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Ladbrokes Masters Darts 2021 Draw: Wright to face Ratajski or Whitlock in expanded event

Jamie Shaw in The Masters 05 Jan 2021
Peter Wright is the reigning Masters champion (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

The Ladbrokes Masters will be expanded from 16 to 24 players in 2021, with Peter Wright kicking off his title defence against either Krzysztof Ratajski or Simon Whitlock.

Due to current restrictions, the 2021 Ladbrokes Masters will be held behind closed doors at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes from January 29-31.

In a change to the format, the line-up will be comprised of the top 24 players from the PDC Order of Merit, with the top eight seeded through to Round Two.

Peter Wright claimed glory in 2020 and will kick off the defence of his title against either Poland’s Ratajski or Australian ace Whitlock.

Play will commence on Friday January 29, with the players ranked 9-24 playing off in the first round as the extended format begins.

Clashes at that stage will include Joe Cullen’s tie against Stephen Bunting, with both having impressed at the World Championship recently – with the winner progressing to take on newly-crowned World Champion Gerwyn Price.

Premier League champion Glen Durrant will play Mervyn King, while Grand Slam winner Jose de Sousa faces Jonny Clayton – who partnered Price to World Cup glory for Wales.

The world’s top eight players will then enter at the second round stage on Saturday January 30, with play to be split across two sessions on the day.

Five-time Masters champion Michael van Gerwen will start out against either De Sousa or Clayton.

James Wade, the only other former champion in the field, will meet either World Matchplay champion Dimitri Van den Bergh or Chris Dobey.

The tournament will conclude on Sunday January 31 with the Quarter-Finals in the afternoon session and the semi-finals and final in the evening session.

The schedule of play for the opening two days will be confirmed in due course.

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Ladbrokes Masters 2021 Draw

First Round

Joe Cullen (16) v Stephen Bunting (17)
Michael Smith (9) v Adrian Lewis (24)
Glen Durrant (13) v Mervyn King (20)
Ian White (12) v Mensur Suljovic (21)
Jose de Sousa (15) v Jonny Clayton (18)
Dimitri Van den Bergh (10) v Chris Dobey (23)
Krzysztof Ratajski (14) v Simon Whitlock (19)
Daryl Gurney (11) v Jeffrey de Zwaan (22)

Second Round
Gerwyn Price (1) v Cullen/Bunting
Gary Anderson (8) v M Smith/A Lewis
Rob Cross (4) v Durrant/King
Nathan Aspinall (5) v White/Suljovic
Michael van Gerwen (2) v De Sousa/Clayton
James Wade (7) v Van den Bergh/Dobey
Peter Wright (3) v Ratajski/Whitlock
Dave Chisnall (6) v Gurney/De Zwaan

Ladbrokes Masters 2021 Schedule of Play

Friday January 29

7pm-11pm
8x First Round matches
Best of 11 legs

Saturday January 30

Afternoon Session (12.45pm-5pm)

4x Second Round matches
Best of 19 legs

Evening Session (7pm-11pm)
4x Second Round matches
Best of 19 legs

Sunday January 31

Afternoon Session (12.45pm-5pm)
Quarter-Finals
Best of 19 legs

Evening Session (7pm-11pm)
Semi-Finals
Final
Best of 21 legs

Prize Fund
Winner: £60,000
Runner-up: £25,000
Semi-Final losers: £17,500
Quarter-Final losers: £10,000
Second Round losers: £5,000
First Round losers: £2,500
Total: £220,000