- World Grand Prix, Day One
Taylor eases into second round, Wade survives thriller
Phil Taylor enjoyed a comfortable start in his bid to claim an 11th World Grand Prix title with a 2-1 first round win over Jamie Caven in Dublin.
With the tournament the only televised event to feature a double in-double-out format, both players came storming out of the blocks with a maximum 160 start, before Taylor immediately hit his first 180 of the night for six perfect darts.
Despite falling short of a nine-dart leg with his seventh dart, Taylor swiftly held throw before breaking Caven in the second leg to take firm control. The 16-time world champion held for a first set whitewash.
Caven notched his first leg of the match with a routine hold and should have broken throw after Taylor failed to score with his first six darts in the second leg. Despite seeing 'The Power' recover to level, Caven held his nerve to send the match into a deciding leg.
However, when Caven missed darts to hold in the second leg, Taylor found the all-important break and finally finished double eight for the win, ending with a 99.43 average.
Taylor will face a revived Paul Nicholson in the second round, after 'The Asset' produced a fantastic performance to defeat Premier League ace Robert Thornton 2-1. Nicholson, who endured a torrid time at the World Matchplay in June, finished 75 in the final two legs to clinch the deciding set against Thornton and end his night with an impressive 99.24 average.
Two-time winner James Wade survived a scare against former world champion Steve Beaton, finishing double five for the match in a final-leg decider. Virtually nothing separated the pair as Wade took the first set to throw, before coming back from two legs down to level the second. However, Beaton held on to force a deciding set and was handed a chance of victory when Wade missed three darts for the match. Beaton failed to finish double 12 on a 101 finish before Wade sealed the win.
Simon Whitlock had to battle hard to see off Michael Mansell 2-1 and set up a tie with Ronnie Baxter in the last 16. Whitlock claimed the first set despite missing 13 opening doubles in the third leg but Mansell replied with a superb 143 finish to level up the tie. After Mansell missed two darts for the match, Whitlock planted double eight to end a tense tie.
Baxter had earlier beaten 2004 champion Colin Lloyd 2-0 in the opening match at the Citywest Hotel.
Elsewhere, Wes Newton overcame the challenge of Peter Wright to advance into the next round. Newton finished the opening leg with a 128 and edged out the first set, before completing victory on double 14.
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