PDC World Darts Championship: Raymond van Barneveld back to best at Ally Pally
Last Updated: December 18, 2012 2:11pm
Raymond van Barneveld: Averaged over 108 as he raced to victory over Michael Smith
Raymond van Barneveld was back to his brilliant best in the PDC World Darts Championship at the Alexandra Palace on Sunday.
The five-time world champion was shocked 3-0 in the first round by James Richardson last year but there were no surprises against Michael Smith.
The number 13 seed lost the first leg but then won all the rest, notching nine 180s, averaging 108.31 - the sixth highest in the history of the competition - and finishing with a 111 checkout.
The Dutch ace was closing in on a nine dart finish in the final leg of the second set, having hit two 180s and then a treble 20, but was just under the treble 19 with his eighth dart.
He told Sky Sports: "I came here and I was so happy, I could feel the adrenalin in my whole body. I was thinking 'I'm back'. I won the Grand Slam of Darts, and it felt like I can win again.
"When I lifted that trophy one month ago, I was thinking to myself 'if you win this tournament, you can win them all.' If you play this level, like 108 average, you can beat anyone in the world, even Phil (Taylor)."
Van Barneveld's opponent in the second round will be number 20 seed Brendan Dolan, who notched a 3-0 whitewash of Mark Jones, finishing in style with a 120 checkout.
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The History Maker averaged 93 and enjoyed a 50 per cent checkout rate which debutant Jones had no answer to.
Last year's runner-up Andy Hamilton came from behind to post a 3-1 victory over Richardson.
The number eight seed lost the first set but then won the rest - taking the crucial third set 3-2 with a double two - to set up a second round clash with former world champion Richie Burnett.
After his victory, Hamilton said he hopes to reach this year's showpiece.
"It was a great experience from last year getting to the final and hopefully I can do it again this year. I'm playing great darts - I know it was a scrappy game but scrappy games are good to win."
In the final clash of the night, fourth seed Gary Anderson was pushed hard to win 3-1 against Finnish debutant Jani Haavisto, who knocked out compatriot Jarkko Komula 4-2 in the preliminary round earlier in the evening.