World Matchplay - Sunday evening round-up
PHIL TAYLOR made a winning start to his bid for a 14th World Matchplay title by sweeping aside Stuart Kellett in Blackpool on Sunday evening.
Taylor returned to the Winter Gardens stage in typically imperious form, as he began his bid to claim a record sixth successive World Matchplay title, and continue his incredible run of success in the past two decades, with a dominant display.
The World Champion punished Blackpool debutant Kellett for a poor start as he took the game's opening seven legs, hitting a 161 checkout, in ruthless fashion.
The 31-year-old landed a 180 and double nine as he finally got off the mark in leg eight, but Taylor finished 96 to restore his cushion, took out 134 to lead 9-1 and sealed victory with a superb 11-darter which featured two 180s.
"It's a great first round for me and it was more comfortable than I thought it would be," said Taylor, who now meets Terry Jenkins in round two on Tuesday.
"Stuart's a lot better player than he showed tonight - he beat me in a Players Championship a few weeks ago and maybe he had some nerves.
"I've prepared well and I'm happy to be through. My average of 103 was average really, because a lot of players are hitting those types of scores, but I know Terry will test me in the second round."
Number two seed Michael van Gerwen held off a brave fightback from 2005 champion Colin Lloyd before he progressed to a second round clash with Peter Wright courtesy of a 10-7 victory.
Van Gerwen raced into a five-leg lead before Lloyd, aided by a 120 finish, hit back to trail just 7-6 at one stage, but a key bullseye from the Dutchman denied him the chance to pull level before the Premier League Darts champion edged into the last 16.
"Colin's a brilliant player and he never gave up, so I'm happy to have won that match," said van Gerwen. "I'm really pleased to play so well in the first round because you always want to play well on this stage and I'm proud to do it.
"Winning the game was most important and I hope I can do well in this tournament.
Former Premier League Darts champion Gary Anderson knocked out number 13 seed Mervyn King with a fine 10-5 victory, showing flashes of his brilliant best as he returned from the illness which recently saw him miss the European Championship.
The Scot showed no signs of ill-effects as he took the game's first three legs without reply, and he also led 8-2 before King took the next three to threaten a fightback.
Anderson, though, steadied himself with a 177 and an 84 finish as he won a ninth leg, before taking out 76 to progress to a second round clash with 2007 champion James Wade.
"At times it felt pretty good and the trebles were going in and the finishing was fine, but at the back end of the game I started to struggle a bit," said Anderson. "I was telling myself not to throw it away, and I got there in the end.
"My practise has been going brilliant, so if they can get a bit better on stage I'll be a lot happier. James is very steady and you know what you're going to get against him, so I'll have to dig in."
Dave Chisnall, meanwhile, twice hit back from behind before defeating Paul Nicholson 10-8, claiming his first victory at the Winter Gardens in his third World Matchplay appearance.
Nicholson led 3-1 early on before Chisnall took three of the next four to level, before taking out 121 in a three-leg burst as he moved 7-5 up.
Former Players Championship Finals winner Nicholson then took three legs of his own to lead 8-7, but the game had another twist as Chisnall landed the bull to level, double nine to move 9-8 and double eight to seal a narrow victory.
"Paul didn't play his best game and I wasn't at my best, and it was a game where I had to scrap," said Chisnall.
"When I was 4-1 down I thought it was going to be like previous years here, but I dug in, pulled it out of the bag and I'm glad to get the victory.
"Now that I've won here, when I come back on Wednesday I hope I'll be a bit more relaxed and able to play my best darts."
The first round concludes on Monday night with the remaining four matches, headlined by world number three and new European Champion Adrian Lewis taking on Belgian debutant Ronny Huybrechts.
UK Open runner-up Andy Hamilton is up against Blackpool's Ronnie Baxter - the 1998 World Matchplay finalist, while Fleetwood's Wes Newton takes on Jamie Caven and Scottish ace Robert Thornton meets Ian White.
Sunday July 21
Justin Pipe (9) 10-4 Mark Webster
Kevin Painter (12) 10-7 Jamie Lewis
Kim Huybrechts (15) 4-10 Peter Wright
Brendan Dolan (14) 10-8 Steve Beaton
Mervyn King (13) 5-10 Gary Anderson
Dave Chisnall (10) 10-8 Paul Nicholson
Phil Taylor (1) 10-1 Stuart Kellett
Michael van Gerwen (2) 10-7 Colin Lloyd
Monday July 22 (7pm)
Robert Thornton (11) v Ian White
Wes Newton (7) v Jamie Caven
Adrian Lewis (3) v Ronny Huybrechts
Andy Hamilton (6) v Ronnie Baxter
Mervyn King v Gary Anderson
0-0 - Gary Anderson wins the bull and will throw first.
0-1 - Anderson settles any early nerves by landing a 180 and finishing 101 to take the opening leg.
0-2 - Anderson opens with a 174 and finishes double 18 for a 14-darter to break throw immediately.
0-3 - The Scot adds a second 180 before landing double ten to move three legs up.
1-3 - King initially misses three darts at doubles, but Anderson is unable to land double four to finish 72 and the Norfolk ace returns to land double eight to get off the mark.
1-4 - Anderson finishes 76 in two darts to confidently win his fourth leg of the game.
2-4 - King hits back on double 16.
2-5 - King misses tops for a 120 finish to break throw, and Anderson hits double eight to punish his opponent.
2-6 - Anderson takes out 94 on double 16 to move four legs clear with a break of throw.
2-7 - Anderson's charge continues as he lands tops to move three legs away from the win.
2-8 - Anderson finishes 87 on double 18 to edge closer to victory.
3-8 - King takes out double five to hit back with a break of throw.
4-8 - King misses three darts to take the leg, but when Anderson is unable to land two darts at double 18, his opponent returns on double four to continue his revival.
5-8 - King posts a 180 and, after Anderson misses double 13 for a 106 finish, he posts tops to reduce the gap to three legs.
5-9 - Anderson kicks off the leg with a 177, and finishes 84 on double 12 to move to the brink of victory.
5-10 - Anderson seals a fine win by taking out 76 on double four.
Dave Chisnall v Paul Nicholson
0-0 - Paul Nicholson wins the bull and will throw first.
0-1 - Nicholson opens the match with a 13-darter as double 16 gives him the lead.
0-2 - Chisnall misses a dart at tops, and Nicholson takes out 61 on double four to break throw.
1-2 - Chisnall breaks back to get off the mark.
1-3 - Double four sees Nicholson break again to regain his two-leg cushion.
1-4 - Nicholson finishes 80 on double ten to move three legs up.
2-4 - Chisnall initially slips on his doubles, but Nicholson misses a dart at double 16 to punish his opponent and the St Helens ace returns on double six to hit back.
3-4 - Chisnall breaks by landing tops for an 80 finish.
4-4 - Chisnall is first to a finish, initially missing the bull and two darts at double eight before returning to land double four with his sixth dart to win the leg.
4-5 - Chisnall misses three darts at double 13, and Nicholson regains his range to land double eight and edge back in front.
5-5 - Chisnall produces the game's first 180 and follows that with a 102 checkout to level again.
6-5 - Chisnall finishes 121 on the bull to hit the front for the first time in the game.
7-5 - Chisnall lands his second 180 of the game and hits double eight to move two legs up.
7-6 - Nicholson posts his first maximum of the contest, and although he initially is unable to finish 139, he returns when Chisnall misses the bull for a 121 checkout to take out 80 on double ten.
7-7 - Nicholson levels the game by posting double 18.
7-8 - Double top puts Nicholson back ahead.
8-8 - Chisnall takes out 78 on the bull to level once more.
9-8 - Chisnall moves back ahead and to the brink of victory with a key break on double nine.
10-8 - Chisnall opens with two 140s, and seals a hard-fought victory on double eight.
Phil Taylor v Stuart Kellett
0-0 - Phil Taylor wins the bull and will throw first.
1-0 - Taylor lands double four to win the opening leg.
2-0 - Taylor kicks off the leg with a 180, and though Kellett replies with a 174 the reigning champion takes an immediate break of throw on double 14.
3-0 - Double top sees Taylor win a third successive leg.
4-0 - Taylor finishes 69 on double six to break for a second time and move four legs clear.
5-0 - Taylor continues his charge, taking out 161 to win a fifth straight leg.
6-0 - Kellett fires in his first 180 of the game, but misses two darts at tops, and Taylor punishes him on double four.
7-0 - Taylor misses a dart at tops, but Kellett is off-target on double 18 for a 116 finish to get off the mark, and the World Champion continues his ruthless streak on tops.
7-1 - Both players hit 180s, and when Taylor misses the bull for a 164 finish, Kellett lands double nine to win his first leg of the game.
8-1 - Taylor takes out 96 on double 18 to restore his lead.
9-1 - Taylor finishes 134 on double 16 to move a leg away from the second round.
10-1 - Taylor lands two 180s and finishes double 16 for an 11-darter to seal victory with a 103.18 average.
Michael van Gerwen v Colin Lloyd
0-0 - Michael van Gerwen wins the bull and throws first.
1-0 - van Gerwen takes out 107 to win the game's opening leg.
2-0 - The Dutch ace finishes double 13 to break throw and double his lead.
3-0 - van Gerwen wins a third successive legs as he continues his fine start, landing double one.
4-0 - van Gerwen posts a maximum and finishes 120 to break for a second time.
5-0 - Double 18 sees the number two seed take a fifth successive leg.
5-1 - Double ten sees Lloyd win his first leg of the game.
5-2 - Lloyd fires in a 180 and finishes tops to break throw.
5-3 - Lloyd's revival continnues as he punishes van Gerwen for a missed bullseye by hitting double five to win a third successive leg.
6-3 - van Gerwen lands a 180 and finishes double 16 to win his first leg in four.
6-4 - The number two seed adds another maximum, but Lloyd takes out 120 to reduce the gap to two legs once again.
7-4 - van Gerwen posts tops to regain his three-leg cushion.
7-5 - Lloyd finishes 96 on double 19 to win his fifth leg of the contest.
7-6 - Lloyd wires the bullseye to finish 122, but when van Gerwen misses double top, ten and five, the 2005 champion returns to land double ten to pll back to just one leg behind his opponent.
8-6 - van Gerwen finishes 85 on the bull to break throw and deny Lloyd the chance to level.
9-6 - van Gerwen moves a leg away from victory by pinning double four.
9-7 - Lloyd opens the leg with a 180, and though van Gerwen replies with a 174, the Essex ace then fires in a 168 score before landing double two to keep his hopes alive.
10-7 - van Gerwen powers in a 171 score - of three treble 19s - to leave 100 after nine darts, and hits tops for a 14-darter to seal victory.