- PDC World Championship
Whitlock, Painter, Anderson cruise into last 16
Simon Whitlock, Kevin Painter and Gary Anderson dropped just a single set between them as they all cruised into the last 16 of the PDC World Championship at Alexandra Palace.
Whitlock looked every bit of his world No. 4 position when he conceded just five legs in a 4-0 rout of Finn Jarkko Komula - 102 places below him in the rankings.
Whitlock won the first set comfortably, before falling 2-0 down in the second. But the Australian fan favourite produced some clinical darts on the doubles as he won the next three legs with finishes of 92, 82 and 68 to increase his lead.
Whitlock powered through the third set in just 39-darts - hitting a trio of 13-dart-finishes - before moving 2-1 up in the fourth, to move a leg away from victory.
Komula kept the match alive by hitting a 100 finish in the fourth leg, but a missed a dart at tops to win the set that allowed Whitlock a shot at double-five to close out the game.
"I started of very slowly but once I got a couple of sets ahead I thought I played some really good stuff," Whitlock, who will now face Painter in the third round, said.
"Kevin and I have had some excellent battles over the last few years. I can only see our game on Friday following a similar pattern and I'll be really up for it."
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Painter had earlier progressed at the expense of Paul Nicholson.
The Artist recorded a 116 checkout in the deciding leg of the opening set, after Nicholson had missed two opportunities to win it - a moment that set the tone for the rest of the match.
Painter dropped just three more legs to see off his opponent in just 40 minutes and maintain his record of not having dropped a set in this year's competition.
"I started of the game a bit nervy and winning that tight first set proved to be crucial in the end," Painter said.
"I didn't play as well as my first round game against Tomas Seyler and still didn't feel that comfortable even at 3-0 up, but I got the job done and there's still a lot more in the locker.
"I'm a big stage player and I produce my best performances on the big occasions. I loved the atmosphere out there today."
Both players shared the opening four legs before Painter edged the first set in the deciding leg with a 116 checkout, after Nicholson wasted two opportunities to claim a 1-0 lead.
Elsewhere, world No. 17 Anderson celebrated his 43rd birthday with a 4-1 win over Northern Ireland's Brendan Dolan.
The former Premier League champion opened up a three-set lead, before missing four opportunities to wrap up a flawless victory. Dolan snatched the fourth set to keep his chances alive, but the Scotsman recovered to take the fifth without reply.
"I'm glad to have come through as I've found Brendan a really tough opponent in the past," Anderson, a runner-up in this competition in 2011, said.
"The 180s have dried up a little for me at the moment, but I've produced two solid performances and it's done the job for me so far.
"I did make it a little bit harder for myself by missing those chances for a 4-0 win - which is typical me - but I recovered well and was pleased to hit the double eight to end it."
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