ANDERSON MAKES FLYING START IN BID FOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP HAT-TRICK 


REIGNING champion Gary Anderson began his attempt to win a third consecutive William Hill World Darts Championship title with a comfortable opening night victory over Mark Frost at Alexandra Palace in London. 

Number two seed Anderson claimed a straight sets triumph over debutant Frost to join Kevin Painter, Michael Smith and Jamie Lewis in the second round after the 72-player tournament got underway on Thursday evening.

Anderson dropped just two legs in a dominant display against PDPA Qualifier Frost as he won his 13th successive match on the Alexandra Palace stage.

"It was nerve-wracking up there, the first round always is, " said Anderson, who is aiming to become only the third player in history to win three World Championship titles in succession.

"Mark's a cracking player and he never showed how he can play tonight but I scraped through and did the job I came to do. I've not been thinking about anything further than the first round. I can only try my best and if that's good enough then maybe I'll be joining that exclusive club in January."

2004 finalist Painter won the last six legs of his clash against Jamie Caven to complete a 3-1 success. The former Premier League player and 2011 Players Champion found himself two legs down in the third set with Caven threatening to take a 2-1 lead but rallied back to move into the last 32.

"It wasn't a brilliant performance but it is a big step for me," said Painter, who claimed an automatic qualification through the ProTour Order of Merit following the withdrawal of Australia's Kyle Anderson, who was unable to secure a UK Visa.

"It was just about getting the win. I wasn't overly happy with the way I played but under the circumstances, being two-nil down at one set all, I've got to be happy with the win.

"I've been struggling a bit so to get into this tournament and get a win is great. I can build on that now."

Former PDC Unicorn World Youth Champion Smith won a five-set thriller against Ricky Evans. The world number 11 came back from 1-0 and 2-1 behind to book his place in the second round, hitting seven 180s and a 143 checkout in the process.

"That was massive," admitted Smith, who has struggled for form since his elimination from the Premier League in his debut season and had failed to win a competitive match since September 30. 

"I've been fighting the demons and this is exactly what I needed for my confidence. Ricky pushed me all the way and I've finally got the win, got my confidence back and I believe that I can go all the way."

Welsh starlet Lewis won at the World Championship for the first time in another match that went to a fifth set as the 25-year-old held off Ireland's Mick McGowan to progress with the aid of five 180s.

"I feel good," said Lewis, who is playing at Ally Pally for the fifth consecutive year.

"I started off really well but Mick started coming back. If I play as good as I know I can then I know and I can beat anybody but you never really know how you're going to play.

"I've never won a game here so I was really pleased to get through it. I did start panicking a bit but I got the job done in the end." 

The first round action continues on Friday evening as number three seed Peter Wright gets his campaign underway against the winner of a preliminary round tie between New Zealand's Warren Parry and Dutch qualifier Jerry Hendriks.

There is an all-Welsh clash between Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton, while former World Champion Steve Beaton takes on South Africa's Devon Petersen.

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William Hill World Darts Championship
Thursday December 15

Jamie Caven (29) 1-3 Kevin Painter
Jamie Lewis (30) 3-2 Mick McGowan
Gary Anderson (2) 3-0 Mark Frost
Michael Smith (11) 3-2 Ricky Evans
Best of five sets

LIVE STATS 
Follow live stats & see match stats throughout the event via the official PDC Live Scores website - CLICK HERE 

SET-BY-SET UPDATES

Jamie Caven (29) 1-3 Kevin Painter 
0-1 (1-3)
Caven took the first leg on double 18 but Painter responded with the first 180 of the tournament and levelled by landing double five. He then broke Caven's throw before adding another maximum as he clinched the opening set with a clean 76 finish.

1-1 (3-1)
Painter took a fourth consecutive leg by finishing 54 but missed darts to win each of the next three legs and Caven punished him, taking the set 3-1 to level the tie.

1-2 (2-3)
Caven won the first two legs to make it five on the spin but Painter hit back, firing in his third 180 to stop the rot and went on to take the next three legs and the set, winning the decider with a 14-darter.

1-3 (0-3)
Painter made it six legs on the spin to seal victory, adding a fourth 180 and finishing in style as he landed the bull to complete a 124 checkout.


Jamie Lewis (30) 3-2 Mick McGowan 
1-0 (3-0)
Lewis hit a 180 in the opening leg and went on to win three straight legs to take the first set comfortably. 

1-1 (1-3)
Lewis landed double eight for a fourth straight leg before McGowan finally won a leg by finishing 90. He then won the following two legs, which saw both players hit 180s, to level up proceedings. 

2-1 (3-0)
Lewis pinned double top in each of the first two legs of set three before his third maximum helped the Welshman move back ahead and within a set of victory.

2-2 (2-3)
All five legs went with the throw as McGowan's 95 finish in the fifth leg forced a final set decider. 

3-2 (3-1)
Lewis took out 80 before McGowan levelled on double four. Lewis then pegged double eight and completed the victory with the aid of his fifth 180 and 108 finish. 


Gary Anderson (2) 3-0 Mark Frost 
1-0 (3-0) 
Frost missed two darts to win the first leg and three to win the second but Anderson took all three legs to move ahead.

2-0 (3-0)
Anderson moved up a gear, hitting three 180s and taking out a 116 finish as he took just 40 darts to win three further legs on the spin.

3-0 (3-2) 
Frost finally got a leg on the board as he took out 73 on the bull. Anderson levelled before Frost landed double top to move within a leg of the set but Anderson finished the job by taking out 91 to level and hitting a 180 as he broke in the final leg.


Michael Smith (11) 3-2 Ricky Evans 
0-1 (1-3)
Evans started in style with a 120 finish before doubling his lead on tops. Smith pulled a leg back but Evans cleaned up 25 to take the first set.

1-1 (3-1)
Smith began the second set with a maximum and went on to take it by three legs to one, adding another 180 along away.

1-2 (2-3)
All five legs went with the throw as Evans edged the third set, which saw both players hit 180s.

2-2 (3-2)
Evans took the first leg but a fifth 180 from Smith helped him level. The former PDC Unicorn World Youth Champion then produced a spectacular 143 finish to go in front  and he went on to take the set 3-2 to level the match. 

3-2 (3-0)
Smith showed his class in the deciding set as he upped his 180 tally to seven and took out a brilliant 94 finish on the bull as he reeled off three straight legs to move into round two.