Michael van Gerwen thrilled with 'phenomenal' start to World Championship defence
By Sky Sports Darts
Last Updated: 15/12/17 5:52pm
Michael van Gerwen was thrilled with his "phenomenal" first-round victory over Christian Kist as he began the defence of his World Darts Championship title in confident fashion.
The two-time World Championship winner was made to work hard against his countryman at Alexandra Palace but started his campaign with aplomb to finish with an average of 106.17 on the opening night.
Van Gerwen secured the first set with a 141 check-out but Kist, a former BDO champion, battled well and claimed a high-level third set but was unable to extend the match further when the world No 1 close out the encounter to secure a second-round meeting with James Wilson.
Van Gerwen, who admitted he was under no illusions about the challenge Kist posed, told Sky Sports' Laura Woods: "You always expect a tough game. I know what he can do. Lately he was struggling with a bit of troubles with his arm. I think he is over it because he played a great game.
"I think anyone else he would have played he would give them a great game. I am really glad I could deliver that step extra when I had to. Phenomenal performance for the first round because the first round is always difficult.
"It is always nice to come to Alexandra Palace for the World Championship," Van Gerwen added after the match. "A great game like this to start the tournament off is always nice for your confidence.
Inside the mind of MVG
Michael van Gerwen sat down with Sky Sports prior to the World Darts Championship...
"I also want to say well done for Christian Kist because he put me under pressure. He played well and had over 100 hundred average. It was a nice start for me. I am really glad I won this game.
"I like to start straight away on top gear because people always play well. You have to perform round after round, game after game, leg after leg.
"This is the most important tournament of the year for us so you want to perform. With a crowd like this it is amazing."
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