PDC World Championship: Phil Taylor makes winning start
PDC World Darts Championship
- Alexandra Palace, London
- Thursday, 15 December - Monday, 2 January
- Live television coverage on Sky Sports 1
The 15-time world champion Phil Taylor eased into the second round of the PDC World Championship with a comfortable 3-0 win over Haruki Muramatsu of Japan.
Taylor went in as the overwhelming favourite against the Japanese number one, who won his preliminary round match earlier in the night.
And he showed his strength, finishing with an average of 99.98.
The seventh seed Wes Newton also made it safely through after beating Belgium's Kurt van der Rijck 3-0.
Taylor broke in the opening leg of the match but Muramatsu hit a 14-dart leg to level it. But Taylor settled down, taking the next two legs, sealing the set with a 98 checkout.
Taylor, who was watched at Alexandra Palace by Chelsea player Michael Essien, continued in the same way in the second set with a 13-darter, sealed with a double 18, giving him a 2-0 advantage.
He swept through the third set - including an 11-dart leg which featured three 140s and an 81 checkout - to keep on track for a 16th world title.
"It was hard work to be honest with you," said Taylor. "It was like playing Jockey Wilson - a bad shot and then three good shots. He was a good player.
"He is very steady and precise plus you don't know who you are playing. I think he would have frightened any pro tonight."
Taylor will play either Dave Chisnall or Mark Dudbridge in the second round.
Earlier in the evening, Newton looked in control throughout against the World Championship debutant Van der Rijck, hitting a 108 checkout to win the first set.
The second set was more closely contested with a 136 checkout by Van der Rijck helping to force a deciding leg but Newton, with the throw, took it with a double 10.
Van der Rijck held his throw at the beginning of the third set but was broken in the third leg and, although Newton missed a couple of match-winning darts in the next leg, he made no mistake in the fifth leg, closing it out with double eight.
Newton will next face Justin Pipe, who got the better of Australian qualifier Sean Reed 3-1 while Co Stompe also advanced following a 3-0 victory over Michael Smith.