Phil Taylor set up a second round tie against Raymond van Barneveld after starting his his final BetVictor World Matchplay with a 10-5 win over Gerwyn Price.
The 15-time World Matchplay champion is making his final Winter Gardens appearance ahead of his impending retirement and took on Price in a potentially tricky first round tie.
Although Taylor took out 106 and 151 as he took an early 3-1 lead, Price powered home a brilliant 170 checkout as he hit back to level, sharing the opening 10 legs with the 56-year-old.
An 82 finish saw Taylor edge back ahead, before he punished four misses at tops from Price across the next two legs to crucially move 8-5 up, before a brace of double 16 checkouts sealed the win.
Van Barneveld fended off Joe Cullen’s fightback to claim a 10-8 win.
Cullen had an early 2-1 lead, only for van Barneveld to win five straight legs on his way to an 8-3 lead.
Cullen pulled it back to 8-6 before missing three darts at tops to move within a leg.
Van Barneveld posted double 12 to go 9-6 up, and though Cullen took out 100 and double eight to stay alive, a miss at double 10 allowed the Dutchman to finally secure the win.
Dave Chisnall produced a strong finale to come from behind and defeat Mervyn King 10-7 as he moved through to the last 16.
A tight contest saw the former semi-finalist lead 2-1 early on before Chisnall won three successive legs to move 4-2 up, with King levelling before the St Helens man landed double eight for a 5-4 cushion.
King took out 90 and 64 to edge ahead, only to see Chisnall hit top form with three 180s and a 103 checkout as he won four straight legs to move 9-6 up.
King punished three missed match darts from Chisnall to keep the contest alive with a 180 and double eight, but the three-time quarter-finalist responded with a maximum before taking out 76 to seal the win.
Chisnall now meets Alan Norris, who came from 3-0 down to defeat Kim Huybrechts 10-6.
Elsewhere, Daryl Gurney survived missed match darts from Benito van de Pas before he posted an 11-9 tie-break defeat of the Dutch youngster.
Mensur Suljovic marched into round two with a 10-4 win over John Henderson.
Cristo Reyes averaged more than 101 in a 10-3 defeat of Robert Thornton, while Justin Pipe overcame Jelle Klaasen 10-5.