Dimitri van den Bergh (12/1 Betfred World Matchplay outright) admits he is excited to see how he reacts to the extra pressure of being the defending champion at the Betfred World Matchplay.

The DreamMaker saw off Adrian Lewis and Glen Durrant before toppling Gary Anderson 18-10 in last year’s final at Milton Keynes’ Marshall Arena to claim what remains his sole PDC major.

Van den Bergh begins his defence on Saturday evening against Devon Petersen (Match Betting – Van den Bergh 4/11, Petersen 21/10) and is in decent form, having reached both a final and a semi-final from four Players Championship events last week in Coventry.

Coming into a tournament as the defending champion always brings increased scrutiny, and the 27-year-old admits he is unsure as to how he will react to hearing his name in that context when he takes on Petersen.

“I have been introduced as the current World Youth champion in front of a crowd, and that gave me goosebumps, but this time it’s going to be at the Winter Gardens in front of a crowd,” Van den Bergh to The Darts Show podcast.

“I don’t know; I think again it’s going to be one of those goosebump moments. A lot of proudness knowing that hard work you put in can get paid off.”

This year’s Matchplay returns to its traditional home of the Winter Gardens, with the Blackpool venue synonymous with one of the biggest events on the darting calendar.

After taking the honours in Milton Keynes, repeating the trick in Lancashire will come with extra prestige, and he is intrigued to see how he performs.

He added: “I’m definitely very excited. I only hear a lot of good things about the venue, and many players say Winter Gardens is their favourite venue. I’m very curious to how it will feel for me.”

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Source: Darts – Betfred