Taylor to face King in opener
Defending champion set for Blackpool
Last Updated: 09/07/12 10:26am
Phil Taylor: Will face Mervyn King
Phil Taylor will begin his bid for a record-equalling fifth successive Betfair World Matchplay title, and a 13th victory in total in the Blackpool event, against Mervyn King later this month.
Taylor, who has been the champion of the £400,000 event for the past four years, will be bidding to equal his unbeaten run from 2000-4 when he returns to the Winter Gardens.
Although King has dropped out of the world's top 16 this year, the Norfolk thrower reached the semi-finals of the European Darts Open event in Dusseldorf on Sunday night to show his return to top form.
James Wade, the 2007 winner who lost 18-8 to Taylor in last year's final, will play resurgent Welshman Richie Burnett in the first round.
Colin Lloyd - the 2005 champion who is the only other previous winner in the 32-man field - takes on ninth seed Mark Webster.
World champion Adrian Lewis, the No.2 seed, has drawn recent UK Open champion Robert Thornton in the first round, while world No.4 Gary Anderson plays PDC newcomer Dean Winstanley.
Wes Newton, the No.5 seed, drew emerging teenage star James Hubbard in the first round after the world youth champion qualified by reaching the quarter-finals of the European Darts Open - an achievement which left him in tears of joy on the Dusseldorf stage.
First round draw and tournament bracket
Adrian Lewis (2) v Robert Thornton
Paul Nicholson (15) v Andy Smith
Raymond van Barneveld (7) v Michael Smith
Terry Jenkins (10) v Kim Huybrechts
Simon Whitlock (6) v Michael van Gerwen
Kevin Painter (11) v Steve Beaton
James Wade (3) v Richie Burnett
Mark Walsh (14) v Colin Osborne
Phil Taylor (1) v Mervyn King
Vincent van der Voort (16) v Ian White
Andy Hamilton (8) v Brendan Dolan
Mark Webster (9) v Colin Lloyd
Wes Newton (5) v James Hubbard
Justin Pipe (12) v Joe Cullen
Gary Anderson (4) v Dean Winstanley
Dave Chisnall (13) v Ronnie Baxter