Mighty Mike up and running
A review of Thursday night's action at the PDC World Darts Championship.
- Related Content
Michael Van Gerwen failed to find his best form but still had too much for Paul Lim in the opening round of the PDC World Championship.
The Dutchman didn't manage to display the type of form that has made him the second favourite to lift the trophy at Alexandra Palace, struggling badly on his doubles in a battle between two players at opposite ends of their careers.
However the 23-year-old still cruised to a 3-0 result against Lim, who had earlier defeated Mohd Latif Sapup 4-1 in a preliminary clash.
The Singapore Slinger, 58, rolled back the years at times, taking two legs against the throw in the opening set before Van Gerwen landed double 20 in the fifth to move 1-0 ahead.
Lim took out 120 at the start of the second set but crucially missed two attempts at double tops that would have pushed him further clear, while he even managed a 170 finish to level matters at a leg apiece in the third.
"Everyone expected me to win," Van Gerwen told Sky Sports afterwards. "In the first set he played very well and put me a bit under pressure. I was not that confident.
"But at the end of the night I've won 3-0. I wasn't happy with my game, but sometimes you just have to be happy with a win."
Van Gerwen's fellow Dutchman Vincent van der Voort also made it through, maintaining his record of never failing to clear the first hurdle in the tournament with a 3-0 triumph over Stuart Kellett.
Van der Voort missed a dozen darts at doubles in a below-par first set before squeezing home in the second thanks to his opponent missing two attempts to win the fifth and final leg. The third was a procession, setting up a second-round clash with Dean Winstanley.
"I've had a very bad year, but here the adrenalin can keep you going. I wanted to win so badly, I just kept going," he said afterwards. "I'm going to be practising really hard for the next round. He (Dean) is a great player and I just have to play better than tonight."
Mark Walsh also made it through, managing to hit 50 percent on his doubles as he saw off Darren Webster 3-1 in the opening match on stage.
Kim Huybrechts, however, was a big-name casualty on Thursday night, going down 3-2 to Scott Rand in a high-quality encounter that saw both men average well into the 90s.
The Belgian was twice in front, including taking out 127 in impressive fashion to win the opening set, but was pegged back on both occasions by Rand, who has struggled for much of 2012 with an elbow injury suffered in a car accident.
The man known as 'Cool Hand' took out 90 to win a crucial leg against the throw in the decider before double 16 sent him through to a clash with Wes Newton after the Christmas break.
"We both played very well, Kim was awesome, as he usually is, and I managed to raise my game from what I've been playing in recent weeks, which has been alright but not as good as that," he said afterwards.
"But the big stage seems to bring that out in me. I'm a big stage player. I love the crowd, it's like a home for me."