World darts results: Michael van Gerwen hits 170 checkout during victory over Jelle Klaasen

Michael van Gerwen (Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

A review of opening night at the William Hill World Darts Championship as Kim Huybrechts and Luke Humphries reached the second round.

Big Fish for Van Gerwen

Michael van Gerwen hit a timely 170 checkout as he survived a real scare against Jelle Klaasen in his opening match at the PDC World Championship at Alexandra Palace.

The three-time world champion, who is bidding to defend the title for the first time in his career, found the big fish out of absolutely nowhere after a poor start to the match.

His Dutch rival, fresh from beating Kevin Burness earlier in the night, was threatening a huge upset at the time after he'd come from 2-0 down to take the opening set thanks to a 116 finish in the decider.

Klaasen then found himself 2-1 up in the second and suddenly MVG was in grave danger of becoming the first defending champion since John Part in 2008 to lose on opening night.

He came roaring back to force a fifth leg, which he won with the big fish, before another stunning checkout of 130 on the bullseye helped him take the third set.

Van Gerwen, who averaged 96.37 and pinned 10 of his 24 double attempts, then sealed his victory with yet another bull finish as he took out 88 for a 12-darter.

He told www.pdc.tv: "I think I played a poor game, it wasn't there tonight. I was trying really hard, probably too hard but I'm through and that's all that matters.

"I've been working really hard to play well in this tournament so for me to perform like this is hard for me to take.

"But even when you're not playing well you have to hit the big shots at the right time and I managed to do that tonight."

Hurricane takes off

Kim Huybrechts came through a hard-fought encounter with Geert Nentjes that will be remembered for it's three-figure checkouts to book his place in the second round at the Alexandra Palace.

The Belgian veteran, competing in his ninth World Championship, was in danger of a surprise early exit when he trailed 2-1 in sets but he finally burst into life by winning six of the next eight legs.

Huybrechts had earlier come from 2-0 down to take the opening set, in which he fired in a 153 checkout to trump the Dutch youngster's earlier effort of 109 but that was just a sign of more to come.

Development Tour star Nentjes, who suffered from stage fright on his debut 12 months ago when losing 3-0 to Nathan Aspinall with an average of less than 80, was looking far more comfortable on his second Ally Pally appearance and a finish from 111 helped him into another 2-0 lead.

The 21-year-old almost blew it as four missed set darts allowed Huybrechts to level but he edged the decider before a checkout of 100 helped him on his way to taking the third set 2-1.

Huybrechts responded in style with finishes of 72 and 164 in the fourth, which he won 3-1, and a checkout of 112 paved the way for him to seal victory, albeit with a nervy conclusion.

He will meet Rob Cross on Saturday night.

Cool Hand too hot for Petersen

Devon Petersen has danced his final steps at this year's World Championship after crashing out to an inspired Luke Humphries on opening night.

In a clash between two of last year's Ally Pally success stories, it's Cool Hand who can go on and potentially pen another thanks to this 3-1 victory in which he landed four 100+ checkouts in a superb display of high finishing.

Humphries, the recently-crowned World Youth champion, started as he meant to go on by taking out 112 in the second leg of the match before holding his nerve on 84 in the decider to go 1-0 up.

There was drama at the end of the second set decider when Petersen, who was trying to finish 94, suffered a bounce out with his first dart at treble 18 but he made it with the second before tops saw him level the match

Despite threatening a nine-darter after back-to-back 180s at the start of the third, Petersen would lose the opening leg and that would become 2-0 when Humphries yet again pinned a three figure checkout - this time 106.

The world number 60, who is now in danger of losing his Tour Card, fought back to force another deciding leg and then left himself tops but wouldn't get a shot at it as the Newbury man checked out from 105 to get his nose back in front.

Although the African Warrior refused to lie down with a finish from 84 at the start of the fourth, Humphies rattled off three on the spin, including a showstopping 160, to set up a clash with Jermaine Wattimena on Saturday afternoon.

"That was a really hard game to win, Devon made life very difficult for me up there," said Humphries. "Devon was outscoring me but my doubles were good, and just like Michael van Gerwen I hit the doubles when I needed them most.

"I've got some good memories here from last year and there was a little bit of pressure on me because I don't want people to think last year was a one-off.

"I didn't score well tonight but I know that's a one-off for me and tomorrow we will see a much better performance from myself."

Klaasen brings down Iron Man

Jelle Klaasen got the PDC World Darts Championship off to a flying start as he came from a set down to defeat Kevin Burness in an entertaining first-round tie.

Neither player arrived at Alexandra Palace on the back of sparkling seasons, with one quarter-final appearance in 2019 between them, but it was the player who hadn't achieved any who made the best start.

Burness went 2-0 up in the opening set with a 14-darter and although Klaasen, who reached the semi-finals of 2016 edition, forced a deciding leg it was the Iron Man who edged it thanks to a finish from 82.

The former BDO world champion restored parity by taking the next 3-1, with help of 13 and 14 darters, while a show stopping checkout of 152 helped him run away with the third set by the same scoreline.

Klaasen, who averaged 96.02 compared to his opponent's 92.41, raced through the fourth 3-1 and closed out the match with a finish from 100 that completed a 14-darter.

He hit 11 of his 21 attempts at doubles as Burness missed 10 of his 16 while both players hit a pair of maximums.

The 35-year-old will return to the oche later tonight to take on defending champion Michael van Gerwen in the second round.

World Darts Championship: Friday Results & Saturday schedule

Friday December 13
Evening Session (1900 GMT)
First/Second Round (Best of 5 sets)
TV Coverage: Sky Sports Darts

  • Jelle Klaasen 3-1 Kevin Burness (First Round)
  • Kim Huybrechts 3-2 Geert Nentjes (First Round)
  • Luke Humphries 3-1 Devon Petersen (First Round)
  • Michael van Gerwen 3-1 Jelle Klaasen (Second Round)

Saturday December 14
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
First/Second Round (Best of 5 sets)
TV Coverage: Sky Sports Darts

  • Darius Labanauskas v Matthew Edgar (First Round)
  • Ryan Meikle v Yuki Yamada (First Round)
  • Luke Woodhouse v Paul Lim (First Round)
  • Jermaine Wattimena v Luke Humphries (Second Round)

Evening Session (1900)
First/Second Round (Best of 5 sets)
TV Coverage: Sky Sports Darts

  • Mark McGeeney v Matt Campbell (First Round)
  • Jamie Hughes v Zoran Lerchbacher (First Round)
  • Raymond van Barneveld v Darin Young (First Round)
  • Rob Cross v Kim Huybrechts (Second Round)

CLICK HERE FOR FULL WORLD DARTS CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE AND GUIDE

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