MICHAEL VAN GERWEN began his BetVictor Masters title defence with a 10-5 success against Jonny Clayton in Milton Keynes.
Van Gerwen returned to competitive action for the first time since winning his third World Championship on New Year’s Day and completed a comfortable victory over his Welsh opponent.
“It’s not too bad but I know I can do a lot better than this – I played well in this game but I also made too many mistakes,” said Van Gerwen.
“I need to get out of holiday mode and start performing. My scoring was okay but I missed too many darts at a double. The form is there but I need to do more now.”
Van Gerwen will take on Mensur Suljovic in Sunday afternoon’s quarter-finals.