• PDC World Championship

Flawless Van Gerwen opens with crushing win

ESPN staff
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Van Gerwen cruised through effortlessly © PA Photos
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Michael Van Gerwen dropped just a single leg as he crushed Zoran Lerchbacher in the first round of the PDC World Championship.

The Dutchman never really needed to shift up a gear as he cruised past the Austrian 3-0 at Alexandra Palace. He will now face Kevin McDine for a place in the last 16.

"I didn't play great tonight," Van Gerwen, last year's runner-up, said. "But the first round is about winning, not producing incredible performances and ton-plus averages.

"Last year's tournament was incredible for me, it was just disappointing to fall at the final hurdle. Walking out onto stage tonight brought some very special memories for me."

Qualifier Lerchbach, who earlier in the evening beat Ben Ward to set up the clash with Van Gerwen, notched his only score in the first leg of the second set.

The session opened with a superb affair as Beau Anderson claimed a debut 3-2 victory at the expense of two-time major champion Colin Lloyd.

Anderson led the match twice only for Lloyd, a semi-finalist in this competition in 2002, to force a deciding set.

The final set saw 30-year-old Anderson miss four chances to seal the win before the Australian won the match on double-eight in a sudden-death shoot-out.

"I'm very relieved to get through that after missing four darts to win it," Anderson, who will play world No. 9 Robert Thornton in the next round, said.

"I led the match twice but Colin came back both times and I thought my chance may have gone. But I kept holding throw in the decider and I'm thrilled with this result."

Elsewhere, Vincent van der Voort progressed to the last 32 with a 3-1 win over Matt Clark.

Van der Voort, a quarter-finalist three years ago, was straight out the blocks and won the first set without reply, including a 131 checkout in the opening leg.

However, Clark, returning to Alexandra Palace after a four year absence, hit back to level the match.

Van der Voort capitalised on missed doubles from the PDPA qualifier to take the third set before falling behind in the fourth set. But he found his touch at the right time to power through the next two legs and end the match.

In the final game of the evening, world No. 4 Simon Whitlock recorded five 180s en route to a routine 3-0 victory over Ross Smith.

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