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Brendan Dolan the first hurdle in Michael van Gerwen's World Matchplay title defence

The draw for the Darts World Matchplay pits defending champion Michael van Gerwen against Northern Ireland's Brendan Dolan.

Michael van Gerwen will begin the defence of his Betfred World Matchplay title against Brendan Dolan, with the draw confirmed for the summer's biggest darts event.
Van Gerwen, who won the prestigious title for a third time 12 months ago, will start his campaign against Dolan, with the experienced Northern Irishman set to make his ninth World Matchplay appearance.
With this year's event taking place from July 15-23 at Blackpool's iconic Winter Gardens, the first round sees the world's top 16 players seeded and pitted against the 16 qualifiers from the one-year ProTour Order of Merit.
One of the pick of the first round ties sees 2018 champion Gary Anderson, an unseeded player for the first time since 2010, up against five-time quarter-finalist Dave Chisnall.
Last year's runner-up Gerwyn Price will face 2019 quarter-finalist Stephen Bunting, while World Champion Michael Smith - the 4/1 pre-tournament favourite with sponsors Betfred - will take on veteran star Steve Beaton, who is competing in his 22nd World Matchplay.
A further four former champions are among the field; Peter Wright meets UK Open champion Andrew Gilding, James Wade faces Chris Dobey, Dimitri Van den Bergh plays Ross Smith and Rob Cross takes on Daryl Gurney in a repeat of their epic 2019 semi-final.
2010 runner-up Raymond van Barneveld will make his first World Matchplay appearance in five years against former TV finalist Ryan Searle.
World Youth Champion Josh Rock will make his World Matchplay debut against Australian number one Damon Heta, while Belgium's Mike De Decker will also take to the Winter Gardens stage for the first time against 2018 quarter-finalist Joe Cullen.
Recent World Cup winner Jonny Clayton will face German number one Gabriel Clemens, as sixth seed Luke Humphries comes up against former Grand Slam champion Jose de Sousa.
Two-time quarter-finalist Nathan Aspinall meets Krzysztof Ratajski, former UK Open champion Danny Noppert takes on Germany's Martin Schindler, and three-time TV finalist Dirk van Duijvenbode plays Kim Huybrechts - making his ninth Blackpool appearance.
The tournament will see players compete across nine days of action for £800,000 in prize money, with the winner taking home £200,000 and the coveted Phil Taylor Trophy.
The schedule of play will be confirmed in due course, with the first round being played across the first three days from July 15-17.
This year's visit to the Winter Gardens will once again feature the Betfred Women's World Matchplay, with eight players competing on the afternoon of Sunday July 23.

World Matchplay Draw Bracket

READ MORE: Luke Humphries beats Dirk van Duijvenbode in dramatic European Darts Matchplay final

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