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Taylor Anticipating Royal Rumble Against King

Phil Taylor returns to the glory trail in Blackpool as he bids for his 13th title (credit: Lawrence Lustig/ PDC)
Phil Taylor is anticipating a Battle Royal when he begins his bid for a 13th World Matchplay title at the Winter Gardens against Mervyn King on July 23.

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Taylor, also the reigning champion in Blackpool, is bidding to win a record-equalling fifth successive World Matchplay title and extend his own incredible run of success in the £400,000 tournament later this month.

The number one seed will open up his campaign against rival Mervyn King on Monday July 23, with the Norfolk thrower having returned to form by qualifying through the ProTour Order of Merit for the World Matchplay, after dropping out of the world's top 16 earlier this year.

Taylor and King have enjoyed a string of tussles on the big stage over the past five years, including the latter's win in the 2009 Premier League Darts semi-finals and a 17-6 victory for Taylor in the World Matchplay later that summer.

"It's a fantastic draw," said Taylor. "It's always a big challenge playing Mervyn because he's a great competitor who does everything right to prepare himself, and he's coming back into form this year.

"It's good for me too, because I know going to Blackpool that I've got to perform from the start if I'm going to keep hold of this title.

The duo were embroiled in controversy that fuelled their rivallry during the 2009 Premier League when King allegedly threw a dart over Taylor's head when he was bending down to retrieve a dart on the floor.

"We've had some great battles in the past and I'm sure that this will be another one," added The Power.

"In the past you might have been able to ease your way into an event but that's not the case now because the standard's so high, especially in this event, so I'll be practising hard over the next ten days or so before I get to Blackpool."

 

King got the better of the 15-time World Champion in their most recent meeting at the Players Championship Finals in December, something which is sure to fuel a revenge mission for tungsten predator Taylor.

The Betfair World Matchplay will commence on Saturday July 21, with the four first round games taking place on that evening including World Champion Adrian Lewis' clash with last month's Speedy Services UK Open winner Robert Thornton.

Five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld plays emerging youngster Michael Smith, two-time World Matchplay finalist Terry Jenkins meets Kim Huybrechts and Paul Nicholson plays Andy Smith in a star-studded opening night.

Sunday's second night of action will feature 2007 champion James Wade, who has reached the final for four of the past six years, up against resurgent Welshman Richie Burnett, who was the 2001 Blackpool runner-up and has kick-started his career in the past two years.

Number six seed Simon Whitlock plays Dutch ace Michael van Gerwen, Players Championship Finals winner Kevin Painter meets Steve Beaton and Mark Walsh faces Colin Osborne in the other Sunday fixtures.

Taylor's clash on Monday night will be preceded by Andy Hamilton, a semi-finalist last year, taking on Northern Ireland's Brendan Dolan, with Vincent van der Voort playing Ian White and Mark Webster facing 2005 winner Colin Lloyd.

The first round will conclude on Tuesday July 24 with the final four games, which include local favourites Wes Newton - the number five seed from Fleetwood - and Blackpool's Ronnie Baxter playing World Youth Champion James Hubbard and rising star Dave Chisnall respectively.

World number four Gary Anderson faces debutant Dean Winstanley, while Justin Pipe takes on another of the emerging young faces, Bradford's Joe Cullen.

The second round is split across Wednesday and Thursday, with the quarter-finals held in two sessions on Friday July 27, to be followed by Saturday's semi-finals and the final on Sunday night at the Winter Gardens.

Phil Taylor is the 6/4 favourite to win the 2012 World Matchplay with Bet365

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Taylor Anticipating Royal Rumble Against King

Phil Taylor is anticipating a Battle Royal when he begins his bid for a 13th World Matchplay title at the Winter Gardens against Mervyn King on July 23.

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