Rob Cross will begin his defence of the William Hill World Darts Championship against Jeffrey de Zwaan or Nitin Kumar.
The draw for the 2018/2019 championship was made today (Monday) for darts’ biggest-ever event, which will see 96 players compete from December 13-January 1 for £2.5 million in prize money and the Sid Waddell Trophy live on Sky Sports.
Under the new, expanded format, the top 32 players from the PDC Order of Merit are seeded and will enter at the second round stage.
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Reigning champion Cross, who shocked the world at last year’s event by taking glory on his Alexandra Palace debut, will face a second round test against either World Matchplay semi-finalist De Zwaan or Indian qualifer Kumar.
World ranked 44, De Zwaan is a potentially dangerous opponent for Cross, who is up to number two in the latest world rankings.
The Dutchman defeated world number one Michael van Gerwen in the UK Open during March and beat him again during an incredible run to the World Matchplay semi-finals in July.
De Zwaan also claimed his first senior PDC title at Players Championship 10 in April.
The schedule of matches will be confirmed later this week, although Cross will play on the opening night.