World Grand Prix: Phil Taylor edges past Jamie Caven; Terry Jenkins falls to Connie Finnan
Last Updated: 11/10/13 10:45am
Phil Taylor: Safely over first hurdle in the World Grand Prix
Phil Taylor made a winning start in his quest for an 11th World Grand Prix title and booked a mouth-watering last 16 clash with Paul Nicholson courtesy of a 2-1 victory over Jamie Caven at the Citywest Hotel, Dublin.
'The Power' negotiated a tricky first hurdle with aplomb, averaging over 115 in the first set before Derby darter Caven came roaring back in the second.
The double-in, double-out, format could have made life difficult for Taylor in the decider, however he held his nerve as Caven wilted, breaking with a slick 96 checkout, before holding throw to progress.
Taylor told Sky Sports afterwards: "It was a great game. I think Jamie had a possibility of winning this and his confidence was growing. Everybody seems to pull their best game out against me!"
A potential banana skin awaits Taylor in the last 16 after old foe Nicholson produced the performance of the night to overcome Robert Thornton 2-1.
Thornton took the first set of a high-quality clash, but Nicholson came storming back, claiming six legs on the spin to book a second round date with Taylor.
Night One results:
R Baxter (Eng) 2-0 C Lloyd (Eng)
W Newton (Eng) 2-0 P Wright (Eng)
P Nicholson (Aus) 2-1 R Thornton (Sco)
S Whitlock (Aus) 2-1 M Mansell (NIrl)
J Wade (Eng) 2-1 S Beaton (Eng)
P Taylor (Eng) 2-1 J Caven (Eng)
G Anderson 2-0 J Klaasen (Ned)
C Finnan (Ire) 2-0 T Jenkins (Eng)
The shock of the night came in the final match of the opening evening as two-time runner-up Terry Jenkins was stunned 2-0 by unheralded home favourite Connie Finnan.
Two-time champion James Wade and world No 4 Simon Whitlock were also made to sweat but both men scraped through to the next stage.
Whitlock broke Irish hearts as Mickey Mansell was defeated 2-1 on his second World Grand Prix appearance, while Wade edged past former world champion Steve Beaton by the same scoreline.
Both Mansell and Beaton had chances to win, however the pressure told and both top seeds progressed.
'The Wizard' Whitlock will face Ronnie Baxter in the next round after 'The Rocket' claimed his first win at the event since 2006 with a 2-0 win over Colin Lloyd.
Gary Anderson later rivalled Nicholson's display with a 2-0 demolition of Jelle Klaasen and he will next face Wes Newton, a 2-0 victor over the in-form Peter Wright.