World Matchplay - Report and Statistic 1st Day

Big Guns James Wade, Raymond van Barneveld, Simon Whitlock and Terry Jenkins all enjoyed victories on the opening night of the BetVictor World Matchplay in Blackpool.

2007 champion Wade booked his place in the second round with a gritty 10-8 victory over two-time finalist John Part, who led 2-0 and 4-3 but was unable to handle a mid-game surge from the world number four.
Wade won five legs out of six as he took an 8-5 lead, and though Part hit three 180s as he reduced the gap to one leg, Wade held on to land double 12 to seal his last 16 spot.

"I'm happy with that," said Wade, who has reached five finals in Blackpool in the past seven years. "I did enough to win tonight but it was like an unorganised first day at school for me - I probably made it harder for myself than I should have. In my eyes, it's the best tournament in the world and the most exciting tournament. I tend to relax a bit in Blackpool and I've got a great record here."

Raymond van Barneveld, the 2010 finalist, defeated Austrian debutant Mensur Suljovic 10-4 as he moved into the second round at Blackpool's Winter Gardens.
Suljovic took out 120 as he took an early 2-1 lead, only for van Barneveld - aided by a 101 finish and two 12-darters - to take six successive legs in putting himself in the driving seat. The Austrian took the next two legs to pull back to 7-4, but van Barneveld hit a key 121 finish to stop his opponent's momentum before winning the next two legs to seal his victory.

"I'm very pleased with the win and a 10-4 scoreline looks comfortable but it wasn't," said van Barneveld. Mensur's a very good player and he's played some really good darts in the last six months, so it's good to beat him. My average was pretty good for the first round and I'm pleased with that, and my finishing was good. I've worked hard on my doubles for the last two weeks since the European Championship, and it showed. I hit some important finishes, especially the 121 finish on the bullseye, and they're important because if you put the pressure on your opponent, it affects them. I hope I can go all the way this week, but I've reached the final here and a couple of semi-finals, and it's a fantastic tournament. It would be a dream to win this week."

Number five seed Whitlock, meanwhile, held off Jelle Klaasen's fightback from 8-3 down to trail just 9-7 before the Australian produced a timely 12-darter to book his second round place.
The pair shared the first six legs before Whitlock hit two 11-darters and three 180s in a five-leg burst to take command of the contest. After Klaasen hit back with successive legs, Whitlock hit double 16 to move a leg away from the win at 9-5. The Dutchman, though, landed a 180 as he began his comeback before taking out 158 and 118 to reduce the gap to two legs, but Whitlock scored 177 and 180 in a 12-darter as he finally secured his last 16 spot.

"I thought I played really well and got a good result there," said Whitlock. "I was getting a bit shaky towards the end but Jelle took out two big finishes there and played really well. I've played really well for the last month or so and I believe this is my chance to win this tournament. There's no easy games but I'm feeling great and I was quite relaxed tonight."

Two-time finalist Terry Jenkins was the night's other winner, as he defeated Andy Smith 10-3, landing seven 180s in a fine display.
Smith took out 116 as he won the game's first two legs, and also finished 101 as he led 3-2, but Jenkins won the next eight legs without reply as he swept into the second round.

"It's hard to play against your best mate and it's a shame for Andy, but I had to get up there and pretend I was playing my worst enemy," said Jenkins. "He's been playing some brilliant darts recently, so I'm chuffed with the win. He made a good start and I couldn't find my range, but when I did the 180s came for me. It was a good second half of the game, I played really strongly and that put the pressure on Andy. I'll go home and relax a bit now before the second round on Tuesday. I love the Winter Gardens, there's a great atmosphere in this tournament and I think that helps me play well."

Ave180sDoublesPlayervPlayer Ave180sDoubles
95.93710/35Jenkins 10:3Smith84.9003/12
99.84210/14V.Barneveld 6:0Suljovic89.5614/9
97.33210/22Wade 10:8 Part88.2818/15
95.79510:29Whitlock 10:8 Klaasen87.3038/28

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