REIGNING Shanghai Darts Masters Champion Michael van Gerwen began the defence of his title in style with a 6-0 whitewash of Hai Long Chen 6-0 as he averaged 112.70 on a day of impressive performances in the World Series of Darts event.
Having lost out to Gary Anderson in the final of the year's opening World Series event in Dubai in May, Van Gerwen made a statement of his intent to get back to winning ways with a dominant display against the Chinese qualifier.
The world number one also hit a 170 finish in the fifth leg of the match to set up a last eight match with Phil Taylor in Friday's final day.
"I played phenomenally tonight and I will have to do it again against Phil tomorrow," said Van Gerwen.
"I always have great matches against Phil but my performance today will send a message to the rest and also give me a lot of confidence."
A 104.21 average helped secure Phil Taylor a 6-1 victory over South Korean Hyun Chul Park and a spot in the last eight in Shanghai.
Taylor opened the match with a break of throw before backing that up with a simple hold.
Park - who is now based in Japan to compete on the soft-tip circuit full-time - then held throw in the third leg but it was to be his last of the match as Taylor went on to claim a comfortable victory.
"I don’t get nervous as much anymore but when he won the bullseye I was a bit worried," said Taylor.
"I didn’t know much about my opponent beforehand but he really impressed me and hopefully we see him again."
Five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld booked his place in the last eight in Shanghai with a whitewash victory over Chinese qualifier Cheng An Liu.
Van Barneveld, playing with a new set of darts in competition for the first time, now faces Gary Anderson in the quarter-finals where the Dutchman knows he will face a tougher test.
"Gary is one of the best players in the world so I’ll need to get in a bit more practice with the new darts before tomorrow," said Van Barneveld. "6-0 is a great result, I can’t do any better than that so it’s a good start to the tournament for me."
Anderson, meanwhile, defeated Chinese qualifier Wei Hong Li 6-0 with an impressive 108.65 average.
The former back-to-back World Champion hit three 180’s and pinned over 66% of his attempts at doubles, opening the game with a 121 finish and ending with an 11-darter.
"You can see the commitment to the game over here and in a few years we might be in trouble," said Anderson, who is aiming to continue his unbeaten start to the year's World Series events on Friday.
"I just play darts, I’m not worried about what the others do. I’ll do my best and see what happens."
Peter Wright also impressed in the first round as he averaged 106.09 in a whitewash of former World Cup quarter-finalist Haruki Muramatsu.
Wright began with back-to-back 12-dart legs, including a 138 finish, to take a 2-0 lead.
The Scot also hit three maximum and took out 66% of his attempts at doubles as he booked a quarter-final clash with James Wade.
Wade had earlier moved comfortably in to the last eight by overcoming 19-year-old Chinese qualifier Xiao Chen Zong 6-0.
Zong, a former World Youth Championship qualifier, is widely tipped to be part of a new generation of rising stars from China and Wade believes there is a lot more to come from him.
"It’s great to see the young man playing," said Wade, last year's runner-up in Shanghai. "I watched him in the qualifiers yesterday and I’m lucky he didn’t play that well today.
"I’m sure as he gets more experience we will being seeing a lot more of the young man."
Dave Chinsall booked his place in the quarter-finals with a 6-1 over 2017 World Cup star Paul Lim.
Chisnall raced in to a 2-0 lead before Singapore's Lim took out 122 to break back immediately.
The third leg proved decisive as, with Lim sat on 32, Chisnall took out 144 on double 18 to regain control of the encounter before winning the next three legs to secure the victory.
"Fortunately he didn’t play as well as he did at the World Cup but I still had to play well to win," said Chisnall, a World Series runner-up in Perth last year.
"I’ve just got to keep my concentration and hopefully I will be able to win one of these this time."
Chisnall’s quarter-final opponent will be Gerwyn Price, after the Welshman cruised in to the last eight with a convincing 6-2 win over Hong Kong's Royden Lam.
The Welshman hit five maximums in a performance that also included a 156 checkout.
"I’ll have to play a bit better if I want to win the tournament but it’s a good enough start," said the 32-year-old.
"It’s eight of the best players in the world playing here but I believe I’m good enough to win."
The 2017 Shanghai Darts Masters concludes on Friday, with the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final taking place at the Pullman Hotel Shanghai South.
Full results and statistics are available on our tournament page here.
TV coverage in the UK is delayed to 9pm on Thursday and Friday on ITV4.
2017 Shanghai Darts Masters
Thursday July 6
Gerwyn Price 6-2 Royden Lam
Raymond van Barneveld 6-0 Cheng An Liu
James Wade 6-0 Xiao Chen Zong
Phil Taylor 6-1 Hyun Chul Park
Dave Chisnall 6-1 Paul Lim
Peter Wright 6-0 Haruki Muramatsu
Michael van Gerwen 6-0 Hai Long Chen
Gary Anderson 6-0 Wei Hong Li
All games are the best of 11 legs
Friday July 7 (6.30pm local time)
Raymond van Barneveld 8-1 Gary Anderson
Dave Chisnall 8-4 Gerwyn Price
Michael van Gerwen 8-7 Phil Taylor
James Wade 8-5 Peter Wright
Dave Chisnall 8-4 Raymond van Barneveld
Michael van Gerwen 8-3 James Wade
Michael van Gerwen 8-0 Dave Chisnall
All games are the best of 15 legs
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