MICHAEL VAN GERWEN coasted through to the second round of the World Matchplay as he began his title defence in Blackpool with a comfortable win against Stephen Bunting.
The world number one, who is looking to make it three triumphs in a row at the Winter Gardens, won the first seven legs of his 10-4 success as he set up a last 16 clash with Australia’s Simon Whitlock.
“It was a bit too easy,” admitted Van Gerwen, who sealed the victory with a brilliant 160 checkout.
“Stephen wasn’t confident and didn’t really play his game to be fair; he missed doubles and I played alright in the first two sessions.
“After that I was a bit sloppy but I still won the game and I did the right things at the right moment. I can look forward to the next round against Simon Whitlock now and I’m sure I’m going to play better.
“Simon’s playing well and had a couple of great wins earlier in the year with a couple of ProTour wins, but I’m the favourite and I hope I can also do the business.
“You need to grow in the tournament and my first round is out of the way now.”
Van Gerwen faces Whitlock on Wednesday.