World's top six advance on Players Championship Finals Day One

Michael van Gerwen

The world's top six players made it safely through to round two as the Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals kicked-off in Coventry on Friday.

All 64 players were in first round action, split across two stages, on a busy opening day of the tournament at the Ricoh Arena.

Reigning champion Michael van Gerwen began his title defence with a comfortable 6-3 defeat of Lithuania's Darius Labanauskas.

The world number one continued his return to form with an average of 103.34, missing just one double attempt on his way to victory.

Van Gerwen will now face Jonny Clayton in the second round after the Welsh World Cup winner defeated Mickey Mansell 6-2.

“I am starting to be more consistent again and the ton plus averages are coming back,” said Van Gerwen.

“I know this year has not been good for me but I understand I need to do things differently and I am starting to do the right things at the right moments.

“Jonny is a good player and I need to perform if I am going to beat him."

Number one seed Peter Wright enjoyed a perfect night on the doubles, hitting all six of his attempts at the outer ring to defeat Ryan Meikle is a deciding leg.

Meikle took out 167 to force a last-leg shoot-out but, the World Champion broke throw in the final leg to set up a second round tie with Simon Whitlock.

The Australian, a semi-finalist at the Grand Slam progressed with a 6-4 win over Adrian Lewis 6-4, who punished missed doubles form the two-time World Champion.

World number three Gerwyn Price will face Jamie Hughes on Saturday after the pair picked up 6-2 wins against John Henderson and Ricky Evans.

Michael Smith defied an average of 108 from Boris Krcmar to progress to round two, beating the Croatian in a last-leg decider.

Finishes of 142 and 145 were the memorable moments for Smith as he survived a scare to set up a clash with Gary Anderson, who recovered from 4-1 down to defeat Keegan Brown 6-4.

Rob Cross and Joe Cullen will face-off in round two after the pair secured 6-3 wins against Jason Lowe and Adam Hunt and respectively.

Cross averaged just under 100 on his way to round two, while Cullen scored a second win over Adam Hunt in as many weeks, repeating the result at the Grand Slam of Darts.

Premier League runner-up Nathan Aspinall will take on Ross Smith in the second round on Saturday after surviving five match darts in a dramatic deciding leg against Scott Waites.

Newly-crowned Grand Slam champion Jose de Sousa kept his winning run going on the Coventry stage with a 6-3 defeat of Belgium's Mike de Decker.

An average of 97 was enough for the rising Portuguese star, who will now take on Vincent van der Voort who defeated fellow-Dutchman Derk Telnekes 6-2.

Glen Durrant was dumped out by Wayne Jones, who averaged 100 in his 6-3 win over the out-of-form Premier League champion.

Former Matchplay quarter-finalist Jeffrey de Zwaan awaits Jones in round two after he beat Darren Webster 6-3.

Ross Smith booked his place in Saturday’s action with a thumping 6-1 win over Kim Huybrechts, while World Grand Prix runner-up Dirk van Duijvenbode continued his impressive run of form, beating William O’Connor 6-4.

His opponent in round two will be Dutch youngster Niels Zonnerveld who sprung the surprise of the day with a 6-3 victory over Grand Slam runner-up James Wade.

Ian White and Gabriel Clemens will be first to take to the stage on Saturday afternoon at the Ricoh Arena after White defeated William Borland 6-4 and Gabriel Clemens overcame Martijn Kleermaker 6-5.

Luke Humphries will also be back in action on Saturday after impressing in a 6-3 win against in-form Devon Petersen.

Jermain Wattimena will be Humphries' opponent in round two after a superb 103 average put Irish Ace Steve Lennon to the sword in a 6-1 win.

2018 champion Daryl Gurney's bad run of form continued as he was knocked out on day one, averaging just 81 in a 6-2 defeat by Callan Rydz.

World Matchplay Champion Dimitri van den Bergh was also beaten in round one, with Ryan Searle securing a 6-2 victory to set up a tie with Rydz.

Mervyn King averaged over 105 in his victory over Dave Chisnall, eventually running out a 6-3 winner in an incredibly impressive performance.

King takes on Danny Noppert in round two after the Dutchman averaged 100 in his 6-1 win over Steve Beaton.

Damon Heta continued his good run of form with a 6-1 win over Maik Kuivenhoven. The Australian will face Ryan Murray in round two after the Scot recovered from 3-1 down to beat Stephen Bunting 6-4.

Luke Woodhouse and Andy Boulton will face off in round two after 6-4 wins over Brendan Dolan and Ryan Joyce respectively.

Karel Sedlacek upset the odds to beat Krzystof Ratajski and his reward is a second round encounter with Madars Razma who overcame Chris Dobey in a 6-3 win.

Saturday sees the second round take place in the afternoon session and the third round in the evening session, with play continuing across two stages.

Click here for full results and stats from Day One.

Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals
Schedule of Play
Friday November 27
First Round
Afternoon Session
Main Stage

Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-4 William O'Connor
Michael Smith 6-5 Boris Krcmar
Rob Cross 6-3 Jason Lowe
Joe Cullen 6-3 Adam Hunt
Luke Humphries 6-3 Devon Petersen 
Ryan Searle 6-2 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Adrian Lewis 
Mervyn King 6-3 Dave Chisnall

Stage Two
Luke Woodhouse 6-4 Brendan Dolan 
Andy Boulton 6-4 Ryan Joyce 
Ryan Murray 6-4 Stephen Bunting 
Karel Sedlacek 6-4 Krzysztof Ratajski 
Gabriel Clemens 6-5 Martijn Kleermaker
Ian White 6-4 William Borland
Jonny Clayton 6-2 Mickey Mansell
Callan Rydz 6-2 Daryl Gurney

Evening Session
Main Stage

Nathan Aspinall 6-5 Scott Waites
Gary Anderson 6-4 Keegan Brown
Niels Zonneveld 6-3 James Wade 
Peter Wright 6-5 Ryan Meikle
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Darius Labanauskas
Gerwyn Price 6-2 John Henderson
Jose De Sousa 6-3 Mike De Decker

Stage Two
Vincent van der Voort 6-2 Derk Telnekes
Jamie Hughes 6-2 Ricky Evans 
Ross Smith 6-1 Kim Huybrechts
Damon Heta 6-1 Maik Kuivenhoven
Jermaine Wattimena 6-4 Steve Lennon
Madars Razma 6-3 Chris Dobey
Wayne Jones 6-3 Glen Durrant 
Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-3 Darren Webster 
Danny Noppert 6-1 Steve Beaton

Saturday November 28
Second Round
Afternoon Session (1245 GMT)
Main Stage

Ian White v Gabriel Clemens
Nathan Aspinall v Ross Smith
Michael Smith v Gary Anderson
Joe Cullen v Rob Cross
Jose de Sousa v Vincent Van der Voort
Michael Van Gerwen v Jonny Clayton
Gerwyn Price v Jamie Hughes
Peter Wright v Simon Whitlock
Stage Two
Luke Woodhouse v Andy Boulton
Karel Sedlacek v Madars Razma
Ryan Searle v Callan Rydz
Damon Heta v Ryan Murray
Danny Noppert v Mervyn King
Jermaine Wattimena v Luke Humphries
Wayne Jones v Jeffrey De Zwaan
Niels Zonneveld v Dirk van Duijvenbode
Third Round
Evening Session (1900 GMT)
Main Stage

Michael Smith/Gary Anderson v Jose de Sousa/Vincent Van der Voort
Gerwyn Price/Jamie Hughes v Jermaine Wattimena/Luke Humphries
Peter Wright/Simon Whitlock v Ryan Searle/Callan Rydz
Michael Van Gerwen/Jonny Clayton v Wayne Jones/Jeffrey De Zwaan
Stage Two
Ian White/Gabriel Clemens v Joe Cullen/Rob Cross
Nathan Aspinall//Ross Smith v Damon Heta/Ryan Murray
Karel Sedlacek/Madars Razma v Danny Noppert/Mervyn King
Niels Zonneveld/Dirk van Duijvenbode v Luke Woodhouse/Andy Boulton