Phil Taylor, Brendan Dolan, Justin Pipe and Mervyn King all reach second round of World Grand Prix in Dublin
Last Updated: 09/10/12 9:06am
Phil Taylor: comfortably cleared his first hurdle at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin
Phil Taylor began his bid to win the PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix for an 11th time with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Michael Smith in Dublin.
'The Power' avoided falling at the first hurdle for the fourth time in the history of the tournament, dropping only a leg in each set at the Citywest Hotel to cruise through to the second round.
He finished with an average of 100.7 and put Smith, who had hit back-to-back 180s in the opening set, out of his misery with a superb checkout of 106.
"It's the first time in a few weeks that I'm actually enjoying it," Taylor told Sky Sports afterwards. "I've had a really rough couple of months but I'm trying to get back on top. I wasn't quite ready the last couple of tournaments."
However the biggest cheer of the night was saved for Brendan Dolan, the man beaten by Taylor in last year's final, when the Northern Irishman caused something of a shock by knocking out Gary Anderson 2-0.
Meanwhile, Mervyn King rallied from a set down to see off Terry Jenkins in a see-saw battle that could have gone either way.
'The Bull' had checked out 126 as he swept through the opening set in impressive fashion, only to then miss three darts in the second to wrap up the match.
King took three legs on the spin to level matters and after Jenkins had missed a further two opportunities for victory, double 10 booked the 46-year-old from Ipswich a clash with Dave Chisnall, conqueror of Dean Winstanley.
Justin Pipe reached the second round of the event for the first time in his career with a hard-fought 2-1 triumph over Simon Whitlock, who failed to take a leg in the deciding set to tumble out on opening night.
But it was Dolan who was the star turn, raising hopes he can repeat his run of 2011 that included him becoming the first player in the double-start format to land a nine-darter during his semi-final win over James Wade.
"After having such a great year last year it might have been a bit of a flop to lose in the first round," he told Sky Sports.
"I got a really hard draw in Gary Anderson and to actually beat him is a dream for me.
"I'm still in the competition and I obviously can go all the way. I need to keep working and get my head down, but with the support of this crowd you never know."
Elsewhere, there were wins for Kevin Painter and Vincent van der Voort respectively over Kim Huybrechts and William O'Connor, with the latter of the two matches coming down to a dramatic deciding leg.