MICHAEL VAN GERWEN came back from a set behind to defeat Jelle Klaasen on the opening night of the World Darts Championship at London’s Alexandra Palace on Friday.
The world number one began his title defence by taking out three crucial bullseye finishes to complete a 3-1 victory over his Dutch rival.
Van Gerwen hit a tide-turning 170 in the second set before adding a 130 in the third – and went on to win the match with another bull outshot.
“I think I played a poor game, it wasn’t there tonight,” admitted a frustrated Van Gerwen.
“I was trying really hard, probably too hard but I’m through and that’s all that matters.
“I’ve been working really hard to play well in this tournament so for me to perform like this is hard for me to take.
“But even when you’re not playing well you have to hit the big shots at the right time and I managed to do that tonight.”