Former Champions In Action: Matchplay To Open With A Bang.

Three former champions will be in action on the opening night of the 2020 Betfred World Matchplay on Saturday, July 18, with Michael van Gerwen, James Wade and Gary Anderson all set to take to the Marshall Arena stage in Milton Keynes.

The £700,000 tournament will be staged in unique circumstances behind closed doors in 2020, with 32 players competing for the Phil Taylor Trophy from July 18-26.

Saturday will see five first round games take place from 1800 BST, including two-time winner Van Gerwen – the top seed – taking on Northern Ireland’s Brendan Dolan.

2007 winner Wade will play former World Youth Champion Keegan Brown, while 2018 champion Gary Anderson comes up against Justin Pipe.

Two-time World Matchplay semi-finalist Simon Whitlock meets debutant Ryan Joyce in the tournament’s opening fixture, and Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski takes on Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena.

Rob Cross will begin his title defence on Sunday evening against Germany’s Gabriel Clemens, on a night which also features World Champion Peter Wright and former finalists Michael Smith and Mensur Suljovic.

Monday’s five first round ties include world number three Gerwyn Price up against Danny Noppert, 2013 finalist Adrian Lewis facing evergreen Steve Beaton and two-time semi-finalist Daryl Gurney meeting Ricky Evans.

The tasty fixture between former UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall and two-time World Youth Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh concludes the first round on Tuesday, which also features the opening four matches from the last 16.

Going into the event, Van Gerwen is the 7/4 pre-tournament favourite with sponsors Betfred, with Wright 5/1 as he aims to add the World Matchplay title to his World Championship success.

Price is 13/2 to take victory, with Aspinall 9/1 ahead of 14/1 chance Anderson, while reigning champion Cross is joined by Smith and Durrant at 20/1.

The Betfred World Matchplay will be broadcast live on Sky Sports, RTL7, DAZN and the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners.

2020 Betfred World Matchplay
Schedule of play – all times BST
Saturday July 18 (1800)

5x First Round Matches
Simon Whitlock v Ryan Joyce
Krzysztof Ratajski v Jermaine Wattimena
James Wade v Keegan Brown
Michael van Gerwen v Brendan Dolan
Gary Anderson v Justin Pipe

Sunday July 19 (1800)
5x First Round Matches
Mensur Suljovic v Jamie Hughes
Glen Durrant v Jeffrey de Zwaan
Rob Cross v Gabriel Clemens
Peter Wright v Jose De Sousa
Michael Smith v Jonny Clayton

Monday July 20 (1800)
5x First Round Matches
Dave Chisnall v Vincent van der Voort
Ian White v Joe Cullen
Daryl Gurney v Ricky Evans
Gerwyn Price v Danny Noppert
Adrian Lewis v Steve Beaton

Tuesday July 21 (1800)
1x First Round, 4x Second Round Matches
Nathan Aspinall v Dimitri Van den Bergh
Smith/Clayton v Suljovic/Hughes
Anderson/Pipe v Wade/Brown
Van Gerwen/Dolan v Whitlock/Joyce
Cross/Clemens v Ratajski/Wattimena

Wednesday July 22 (1900)
4x Second Round Matches
Gurney/Evans v Chisnall/Van der Voort
Aspinall/Van den Bergh v White/Cullen
Wright/De Sousa v Durrant/De Zwaan
Price/Noppert v Lewis/Beaton

Thursday July 23 (1900)
2x Quarter-Finals

Friday July 24 (1900)
2x Quarter-Finals

Saturday July 25 (2000)
Semi-Finals

Sunday July 26 (2030)
Final