World Matchplay darts: Former world champions' mixed fortunes on night one at Blackpool's Winter Gardens
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Saturday’s opening night also saw Daryl Gurney dump out 2019 champion Rob Cross in a tie-break, with Joe Cullen accounting for Mike De Decker in the evening’s opener.
However, Price took centre stage in taking 10 of the last 11 legs against Bunting to win 10-3 and set up a last-16 showdown against Cullen.
“I got the job done and that’s all I wanted to do tonight,” reflected Price, who was beaten by Bunting at the same stage of the 2019 World Matchplay.
“Tuesday is a new day and it will be a tough game against Joe Cullen. Joe is a great player so I need to put him under pressure, but I’m looking forward to it.”
Meanwhile, Anderson won through a scrappy affair against Chisnall to set up an intriguing tie against Gurney.
Chisnall led 3-2 following an inauspicious start to proceedings but Anderson stole a march in the second session.
The two-time world champion reeled off five consecutive legs on his way to a 10-6 success and admitted: “I was a bit nervous, but I’ll take the win.
“Daryl played well tonight, and if I play like I did tonight, I will be going home very quickly, so I need to improve.
“I’m enjoying the game again, and it’s been a long time since I have enjoyed it, and I’m looking forward to Tuesday now.”
Earlier in the night, Gurney condemned Cross to his first opening round exit at the Winter Gardens with a dramatic 12-10 victory.
Gurney had produced back-to-back 110 and 111 finishes to lead 4-0, but a three-leg burst of 13, 14 and 13 darts saw Cross level at 7-7.
The pendulum continued to swing as Cross recovered from a 9-7 deficit to lead for the first time at 10-9 but Gurney regained his poise in the closing stages, winning the last three legs to triumph in a thriller.
Gurney, a two-time semi-finalist at the Winter Gardens, said: “It’s tough because I’m lower down in the rankings, but it just shows that every dog has their day and I can still play this game.”
Elsewhere, Cullen kicked off this year’s tournament with an impressive 10-7 victory over debutant Mike De Decker: averaging almost 101, landing eight 180s and converting three ton-plus finishes.
“I wanted to win that first session, and from there I think I controlled the game,” reflected Cullen, who will now play Price for a place in the quarter-finals.
“It maybe should have been a little bit more comfortable, but it’s all about just getting over the first hurdle, regardless of the performance.
“My game is in a good place at the minute. I’ve been putting in some big performances against some big players, so there’s no reason why I can’t go a long way. We’re all capable of winning it.”