THE schedule of play for the 2019 Betfred World Matchplay has been confirmed, with reigning champion Gary Anderson beginning the defence of his title on the opening night of Saturday July 20.
Blackpool's famous Winter Gardens will host the summer's biggest darts event later this month, with 32 players competing from July 20-28 live on Sky Sports.
The first round is split across the opening three days, including a double session on Sunday July 21.
Anderson, who hit a nine-dart finish on his way to a first World Matchplay crown in 2018, will begin his bid to retain the Phil Taylor Trophy against Danny Noppert on a mouth-watering opening night.
UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall will play Mervyn King in the opening fixture, while Gerwyn Price will take on Stephen Bunting and Rob Cross will face Chris Dobey, another of the seven debutants to experience the intimate Winter Gardens atmosphere this year.
Sunday's afternoon session will see former quarter-finalists Dave Chisnall, Joe Cullen, Ian White and Darren Webster all in action, before World Championship runner-up Michael Smith meets in-form Jamie Hughes.
In the Sunday evening session Michael van Gerwen will start his quest for a third Blackpool title against Steve Beaton, 2007 champion James Wade will face last year's semi-finalist Jeffrey de Zwaan and former runner-up Adrian Lewis will meet three-time Lakeside champion Glen Durrant.
Former finalist Peter Wright will star in the final night of first round action on Monday, with 2017 semi-finalist Daryl Gurney and two-time semi-finalist Simon Whitlock also in action.
The second round is split across the evenings of Tuesday and Wednesday, with the players from the top half of the draw playing on Tuesday and those in the bottom half returning to the stage on Wednesday.
The quarter-finals are then split across Thursday and Friday, with the semi-finals on Saturday before the winner will be crowned following Sunday's final.
2019 Betfred World Matchplay
Schedule of Play
Saturday July 20 (1900 BST)
Nathan Aspinall v Mervyn King
Gerwyn Price v Stephen Bunting
Gary Anderson v Danny Noppert
Rob Cross v Chris Dobey
Sunday July 21 (1300 BST)
Darren Webster v Krzysztof Ratajski
Dave Chisnall v Max Hopp
Ian White v Joe Cullen
Michael Smith v Jamie Hughes
Evening Session (1930 BST)
James Wade v Jeffrey de Zwaan
Mensur Suljovic v Jermaine Wattimena
Michael van Gerwen v Steve Beaton
Adrian Lewis v Glen Durrant
Monday July 22 (1900 BST)
Jonny Clayton v Keegan Brown
Simon Whitlock v John Henderson
Daryl Gurney v Ricky Evans
Peter Wright v Vincent van der Voort
Tuesday July 23 (1900 BST)
Smith/Hughes v Chisnall/Hopp
Wade/De Zwaan v Suljovic/Wattimena
Anderson/Noppert v Aspinall/King
Van Gerwen/Beaton v Lewis/Durrant
Wednesday July 24 (1900 BST)
Gurney/Evans v Clayton/Brown
Price/Bunting v White/Cullen
Cross/Dobey v Webster/Ratajski
Wright/Van der Voort v Whitlock/Henderson
Thursday July 25 (1900 BST)
Friday July 26 (1900 BST)
Saturday July 27 (1900 BST)
Sunday July 28 (1900 BST)
First Round - Best of 19 legs
Second Round - Best of 21 legs
Quarter-Finals - Best of 31 legs
Semi-Finals - Best of 33 legs
Final - Best of 35 legs
Winner - £150,000
Runner-Up - £70,000
Semi-Finalists - £50,000
Quarter-Finalists - £25,000
Second Round Losers - £15,000
First Round Losers - £10,000
Total - £700,000