World Matchplay: van Gerwen Makes Strong Start

Michael van Gerwen enjoyed a convincing victory on the opening night of the World Matchplay in Blackpool.

The world number one defeated his Dutch compatriot Benito van de Pas 10-4 as he begun his challenge for the £100,000 title.

van Gerwen, who was runner-up in 2014, ruthlessly stormed into a 9-1 lead, hitting a 116 checkout in the process.

“I’m happy with my performance and it’s a good win for me,” said van Gerwen. “Benito is a fantastic player and is someone to look for in the future.

“At the beginning it was anybody’s game but I took the lead and I took advantage of his mistakes. I didn’t miss doubles and then it was 9-1, and even though he came back at me I knew that he wouldn’t win nine legs in a row.

“I’ve got a lot to improve but it’s a good win. Three years ago I was in the quarter-finals, two years ago I was in the semi-finals and last year I was in the final, so I want to win this year and go a step better.”

‘Mighty Mike’ will face Jamie Lewis or Justin Pipe in round two.

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