IN-FORM TAYLOR ROCKS VOS IN GIBRALTAR DARTS TROPHY OPENER
PHIL TAYLOR made a thrilling start to the Gibraltar Darts Trophy event with a 6-2 defeat of Gino Vos on Friday night, but home hopes in the tournament were ended as all four Gibraltan qualifiers were knocked out of the European Tour event.
World Champion Taylor kicked off the first PDC event in Gibraltar for three years with a sublime display as he averaged 115.31 and hit four 11-dart legs against Vos.
The young Dutchman actually won the game's opening leg, but could not answer a five-leg barrage from Taylor, who also missed four match darts in the game's seventh leg.
Vos took out 89 in two darts to keep his hopes alive, but Taylor hit a fourth 180 of the game as he completed a quartet of 11-dart finishes as he sealed the win.
"I'm very happy with that," said Taylor. "The crowd created a great atmosphere and we both fed off that, and it's a good start for me. I can probably improve a bit with my doubles but it was a good win."
Taylor now takes on Dean Winstanley in Saturday's second round, with the Yorkshireman coming from 4-1 and 5-4 down to defeat Mark Walsh in a deciding leg in their opener.
Michael van Gerwen, the winner of the two most recent European Tour events, began his bid for a hat-trick with a 6-2 win over John Bowles, who had shared the game's opening four legs before being blown away as the Dutchman hit legs of 11 and 12 darts to pull clear.
Van Gerwen will face Scott Rand in the second round, with the Coventry ace overcoming Jim Walker 6-4 earlier on Friday.
Simon Whitlock, the tournament's number two seed, was the biggest casualty on the opening day as he lost 6-3 to Connie Finnan, despite the Australian hitting a 156 checkout during the contest.
World number three Adrian Lewis narrowly avoided an upset against Northern Ireland's Michael Mansell, who took the Stoke thrower all the way to a deciding leg.
Austria's Mensur Suljovic knocked out number five seed Wes Newton in another 11-leg thriller, while Paul Nicholson earlier hit a 13-dart finish to win the deciding leg of his first round clash with Joe Cullen, who had led 4-1 at one stage.
Home hopes in the tournament, though, were ended on Friday as all four Gibraltan qualifiers were defeated.
George Federico shared the opening four legs of his clash with Steve Beaton before going down 6-2, while Dyson Parody opened his game against Andy Hamilton with a 180 before losing 6-3.
Dave Chisnall turned on the style with a classy whitewash of Manuel Vilerio, hitting five 180s and a 128 finish, while Gary Anderson also picked up a 6-0 win as he swept past Dylan Duo in only 12 minutes.
World number four James Wade impressed with a 101 average in his 6-3 win over Joe Murnan, who hit a pair of ton-plus finishes in defeat, while a 161 checkout was not enough for Peter Hudson as he went down 6-2 to a fine Kim Huybrechts performance.
Huybrechts now plays Richie Burnett in the second round, after the Welshman won the battle of former Lakeside Champions with Jelle Klaasen 6-3.
In-form Peter Wright, a Players Championship winner last weekend, whitewashed Mark Hylton and now plays Paul Amos, who upset the odds with a 6-4 win over Mark Webster.
Emerging Kent ace Josh Payne also produced an upset as he defeated Wayne Jones 6-2 to progress to a meeting with Chisnall, while Welsh youngster Jamie Lewis saw off Colin Osborne 6-4 and now plays Robert Thornton, who was a 6-4 winner against Walsall university student Matthew Dennant.
John Henderson knocked out Mervyn King 6-4 and now plays Justin Pipe, the world number ten who averaged 100 in his 6-2 win over Steve Maish.
Kevin Painter's 6-3 win over Ronny Huybrechts sets him up for a second round game with Suljovic, while Colin Lloyd was a 6-2 winner against Vincent van der Voort as he progresses to face Finland's Jani Haavisto, who was a 6-4 winner against Stuart Kellett.
Ian White and Jamie Caven will now meet in the second round after they overcame Kevin McDine and Leo Hendriks, while Ronnie Baxter's 6-1 win over Matthew Edgar means he now plays Wade in the last 32.
Steve Brown hit six doubles from eight attempts in his 6-4 win over Brendan Dolan, and he now plays Nicholson, while three-time World Champion John Part's victory over Nigel Heydon by the same scoreline sees him progress to meet Leon De Geus, the Dutch qualifier who defeated Arron Monk 6-3.
The second round of the £100,000 Gibraltar Darts Trophy will be played across two sessions on Saturday, with the third round to be held on Sunday afternoon before the event concludes with the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final on Sunday evening.
The tournament is being streamed live through http://www.LIVEPDC.TV
and also through the William Hill website.