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Van Gerwen meets Bernie Smith in TAB NZ Darts Masters opener – PDC.tv

Michael van Gerwen will begin his defence of the TAB New Zealand Darts Masters title against home favourite Bernie Smith on Friday, with the draw now available for the World Series of Darts event in Hamilton.

Following a two-year absence, the world’s top darts players have returned to New Zealand for the third leg of August’s Oceanic tour.

Three-time World Champion Van Gerwen is the reigning champion as he returns to the Globox Arena in Hamilton on August 26-27, having prevailed at the same venue in 2019.

Van Gerwen was victorious in the Queensland Darts Masters a fortnight ago, and the Dutchman has been drawn against former World Championship qualifier Smith in Friday’s first round.

Last week’s New South Wales Darts Masters winner Jonny Clayton begins his bid to claim back-to-back titles against DPA Qualifier Mal Cuming, who made his World Series bow in Wollongong last week.

Top seed Dimitri Van den Bergh, a World Series winner in Copenhagen and Amsterdam in June, plays Australian icon Simon Whitlock, while Whitlock’s World Cup winning partner Damon Heta meets 2022 Masters winner Joe Cullen.

World number one Gerwyn Price makes his first appearance in New Zealand against DPNZ number one Ben Robb, while US Darts Masters winner Michael Smith opens up against the veteran Warren Parry.

Elsewhere, NSW Darts Masters runner-up James Wade will play Australia’s Gordon Mathers for the second straight event, with Women’s World Matchplay champion Fallon Sherrock set to take on big stage debutant Kayden Milne.

The TAB New Zealand Darts Masters draw was made at Hamilton Gardens on Thursday, as the build-up to this weekend’s event continued.

Play will commence at 1900 local time (0800 BST) on each day, with a limited number of tickets still available through ticketek.co.nz.

Coverage will be available live on Sky Sport in New Zealand and through Fox Sports in Australia, as well as through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and Viaplay.

Live coverage through PDCTV will be available in all worldwide territories outside of Germany, Austria & Switzerland (where coverage is exclusively via DAZN).

ITV4 coverage in the UK will begin from 1900 BST on Friday August 26 and from 1630 BST on Saturday August 27.

TAB New Zealand Darts Masters
Draw Bracket

(1) Dimitri Van den Bergh v Simon Whitlock
Joe Cullen v Damon Heta
(4) James Wade v Gordon Mathers
Gerwyn Price v Ben Robb
(2) Michael van Gerwen v Bernie Smith
Jonny Clayton v Mal Cuming
(3) Michael Smith v Warren Parry
Fallon Sherrock v Kayden Milne

Schedule of Play
Friday August 26 (1900 local time, 0800 BST)
First Round

Jonny Clayton v Mal Cuming
Joe Cullen v Damon Heta
James Wade v Gordon Mathers
Fallon Sherrock v Kayden Milne
Michael Smith v Warren Parry
Michael van Gerwen v Bernie Smith
Gerwyn Price v Ben Robb
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Simon Whitlock
Best of 11 legs

Saturday August 27 (1900 local time, 0800 BST)
Quarter-Finals – Best of 11 legs
Semi-Finals – Best of 13 legs
Final – Best of 15 legs