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World Darts Championship 2017/18 Draw: Van Gerwen handed Kist clash at Alexandra Palace

The Alexandra Palace awaits (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Michael van Gerwen will begin the defence of his World Championship title against fellow Dutchman Christian Kist, while Phil Taylor commences his final Alexandra Palace campaign against emerging star Chris Dobey.

The sport's show-piece event will feature 72 players from all corners of the world competing for a record £1.8 million prize fund and the iconic Sid Waddell trophy.

The line-up is comprised of the top 32 players from the PDC Order of Merit - who are joined by the next highest ranked 16 players from the ProTour Order of Merit, in addition to a series of international qualifiers.

World number one Van Gerwen is bidding for a third World Championship title 12 months on from defeating Gary Anderson 7-3 in a high quality final at London's Ally Pally.

The Dutch sensation, who has won the last three consecutive televised tournaments and is 28 matches unbeaten, will kick off his title defence with a clash against 2012 Lakeside Champion Kist.

Taylor is making a record-breaking 29th consecutive appearance in the World Championship, and the 16-time king will commence his last ever major tournament campaign against former Grand Slam quarter-finalist Dobey.

Peter Wright, the 2014 runner-up and number two seed, has been drawn to face Diogo Portela - the first Brazilian player ever to feature in a World Championship.

Gary Anderson, back-to-back champion in 2015 and 2016 and runner-up last year, will take on either Canada's Jeff Smith or Development Tour winner Luke Humphries.

Five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld meets in-form debutant Richard North, while multiple major winner James Wade takes on former World Youth Champion - Keegan Brown.

World Grand Prix champion Daryl Gurney, the number four seed, will take on Belgium's Ronny Huybrechts, whose brother Kim plays capable qualifier James Richardson.

Champions League winner Mensur Suljovic with collide with former world finalist Kevin Painter in one of the stand-out ties of the First Round, as former Lakeside Champion Stephen Bunting meets newly-crowned World Youth Champion Dimitri van den Bergh in another mouth-watering contest.

UK Open finalist Gerwyn Price plays PDPA Qualifier Ted Evetts - one of a host of exciting debutants, while eighth seed Dave Chisnall clashes with crowd favourite Vincent van der Voort.

Two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis awaits the winner of the Preliminary Round tie between Russia's Aleksandr Oreshkin and Germany's Kevin Munch, while European Championship finalist Rob Cross makes his Ally Pally debut against either Seigo Asada or Gordon Mathers.

The tournament runs from December 14 to January 1 at London's Alexandra Palace, with the full schedule of play to be confirmed in due course.

PDC World Darts Championship 2017/18 Draw


Preliminary Round

Jeff Smith v Luke Humphries
Brendan Dolan v Alan Ljubic
Xiao Chen Zong v Bernie Smith
Kenny Neyens v Jamie Lewis
Seigo Asada v Gordon Mathers
Kai Fan Leung v Paul Lim
Willard Bruguier v Cody Harris
Aleksandr Oreshkin v Kevin Munch

First Round

Michael van Gerwen (1) v Christian Kist
Peter Wright (2) v Diogo Portela
Gary Anderson (3) v Smith/Humphries
Daryl Gurney (4) v Ronny Huybrechts
Mensur Suljovic (5) v Kevin Painter
Phil Taylor (6) v Chris Dobey
Adrian Lewis (7) v Oreshkin/Munch
Dave Chisnall (8) v Vincent van der Voort
Raymond van Barneveld (9) v Richard North
Simon Whitlock (10) v Martin Schindler
James Wade (11) v Keegan Brown
Jelle Klaasen (12) v Jan Dekker
Michael Smith (13) v Steve Lennon
Benito van de Pas (14) v Steve West
Alan Norris (15) v Kim Viljanen
Gerwyn Price (16) v Ted Evetts
Ian White (17) v Bruguier/Harris
Kim Huybrechts (18) v James Richardson
Joe Cullen (19) v Jermaine Wattimena
Rob Cross (20) v Asada/Mathers
Stephen Bunting (21) v Dimitri van den Bergh
Mervyn King (22) v Zoran Lerchbacher
Darren Webster (23) v Devon Petersen
Kyle Anderson (24) v Peter Jacques
Steve Beaton (25) v William O'Connor 
Cristo Reyes (26) v Antonio Alcinas
Justin Pipe (27) v Zong/B Smith
Robert Thornton (28) v Dolan/Ljubic
John Henderson (29) v Marko Kantele
Mark Webster (30) v Fen Leung/Lim
Jonny Clayton (31) v Neyens/J Lewis
James Wilson (32) v Krzystof Ratajski


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World Darts Championship 2017/18 Draw: Van Gerwen handed Kist clash at Alexandra Palace

Michael van Gerwen will begin the defence of his World Championship title against fellow Dutchman Christian Kist, while Phil Taylor commences his final Alexandra Palace campaign against emerging star Chris Dobey.

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