Schedule and Results First Round
James Wade 6:2 Ken Moir
Adrian Lewis 6:0 Stuart Leach
Peter Wright 6:1 Warren Parry
Raymond van Barneveld 6:2 Cody Harris
Dave Chisnall 6:4 Clinton Bridge
Phil Taylor 6:0 Rob Szabo
Michael van Gerwen 6:3 Damon Heta
Gary Anderson 6:2 Bernie Smith
BIG GUNS TURN ON THE STYLE IN AUCKLAND DARTS MASTERS OPENERS
GARY ANDERSON and Phil Taylor turned on the style with 106 averages in first round victories at the Auckland Darts Masters, presented by TAB and Burger King, as the eight Oceanic representatives all suffered first round defeats at the Trusts Arena on Friday.
World Champion Anderson overcame New Zealand's Bernie Smith 6-2 as he produced the highest average of the opening day of the PDC World Series of Darts event.
The Scot took the opening three legs without reply before taking out finishes of 106 and 94 as he defeated the qualifier from Christchurch, who was making his televised debut.
"I was really pleased and I'm over the moon with the way the darts went," said Anderson. "I saw Bernie play a few years ago and I know he can play good darts, but I finished well and I didn't give him many chances."
Taylor, meanwhile, missed double 12 for a nine-dart finish during his ruthless 6-0 demolition of Wellington's Rob Szabo, who missed four darts at doubles in the opening two legs before seeing the 16-time World Champion hit his stride.
Taylor ended the game with an average of 106, and said: "Rob said to me beforehand that he wasn't nervous and he put me under pressure - I was nervous at the start. I was a bit slow at the start but it came good. I missed the double 12 for a nine-darter in Austria last weekend, but my form is picking up and my doubles are going in, and I can't wait for tomorrow now."
Taylor now meets reigning Auckland Darts Masters champion Adrian Lewis in Saturday's quarter-finals, after the Stoke ace also enjoyed a 6-0 whitewash in his first round tie against qualifier Stuart Leach.
Lewis set the tone for the win with a 132 bull finish in the opening leg, and said: "He scored really well but it was a good, solid performance from me and I'm glad I got the win. It brings back good memories and it's brilliant being back here. I was a little bit iffy tonight but I got through and I'll get ready for the quarter-finals now."
World number one Michael van Gerwen was forced to work hard before he eventually overcame Australian qualifier Damon Heta 6-3, hitting six 180s and topping a 100 average.
The Perth thrower, who won last month's DPA Australian Singles championship to earn his spot in Auckland, shared the opening six legs with the Dutchman, who then landed four 180s in the next three legs as he ended his rival's challenge in clinical fashion.
"He started off well but I think I did really well," said van Gerwen. "He made it difficult for me and hit some good shots but I did what I had to do in the end. I think I hit some good darts when I needed to at the end. It gives me confidence that I played so well at the end of the game."
Van Gerwen now meets James Wade in the quarter-finals, after the left-hander produced some outstanding finishing in his 6-2 win over Auckland-based qualifier Ken Moir.
Wade hit finishes of 100, 102 and 96 as he took a 5-2 lead with five doubles from as many attempts, with 61-year-old sheet metal worker Moir finishing 120 and 64 to respond before the two-time World Grand Prix champion overcame three misses in the eighth leg to seal victory on double five.
"It was a hard game because I was up against a local lad who's probably practised for a month for this and it was a big night for him," said Wade. "It's a no-win situation and I'd have rather played Adrian Lewis because you don't know what to expect.
Dave Chisnall breathed a sigh of relief following his 6-4 comeback win over Australia's Clinton Bridge, who had knocked out Raymond van Barneveld in the 2013 Sydney Darts Masters and threatened another upset when he took a 4-3 lead over the world number nine.
Chisnall, though, levelled with a superb 14-dart finish in leg eight, posted double 18 to move ahead and then sealed victory in style with an 11-darter as he moved through to the last eight.
"I got through that one and that's what matters, but he played well," said Chisnall. "Sometimes you get games like that and I'm just glad I won. I felt great in practice and it didn't happen on stage, but it will be a different game on Saturday."
Chisnall now meets Raymond van Barneveld, who overcame the challenge of Auckland's Cody Harris, the DPNZ number one, with a 6-2 win.
The 2015 Auckland Darts Masters finalist was in dominant mood as he won the opening five legs without reply, hitting an 11-darter in the process, and though the home favourite hit back with two legs, a 72 finish moved the Dutchman into the quarter-finals.
"I was really focused for this game because I saw Cody in the World Cup and he played really well, and I learned my lessons from losing to qualifiers in Sydney in 2013 and 2014," said van Barneveld. "I knew I had to play really well and that was a good performance."
Peter Wright was the other first round winner, as he took five successive legs in his 6-1 win over experienced New Zealander Warren Parry.
"Warren's beaten many great players in the past and I knew I had a hard draw, especially in his home country, but I'm fortunate that he didn't play like he can," said Wright. "I can improve and I'll get better. Everyone's a little bit nervous because you don't want to go out in the first round over the short distance, and when you get into the longer distance everyone will settle down and the averages will go up."
|98.36||2||10/26||Gary Anderson ||10:8||v.Barneveld||94.25||5||8/21|
|107.65||10||10/17||v.Gerwen ||10:7||Wright ||106.55||5||7/13|