Van den Bergh & Price set for seismic showdown in Blackpool

Dimitri Van den Bergh (Lawrence Lustig, PDC)

Blackpool's Winter Gardens is preparing for a seismic Thursday night showdown at the Betfred World Matchplay as reigning champion Dimitri Van den Bergh clashes with World Champion Gerwyn Price.

The huge contest will be one of two quarter-finals taking place as the battle to claim the Phil Taylor Trophy continues.

Poland's Krzysztof Ratajski will face 23-year-old debutant Callan Rydz in Thursday's opening quarter-final, before attention turns to the biggest tie of the tournament so far.

Belgian ace Van den Bergh piled in a second round record 14 180s as he dispatched Dave Chisnall on Tuesday to keep alive his hopes of retaining the title.

World number one Price, meanwhile, reeled off eight straight legs to seal an 11-3 defeat of Premier League winner Jonny Clayton.

Their meeting is arguably the sport's biggest showdown since Price overcame Gary Anderson in January's World Championship final - and Van den Bergh is excited about the prospect.

"I'm loving every second, the crowd is behind me and I'm focused on my game and doing my thing," he said. "Even though I'm the defending champion, I think I'm handling this really well.

"Although I'm playing the world number one and World Champion, I'm the current reigning World Matchplay champion so it's going to be a fantastic game and I'm going to throw everything I can against Gezzy.

"I hope I can step up another level, especially with my finishing.

"I'm feeling good and the game against Dave has given me a lot of confidence. I'm going to give 100 percent and I'll never back down until the last double is hit."

Price had missed the Premier League earlier this year after testing positive for coronavirus, but is bidding to make up for lost time by winning his first World Matchplay title.

The Welshman believes that his ruthless defeat of World Cup team-mate Clayton has set him up for a strong challenge to claim glory on Sunday night.

"There's no friends when you're on stage and you're up there to do a job," he said. "I think I was a bit off on my scoring against Jonny but I was clinical on my doubles.

"I need to up my scoring game, and if I hit my doubles then nobody beats me. If I can do that and be clinical then I'll win this tournament."

The action will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK, through the PDC's worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7, and on PDCTV for Rest of the World Subscribers.

Click here for all the ways to watch the 2021 Betfred World Matchplay around the world.

2021 Betfred World Matchplay
Thursday July 22

Krzysztof Ratajski v Callan Rydz
Gerwyn Price v Dimitri Van den Bergh

Friday July 23

Peter Wright v Michael Smith
Michael van Gerwen v Nathan Aspinall