VAN GERWEN & LITTLER TO COLLIDE AT BETFRED WORLD MATCHPLAY

Michael van Gerwen and Luke Littler will go head-to-head in a blockbuster first round tie at the Betfred World Matchplay, as Nathan Aspinall begins his title defence against Luke Woodhouse.
Aspinall stormed to World Matchplay glory in sensational style 12 months ago, and the Stockport star will kick off his campaign against Woodhouse, one of five debutants in this year’s 32-player field.
“Luke is a great player. He’s played some fantastic darts this year – that’s why he’s in this tournament,” reflected Aspinall, speaking moments after the draw was conducted on Thursday.
“I’ve played Luke quite a few times and I’ve got a good record against him, so while it’s going to be a tough game, it’s one I am confident that I can come through.”
With this year’s £800,000 event taking place from July 13-21 at Blackpool’s iconic Winter Gardens, the first round will see the world’s top 16 players seeded and pitted against the 16 qualifiers from the one-year ProTour Order of Merit.
The pick of the first round ties will see three-time World Matchplay winner Van Gerwen up against Premier League champion Littler, who has taken the sport by storm over the last nine months.
World number three Michael Smith will play 2018 champion Gary Anderson in another mouth-watering clash, while World Champion Luke Humphries – the 7/2 pre-tournament favourite with sponsors Betfred – takes on German newcomer Ricardo Pietreczko.
Gerwyn Price – a World Matchplay finalist in 2022 – faces a tough opening assignment against two-time semi-finalist Daryl Gurney, with 2019 winner Rob Cross up against Dutch debutant Gian van Veen.
Last year’s runner-up Jonny Clayton meets five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld in another heavyweight showdown, with Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski awaiting seventh seed Dave Chisnall.
UK Open champion Dimitri Van den Bergh – a World Matchplay winner in 2020 – will open his title challenge against German number one Martin Schindler, who has already enjoyed a breakthrough 2024 season.
2021 World Matchplay winner Peter Wright meets former UK Open champion Andrew Gilding for a second straight year, with Australian number one Damon Heta handed a tie against 2023 quarter-finalist Ryan Searle.
James Wade will make his 19th consecutive Blackpool appearance after securing his qualification in last-gasp fashion, and the 2007 champion will play 2022 semi-finalist Danny Noppert.
Masters champion Stephen Bunting meets the returning Ryan Joyce in his opener, as former European Champion Ross Smith and Northern Ireland’s Josh Rock battle it out for a place in the last 16.
Ritchie Edhouse will take to the Winter Gardens stage for the first time against last year’s quarter-finalist Chris Dobey, while Joe Cullen – a semi-finalist 12 months ago – takes on the experienced Brendan Dolan.
The sport’s biggest names will compete across nine days of action at the Empress Ballroom, with £200,000 and the coveted Phil Taylor Trophy on offer for the winner.
The schedule of play will be confirmed in due course, with the first round being played across the first three days from July 13-15.
This year’s visit to the Winter Gardens will also feature the third staging of the Betfred Women’s World Matchplay, with eight players competing on the afternoon of Sunday July 21.
Title sponsors Betfred have installed world number one Humphries as the 7/2 favourite to win his first World Matchplay crown, with teenage sensation Littler priced at 4/1 on debut.
Price is 8/1 to win his maiden title at the Winter Gardens, just ahead of Van Gerwen at 9/1, with Cross and Anderson 14/1 and 16/1 respectively to repeat former glories in Blackpool.
2024 Betfred World Matchplay
Draw Bracket
(1) Luke Humphries v Ricardo Pietreczko
(16) Stephen Bunting v Ryan Joyce
(8) Jonny Clayton v Raymond van Barneveld
(9) Dimitri Van den Bergh v Martin Schindler
(4) Gerwyn Price v Daryl Gurney
(13) Ross Smith v Josh Rock
(5) Nathan Aspinall v Luke Woodhouse
(12) Danny Noppert v James Wade
(2) Michael van Gerwen v Luke Littler
(15) Joe Cullen v Brendan Dolan
(7) Dave Chisnall v Krzysztof Ratajski
(10) Peter Wright v Andrew Gilding
(3) Michael Smith v Gary Anderson
(14) Chris Dobey v Ritchie Edhouse
(6) Rob Cross v Gian van Veen
(11) Damon Heta v Ryan Searle
Betfred Odds
Tournament Winner
7/2 Luke Humphries
4/1 Luke Littler
8/1 Gerwyn Price
9/1 Michael van Gerwen
14/1 Rob Cross
16/1 Gary Anderson, Michael Smith
25/1 Stephen Bunting
28/1 Chris Dobey, Nathan Aspinall
33/1 Josh Rock, Jonny Clayton
40/1 Danny Noppert, Dave Chisnall, Dimitri Van den Bergh, Martin Schindler, Ross Smith
50/1 Damon Heta, Ryan Searle
66/1 Peter Wright
80/1 Raymond van Barneveld, Daryl Gurney, James Wade
100/1 Joe Cullen, Gian van Veen
125/1 Luke Woodhouse
150/1 Brendan Dolan, Krzysztof Ratajski, Ryan Joyce, Ritchie Edhouse
200/1 Andrew Gilding, Ricardo Pietreczko

Odds correct at time of writing and courtesy Betfred.com. Subject to fluctuation.

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