourite alongside Cross, with Wright in at 10/1.
The BetVictor World Matchplay will be broadcast on Sky Sports from July 21-29.
2018 BetVictor World Matchplay
Schedule of Play
Saturday July 21 (7pm)
Adrian Lewis v James Wilson
Dave Chisnall v Keegan Brown
Michael van Gerwen v Jeffrey de Zwaan
Michael Smith v Jonny Clayton
Sunday July 22
Afternoon Session (1pm)
Darren Webster v Steve Lennon
Ian White v Max Hopp
Gerwyn Price v Joe Cullen
Daryl Gurney v Steve West
Evening Session (7.30pm)
Mensur Suljovic v Steve Beaton
Gary Anderson v Stephen Bunting
Rob Cross v Mervyn King
Raymond van Barneveld v Kyle Anderson
Monday July 23 (7pm)
Kim Huybrechts v John Henderson
Simon Whitlock v Richard North
James Wade v Jermaine Wattimena
Peter Wright v Jelle Klaasen
Tuesday July 24 (7pm)
Chisnall/Brown v Smith/Clayton
Gurney/West v Price/Cullen
Van Gerwen/De Zwaan v Lewis/Wilson
G Anderson/Bunting v Van Barneveld/K Anderson
Wednesday July 25 (7pm)
Whitlock/North v Wade/Wattimena
Suljovic/Beaton v White/Hopp
Cross/King v Webster/Lennon
Wright/Klaasen v Huybrechts/Henderson
Thursday July 26 (7pm)
Friday July 27 (7pm)
Saturday July 28 (7pm)
Sunday July 29 (7pm)
First Round – Best of 19 legs
Second Round – Best of 25 legs
Quarter-Finals – Best of 31 legs
Semi-Finals – Best of 33 legs
Final – Best of 35 legs
Winner – £115,000
Runner-Up – £55,000
Semi-Finalists – £30,000
Quarter-Finalists – £17,500
Second Round Losers – £11,000
First Round Losers – £7,000
Total – £500,000