Michael van Gerwen moved into the last 16 of the World Matchplay with victory over Colin Lloyd on Sunday evening.
The pair served up a fantastic match at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, with van Gerwen eventually running out a 10-7 winner.
The reigning Premier League champion, who takes on Peter Wright in round two, was pleased to get through a tough opening tussle and set his sights on another major title.
He said: “I started off very well but Colin came back at me and played very well so I was relieved in a way to win but I always had the confidence that I would.
“Sometimes you need a good battle to settle into a tournament so this is a great start for me.
“I am here to win and I want to do everything I can to make that happen.”
van Gerwen came out firing, taking all five legs in the opening session, including a 180 and finishes of 107 and 120.
‘Jaws’ bit back by winning three legs on the spin before van Gerwen’s second maximum heloed him move 6-3 ahead.
But when the Dutchman missed two darts at double 16, after hitting another maximum, Lloyd stepped in to take out 120.
The next two legs were shared before Lloyd punised van Gerwen for missed doubles to break his throw.
The world number two replied in kind as he took out 85 on the bull to go 8-6 ahead.
He then pegged double four to move within a leg of victory but Lloyd pulled another leg back before the Dutch ace sealed the win.
By Chris Murphy
See Mighty Mike take on former World Champion Andy Fordham at ‘Back to the Future’ in Margate – Tickets on sale now – click here for more information