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World Grand Prix: Michael van Gerwen beats Jamie Hughes to reach second round
Gary Anderson, James Wade and Michael Smith all though as seeds survive on day one
Last Updated: 07/10/19 10:16am
Michael van Gerwen was forced to dig deep and find some of his very best finishing to avoid a scare against Jamie Hughes on the opening night of the World Grand Prix.
Having claimed his fourth title at the Citywest last year, Van Gerwen is hoping to defend the title for the first time and despite being far from his very best he was able to find a way to beat debutant Hughes.
A typically blistering check-out from MvG gave him a 2-1 lead but Hughes hit back in style settling into his stride to take out the next two legs.
When Van Gerwen missed three darts for the opener, Hughes stepped in to leave the world No 1 staring at a second first-round exit in three years.
However when he needed to the Dutchman found his very best, a 108 finish gave him the second set and parity in the contest before punishing Hughes who missed two darts for a 2-0 lead in the third.
With his opponent continuing to fritter away his chances, Van Gerwen stepped up to pin 135 on the bullseye and move within one leg of the match which he duly gobbled up.
Next up is fellow Dutchman Jeffrey de Zwaan, the Dutchman was too good for an out-of-sorts Steve Beaton who was making his 16th appearance at the Grand Prix having made his debut in 2001.
De Zwaan won five of the six legs to coast into a showdown with the world No 1, whom he beat in a Matchplay thriller last year.
World Grand Prix: Sunday's first round results
|Ricky Evans 0-2 Chris Dobey|
|Mervyn King 2-1 Dimitri Van den Bergh|
|Joe Cullen 1-2 Ian White|
|Jeffrey de Zwaan 2-0 Steve Beaton|
|James Wade 2-1 John Henderson|
|Michael Smith 2-1 Simon Whitlock|
|Michael van Gerwen 2-1 Jamie Hughes|
|Gary Anderson 2-0 Keegan Brown|
Anderson eases into second round
Gary Anderson kicked off his bid for a first Grand Prix crown with a straightforward victory against Keegan Brown, who was left to rue missed opportunities.
The Flying Scotsman is looking to finish the season on a high having had the early months of the campaign disrupted by a back injury and having only reached the final once before he is keen to add another new trophy to his collection.
The Scot coasted to the first set and despite facing more of a struggle in the second he was able to take the chances that came his way, pinning six of his 15 attempt at double in comparison to Brown who missed 15 darts to claim a leg.
Chris Dobey is likely to provide a stiffer rest if their World Championship showdown almost 12 months ago is anything to go by. Hollywood enjoyed a superb debut, bouncing back from losing the opening leg against Ricky Evans for a comfortable 2-0 victory.
A match that saw both players start in style never really caught fire as an impressive Dobey won five of the next six legs to record a classy triumph and leave 'Rapid' Ricky searching for a first win at the Grand Prix.
World Grand Prix.....what's next
|Monday's First Round matches||Stephen Bunting vs Jonny Clayton|
|Vincent van der Voort vs Nathan Aspinall|
|Adrian Lewis vs Jermaine Wattimena|
|Glen Durrant vs Krzysztof Ratajski|
|Daryl Gurney (3) vs Danny Noppert|
|Gerwyn Price (6) vs Dave Chisnall|
|Rob Cross (2) vs Mensur Suljovic|
|Peter Wright (7) vs Max Hopp|
Bully Boy through after titanic tussle
Michael Smith has never been past the second round at the Grand Prix and his attempt to win a first major title survived a huge scare against Simon Whitlock.
Bully Boy, beaten in World Championship, Premier League and World Matchplay finals over the last 18 months, was staring down the barrel of a surprise exit against the 2017 runner-up before edging a final leg shoot-out.
Having lost the first set, Smith trailed 2-1 in the second set before finding his very best form thanks to a blistering 128 finish that set him on the way to a level contest.
With Whitlock beginning to flounder, an ever better 155 helped Smith into an early lead in the decider but The Wizard battled back and having seen Bully Boy miss two darts for the match pinned double 10 to force the decider.
Smith's great friend and practice partner Ian White will provide the next opposition after winning a remarkable match against Joe Cullen, coming from the brink of defeat to record a 2-1 win and a place in the last 16.
Cullen had been walloped 10-0 by White at the World Matchplay earlier this year but looked to have made amends when he reeled off five straight legs to stand on the brink of a surprise win.
But having stopped the rot White claimed five in succession to level the match at one set all and stand within a leg of victory himself.
There was still time for drama though as White missed eight darts to seal the victory, only to see Cullen miss darts himself to stay alive and Diamond finally pinned the winning double at the ninth time of asking.
Wade survives Hendo test
James Wade underlined his credentials as a contender for another major title with a 2-1 victory win over John Henderson to put his recent Grand Prix struggles behind him.
The 2007 and 2010 champion has lost in the first round in each of the last four years, in fact he is without a win at the tournament since beating Gary Anderson in the 2014 semi-final but he came through a tough first rounder on opening night.
Wade pinned a superb 142 check-out on his way to the first set, without missing a single dart at a double against Hendo who had ended MvG's reign here two years ago.
And the Scot served notice of another surprise when he edged a second set before Wade closed out the contest with a classy third set that set up a date with Mervyn King who produced a battling display to beat World Youth champion Dimitri Van den Bergh
Having missed a dart for the opening set, King allowed Van den Bergh to level at 2-2 and then pinch the lead with a brilliant 105 finish to follow his earlier 112.
King matched The Dreammaker's 112 on his way to taking the second set and then saved his best for when the Belgian was 2-0 in front.
A 13-darter from 2012 runner-up King kept the match alive and then a brilliant 133 finish set up the decider where The King prevailed.
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