Littler draws Van Gerwen in World Matchplay opener

Luke Littler
Luke Littler has beaten Michael Van Gerwen four times in nine matches [Getty Images]

Luke Littler has been drawn against three-time winner Michael van Gerwen in the first round of the World Matchplay.

The 17-year-old, ranked 25th in the world, will take on world number two Van Gerwen in Blackpool on 13 July.

Littler, who did not play in the 2023 World Matchplay, won the Premier League in May following his astonishing run to the World Championship final in January.

Van Gerwen has faced the teenager nine times, winning on five occasions.

World number one Luke Humphries will take on Ricardo Pietreczko, while defending champion Nathan Aspinall faces Luke Woodhouse.

Michael Smith, the third seed, plays Gary Anderson in his opening match while Daryl Gurney takes on Gerwyn Price.