- World Darts Championship
Taylor barely tested in opening win
Fifteen-time champion Phil 'The Power' Taylor cruised into the second round of the PDC World Darts Championship on Saturday evening.
Taylor, not at his best but feeding off vocal support from the crowd at Alexandra Palace, was simply too good for the unfortunate Mickey Mansell - reeling off a straight sets victory to breeze into the next round.
"I just played the player," Taylor said. "He wasn't firing. I don't think I've ever practised better in my life before, [but I didn't produce it in the match]. But I've got a few days now."
The 52-year-old won the opening leg of the first set against the head, before Mansell struck back thanks to a first 180 of the match followed by an 82 checkout. But Taylor won the next two to move a set up, making a gesture to indicate his disappointment with his performance as he briefly left the stage.
Successive double 12 checkouts and a double 20 helped Taylor romp to the second set, before moving with two legs of victory as the third set got underway. Mansell then blew a chance at double 10 to get a second leg of the contest - and Taylor punished him fully, a two-dart 68 checkout ending matters in double-quick time.
"It's a big stage up there, everybody wants to win," Taylor added. "That winner's cheque would be a nice little Christmas bonus!"
Taylor will face Jerry Hendriks in the next round, after the qualifier stunned No. 32 seed Wayne Jones 3-0.
"I was a little bit edgy in the beginning of the game of course because it's my first time here. It's such a big audience. I was little bit nervous," Hendriks said. "I was a little bit lucky because Wayne didn't play his own game. I'm so happy to win the first game."
Former champion John Part booked his place in the second round with a comfortable 3-0 victory over against John Cullen, earning him a meeting with Terry Jenkins - who romped past Steve Brown by the same scoreline earlier in the day.
Elsewhere there was twin success for Daryl Gurney, who overcame Robert Marijanovic 4-3 in a tense seven-leg preliminary round contest before defeating Andy Smith 3-1 in the first round proper.
His reward is a meeting with former BDO world championship finalist Dave Chisnall - who battered Shane Tichowitsch 3-0 in the opening battle of the evening session.
Richie Burnett was the victor in one of the most tense match-ups of the day, as he edged a 3-2 bout with James Hubbard. Burnett only had himself to blame, however, missing a total of 46 doubles and six potential match-winning darts before eventually closing out matters.