MVG whitewashes Taylor
Michael van Gerwen trounced Phil Taylor 7-0 in a stunning opening to the Premier League Darts season in Liverpool.
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The newly-crowned world champion cemented his position as the best around with Taylor woefully out of sorts.
Taylor started slowly and paid for it - the defending champion opening the scoring against the throw before checking out 121 to double the lead.
Van Gerwen was then first to a double in the next and swiftly nailed double 16 before double eight gave him a 4-0 lead, Taylor narrowly missing for a 12-dart leg.
Taylor was averaging just 96 against Van Gerwen's 112 as he made it 5-0 with another single dart at a finish, and it became six in the next after the 'Power' failed to take down 122.
His confidence by now in tatters, Taylor failed miserably to finish 48 allowing van Gerwen to make it a clean sweep with double 10.
"All the pressure was on my shoulders, I was the favourite, but I played so well and I can't remember anyone beating him 7-0," he told Sky Sports.
"When Phil picks up new darts it can take him a few weeks to get used to them and that wasn't Phil. He will be back next week."
Van Gerwen's win was only the fourth whitewash in the history of the Premier League competition.
Raymond van Barneveld averaged over 108 as he crushed Gary Anderson 7-2 in what would otherwise have been the highlight of the evening.
'Barney' raced out of the blocks with two 11-dart finishes in securing a three-leg cushion, but Anderson hung in to hold his throw and stop the rot.
But the Dutchman checked out 110 for a 4-1 lead and then nailed two successive maximums and another treble 20 before finally missing his target, but he returned to nail double 18 to break for a second time.
Van Barneveld then held his throw and although Anderson pulled one back the five-time world champion rounded off a sensational performance by taking out double 10.
"I couldn't believe it, it was like I was on the practice board," he said. "I'm so happy I can't say. I had three weeks rest after the World Championships and decided to change the flights and this is it for me.
"Hopefully I can show the fans every week the same darts I played tonight."
There was also an impressive display by Adrian Lewis, the two-time world champion hammering Australian Simon Whitlock 7-1 in the final match of the evening.
Whitlock only avoided the whitewash in leg seven but two missed doubles in the next allowed Lewis to complete a heavy win, ending with a 99.13 average and seven doubles from 11 attempts.
"It's a belting start for me to beat a player like Simon so well," said Lewis. "I was trying to get the whitewash - I was annoyed with myself when Simon won a leg.
"Since I lost to Michael van Gerwen in the World Championship semi-finals, I haven't been off the practice board. Michael was the better player on the night, but I've tried to put it right.
"This is a new season and a new me, and I'm looking to the future."
Earlier, there was never more than a leg between Dave Chisnall and Robert Thornton - until Chisnall took the last two to secure the win.
Making his debut in the Premier League, Chisnall looked as though he was enjoying the occasion as he moved 2-1 ahead with a 100 per cent checkout ratio.
Scot Thornton levelled before edging in front for the first time at 3-2, but it was the only time in the match he was in that position.
Not for the first time he allowed Chisnall back in to level and then edge back in front before Thornton hit 25 then bull to tie it up at 4-4.
They shared the next two before Thornton missed his doubles again to let 'Chizzy' steal a lead before finally driving home the advantage in the final leg to win 7-5.
Peter Wright crushed Wes Newton 7-3 after storming into a big lead in a deluge of high-scoring.
But Newton hung in with a couple of 180s along the way, and despite missing doubles pulled two legs back to 4-3.
However, Wright then took out 75 to extend the lead again as Newton relinquished the momentum by missing two darts at double 16, and a 180 at the start of the ninth leg took him to the brink of victory.
Newton then missed shots at double six and three in the 10th, allowed the world finalist to close it out with tops.
The tournament continues next Thursday in Bournemouth.