Phil Taylor showed he has every intention of claiming a sweet 16th World Matchplay title in Blackpool with a 10-2 demolition of John Henderson at the Winter Gardens last night.
“It was a good win and I did what I set out to do,” said Taylor.
“John’s a better player than he showed tonight but you’ve got to attack your opponents and put them under pressure.”
Facing ‘The Power’, winner for the last seven years, in the second round will be fellow Stoke player Andy Hamilton, who pulled off the shock of the night with a 10-7 victory over five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld.
‘The Hammer’ needed to hold his nerve to close out the contest, having led 8-2, but he defied Van Barneveld’s fightback for a memorable victory.
Hamilton, the last player to qualify for this year’s Blackpool showpiece, said: “I scraped in but Blackpool brings the best out of people and I love this crowd.”
David Chisnall had earlier won an epic contest against Jamie Caven 13.11.
Morecambe-based Chisnall faced an early 2-1 deficit but was never behind again.
Caven refused to be shrugged off as he went on to pull level eight times, tying the match up at 11-11 before Chisnall made his decisive move in the tie-break.
Chisnall said: “Hats off to Jamie because he played well. He kept plodding on, hitting his doubles and pulling it back, but thankfully I broke his throw in the last leg.”
His opponent in the last 16 will be world youth champion Keegan Brown, who defeated Robert Thornton 10-7.
It was a sixth successive first-round defeat in Blackpool for Thornton, after the Isle of White’s Brown stormed into a 5-1 lead.
“I’m over the moon,” said Brown. “I came here 12 years ago and watched Phil Taylor and Wayne Mardle in the final, and thought it would be brilliant to play on that stage.”
The second round kicks off tonight.