Darts: Phil Taylor to face Rob Szabo or Ian Moss in first round of World Championship
Last Updated: 03/12/13 11:05am
Reigning champion Phil Taylor will face Rob Szabo or Ian Moss in the first round of the 2014 World Darts Championship.
Top-seed Taylor will be aiming for a 17th World crown when the tournament gets under way at Alexandra Palace on 13 December.
Last year's beaten semi-finalist, Dutchman Michael van Gerwen, who is seeded second, will play either Zoran Lerchbacher or Ben Ward.
In other ties, third seed Adrian Lewis plays Dennis Smith, Simon Whitlock takes on Ross Smith and Raymond van Barneveld faces Jamie Lewis.
Belgian brothers Kim and Ronny Huybrechts will compete against each other for a place in the second round.
The two also met in the last 16 of the Grand Slam of Darts in November, with younger sibling Kim winning 10-5.
In last year's final, Taylor recovered from 0-2 and 2-4 down before beating Van Gerwen 7-4 and he is expecting an equally tough challenge this time around.
Speaking to Sky Sports News he said: "I know Ian quite well. He is a good player who has done really well to get here as he has come through a field of 200 qualifiers to reach this stage. The other fellow, I don't know.
"There are a lot of people who can win this year. Young Adrian (Lewis) is going to be up for this and he'll be ready.
"That said, his first-round opponent Denis Smith is a very steady, very deliberate thrower who you can't make go quicker or slower so that's a bit of a toughie for him to start with.
"But there are so many good players around now and if you are slack you will get beat... simple as."
Van Gerwen will have to wait to see who he faces, but whether it is Austrian Lerchbacher or Englishman Ward, he says he will be focused.
"The first guy (Lerchbacher), I have never heard of him. He is an overseas qualifier. Ben Ward, he is a youth player, and has come through the rankings I think," he said. "You don't do that for nothing so I have to be aware of that and be sharp.
"You need to play the board not the opponent. You just need to win the game. I have a lot more experience but you still have to show it on the day."
The Dutchman does not foresee Taylor having any problems with his first-round opponent.
"He (Taylor) will be quite happy with that," added Van Gerwen. "He won't know them both but Phil won't make a mistake, trust me."
World Championship Draw:
Michael Smith v Hashimoto/Lim
Justin Pipe v Arron Monk
Adrian Lewis v Dennis Smith
Mark Webster v Mensur Suljovic
Paul Nicholson v Stuart Kellett
Richie Burnett v Dean Winstanley
Ronnie Baxter v Ricky Evans
Ian White v Kyle Anderson
Colin Lloyd v Beau Anderson
Kim Huybrechts v Ronny Huybrechts
Peter Wright v Joe Cullen
Andy Hamilton v Barbero/Welge
Robert Thornton v Max Hopp
Jamie Caven v Jelle Klaasen
Steve Beaton v Petersen/Sapup
Wayne Jones v Kevin McDine
Gary Anderson v Mark Dudbridge
Kevin Painter v Tomas Seyler
Mark Walsh v Jarkko Komula
John Part v Mareno Michels
Brendan Dolan v Lindskjold/Santos
Raymond van Barneveld v Jamie Lewis
Mervyn King v Darin Young
Vincent van der Voort v Matt Clark
Wes Newton v Vos/Lam
Phil Taylor v Szabo/Moss
Andy Smith v Steve Brown
Simon Whitlock v Ross Smith
Dave Chisnall v John Henderson
James Wade v Darren Webster
Michael van Gerwen v Lerchbacher/Ward
Terry Jenkins v McGarry/Laursen