Mighty Mike faces Kist test
Michael van Gerwen begins the defence of his PDC World Championship title when he takes on fellow Dutchman Christian Kist in the opening round of the 2018 tournament.
Mighty Mike has had another dominant year since he defeated Gary Anderson at the Alexandra Palace back in January, adding another five major titles to his name in the season so far, while also teaming up with Raymond van Barneveld to win the World Cup of Darts for the Netherlands.
Van Gerwen is 1/80 to get past Kist and book his place in the second round, with the last time he fell in the opening round of the tournament coming in 2011 when Mensur Suljovic defeated him 3-1.
Kist, 22/1 to defeat MVG, is a former winner of the BDO Wold Championship so he knows all about lifting a major title. He won that event at Lakeside on his debut in 2012, defeating Tony O'Shea in the final 7-5.
Since switching to the PDC, Kist has played in three world championships and has only once advanced past the first round and that was in 2016, when he got the better of Justin Pipe 3-0 before falling to Dave Chisnall.
Number 16 seed Gerwyn Price is also in action on the opening night of the 2018 tournament where he will face Ted Evetts in the last game on the oche.
The Welshman reached his first major final in 2017 as he was the runner-up in the UK Open at Minehead, while he also paired with Mark Webster to make it through to the final of the World Cup, where they were beaten by the Dutch.
The World Championship has not been a great tournament for Price in the early stages of his career, as he has been beaten in the first round in all three of his appearances at the Ally Pally.
Price is 2/5 to break that run against his debutant opponent.
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