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Simon Gott 28th May 2014 - 9:23

Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters

Michael van Gerwen will begin the defence of his Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters title aginst James Wade on Thursday night, with Phil Taylor set to meet Peter Wright as the World Series of Darts event begins.

Van Gerwen had claimed the inaugural Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters title 12 months ago when he defeated Raymond van Barneveld in the final at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium.

The World Champion will face seven-time major winner Wade in Thursday's quarter-finals, with previous classic encounters between the pair included the 2013 World Championship semi-final when van Gerwen hit a nine-darter.

Phil Taylor, the 16-time World Champion, has drawn 2014 World Championship finalist Peter Wright for their opener, while Australia's former European Champion Simon Whitlock takes on Dave Chisnall.

The other tie sees reigning UK Open champion Adrian Lewis take on van Barneveld, who won the Betway Premier League Darts title last Thursday and also took victory when the pair met at the same stage in Dubai 12 months ago.

The draw means that there is the potential for a repeat of the 2013 Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters final at the last four stage this time around, should van Gerwen and van Barneveld win their ties, although rivals Wade and Lewis will be hoping to prevent an all-Dutch semi-final.

Meanwhile, Taylor, Wright, Whitlock and Chisnall will form the opposite side of the draw as they bid to claim the $50,000 first prize on Friday night.

"It is great to have this fantastic event back at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium," said Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice-President Colm McLoughlin.

"This event was live to 120 million homes across Europe last year and we had over 5,000 people attend, and we're expecting a much bigger crowd this year.

"It is events like this which keep the fire burning for Dubai Duty Free, and I hope this grows and grows. I welcome the world's top players to Dubai and hope that they have a fantastic time."

PDC Chief Executive Matthew Porter said: "The inaugural Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters was a huge success last year and this year's tournament is on course to surpass that.

"We're delighted to be back where the World Series of Darts began last year, and are grateful to the support of Dubai Duty Free for their sponsorship and for providing the fantastic host venue - the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium.


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