Gerwyn Price will begin his defence of the William Hill World Darts Championship against either Ritchie Edhouse or Lihao Wen, with the draw for the sport’s biggest tournament having been made on Monday.
Number one seed Price claimed his maiden World Championship triumph at Alexandra Palace last year, defeating Gary Anderson to lift the Sid Waddell Trophy.
The Welshman will face either England’s Edhouse or Chinese qualifier Wen in his opening assignment as he bid to retain the sport’s biggest title.
“I can’t worry about who I’m going to play, I’ve just got to make sure my preparation is right because the first game’s always the toughest,” said Price.
“I’ll be stepping up my practice to get myself ready for the World Championship but I’m full of confidence after how I played at the Grand Slam, especially in the final stages.”
The draw, which was made by Wayne Mardle and Colin Lloyd live on Sky Sports News on Monday, sees the top 32 players from the PDC Order of Merit seeded through to round two, with the first round featuring the ProTour Order of Merit Qualifiers up against the Qualifiers & International Representatives.
Fallon Sherrock will face Steve Beaton on her return to the stage where she famously became the first woman to beat a man at a World Championship two years ago.
Grand Slam quarter-finalist Sherrock or 57-year-old Beaton, competing in his 31st consecutive World Championship, will then play Belgium’s Kim Huybrechts in the second round.
“It’s a very exciting draw, Steve is an icon of the sport,” said Sherrock.
“It will be a privilege to share the stage with him and I’m excited to see what happens.
“I know Steve will let the game flow, and hopefully we can produce a good game for the crowd. I can’t wait to feel the roar of Ally Pally again.”
Lisa Ashton, who also qualified via the PDC Women’s Series, will take on Dutchman Ron Meulenkamp for the right to play former runner-up Michael Smith.
World number two Peter Wright, who won the last silverware of the year at last weekend’s Players Championship Finals, will begin his quest for a second Ally Pally title inside three years against either Ryan Meikle or 16-year-old German Fabian Schmutzler, who will become the second-youngest player to compete in the event.
Three-time World Champion Michael van Gerwen will face a debutant in the form of either Chas Barstow or Canada’s John Norman Jnr.
The most successful player of 2021, Jonny Clayton will await the winner of the game between Irish teenage sensation Keane Barry and Hong Kong’s Royden Lam.
Returning Dutch legend Raymond van Barneveld will be seeking redemption for his first round loss two years ago as he meets Filipino Lourence Ilagan, with the winner to play 2017/18 World Champion Rob Cross.
Two-time World Champions Gary Anderson and Adrian Lewis could meet in the second round, though the latter must first face Canada’s Matt Campbell.
67-year-old legend Paul Lim will take on Joe Murnan, with the winner to play number ten seed Nathan Aspinall.
2021/22 William Hill World Darts Championship
Draw Bracket – Second Round Onwards
(1) Gerwyn Price v Ritchie Edhouse/Lihao Wen
(32) Kim Huybrechts v Steve Beaton/Fallon Sherrock
(16) Stephen Bunting v Ross Smith/Jeff Smith
(17) Dirk van Duijvenbode v Jermaine Wattimena/Boris Koltsov
(8) Jonny Clayton v Keane Barry/Royden Lam
(25) Gabriel Clemens v Lewy Williams/Toyokazu Shibata
(9) Michael Smith v Ron Meulenkamp/Lisa Ashton
(24) Glen Durrant v William O’Connor/Danny Lauby
(4) James Wade v Maik Kuivenhoven/Ky Smith
(29) Vincent van der Voort v Adam Hunt/Boris Krcmar
(13) Joe Cullen v Ted Evetts/Jim Williams
(20) Simon Whitlock v Martijn Kleermaker/John Michael
(5) Dimitri Van den Bergh v Florian Hempel/Martin Schindler
(28) Devon Petersen v Jamie Hughes/Raymond Smith
(12) Krzysztof Ratajski v Steve Lennon/Madars Razma
(21) Mervyn King v Ryan Joyce/Roman Benecky
(2) Peter Wright v Ryan Meikle/Fabian Schmutzler
(31) Damon Heta v Luke Woodhouse/James Wilson
(15) Ryan Searle v William Borland/Bradley Brooks
(18) Danny Noppert v Jason Heaver/Juan Francisco Rodriguez
(7) Jose de Sousa v Jason Lowe/Daniel Larsson
(26) Mensur Suljovic v Alan Soutar/Diogo Portela
(10) Nathan Aspinall v Joe Murnan/Paul Lim
(23) Brendan Dolan v Callan Rydz/Yuki Yamada
(3) Michael van Gerwen v Chas Barstow/John Norman Jnr
(30) Chris Dobey v Rusty-Jake Rodriguez/Ben Robb
(14) Dave Chisnall v Darius Labanauskas/Charles Losper
(19) Luke Humphries v Rowby-John Rodriguez/Nick Kenny
(6) Gary Anderson v Adrian Lewis/Matt Campbell
(27) Ian White v Scott Mitchell/Chris Landman
(11) Rob Cross v Raymond van Barneveld/Lourence Ilagan
(22) Daryl Gurney v Ricky Evans/Nitin Kumar