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Top seed Humphries eyes World Matchplay glory in Blackpool





Luke Humphries will hope to light up the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, as the Betfred World Matchplay gets underway this Saturday.

The 2024 World Champion enters the tournament as the number one seed, drawn in the first round against old rival Ricardo “Pikachu” Pietreczko, a clash which will headline the opening night.

The pair faced off in the World Championships last year, where Humphries had to rally back from 3-1 down to win a third round tie dominated by a hostile crowd and provocative antics from the German.

Humphries had to contend with a partisan German contingent in the crowd against Ricardo Pietreczko. Picture: Simon O'Connor/PDC
Humphries had to contend with a partisan German contingent in the crowd against Ricardo Pietreczko. Picture: Simon O'Connor/PDC

Elsewhere, Luke Littler will face Michael van Gerwen in the first round, with the teenager unseeded due to his debutant status.

The star-studded field will battle it out for the coveted Phil Taylor Trophy from July 13th to the 21st, with £800,000 on the line.

Last year’s runner-up Gerwyn Price and reigning champion Nathan Aspinall all join Humphries as top five seeds, whilst the Newbury star will also be well aware of the challenge posed by Michael Smith.

Luke Humphries and Luke Littler bump fists during their Premier League Final - (PDC)
Luke Humphries and Luke Littler bump fists during their Premier League Final - (PDC)

Humphries teamed up with the third seed to win the World Cup of Darts last weekend, sealing a record fifth title for England and the first since 2016.

Last year, Humphries went in as the sixth seed, beating Portugal’s José de Sousa in the first round with a 101 average.

The second round saw the defeat of Dirk van Duijvenbode in a 14-12 thriller, before a 16-13 win against Aussie Damon Heta in the quarter finals.

A semi final clash would end in narrow defeat to losing finalist Jonny Clayton, with Humphries hoping to go two steps further this year and win his first Matchplay title.

Luke Humphries at the BetVictor World Cup of Darts 2024 - Photo: Jonas Hunold/PDC Europe
Luke Humphries at the BetVictor World Cup of Darts 2024 - Photo: Jonas Hunold/PDC Europe


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