BETVICTOR WORLD DARTS MATCHPLAY KICKS OFF WITH WINS FOR BIG-NAME QUARTET
2007 champion Wade booked his place in the second round with a gritty 10-8 victory over two-time finalist John Part, who led 2-0 and 4-3 but was unable to handle a mid-game surge from the world number four.
Wade won five legs out of six as he took an 8-5 lead, and though Part hit three 180s as he reduced the gap to one leg, Wade held on to land double 12 to seal his last 16 spot.
"I^m happy with that," said Wade, who has reached five finals in Blackpool in the past seven years. "I did enough to win tonight but it was like an unorganised first day at school for me - I probably made it harder for myself than I should have.
"In my eyes, it^s the best tournament in the world and the most exciting tournament. I tend to relax a bit in Blackpool and I^ve got a great record here."
Raymond van Barneveld, the 2010 finalist, defeated Austrian debutant Mensur Suljovic 10-4 as he moved into the second round at Blackpool^s Winter Gardens.
Suljovic took out 120 as he took an early 2-1 lead, only for van Barneveld - aided by a 101 finish and two 12-darters - to take six successive legs in putting himself in the driving seat.
The Austrian took the next two legs to pull back to 7-4, but van Barneveld hit a key 121 finish to stop his opponent^s momentum before winning the next two legs to seal his victory.
"I^m very pleased with the win and a 10-4 scoreline looks comfortable but it wasn^t," said van Barneveld. Mensur^s a very good player and he^s played some really good darts in the last six months, so it^s good to beat him.
"My average was pretty good for the first round and I^m pleased with that, and my finishing was good. I^ve worked hard on my doubles for the last two weeks since the European Championship, and it showed.
"I hit some important finishes, especially the 121 finish on the bullseye, and they^re important because if you put the pressure on your opponent, it affects them.
"I hope I can go all the way this week, but I^ve reached the final here and a couple of semi-finals, and it^s a fantastic tournament. It would be a dream to win this week."
Number five seed Whitlock, meanwhile, held off Jelle Klaasen^s fightback from 8-3 down to trail just 9-7 before the Australian produced a timely 12-darter to book his second round place.
The pair shared the first six legs before Whitlock hit two 11-darters and three 180s in a five-leg burst to take command of the contest.
After Klaasen hit back with successive legs, Whitlock hit double 16 to move a leg away from the win at 9-5.
The Dutchman, though, landed a 180 as he began his comeback before taking out 158 and 118 to reduce the gap to two legs, but Whitlock scored 177 and 180 in a 12-darter as he finally secured his last 16 spot.
"I thought I played really well and got a good result there," said Whitlock. "I was getting a bit shaky towards the end but Jelle took out two big finishes there and played really well.
"I^ve played really well for the last month or so and I believe this is my chance to win this tournament. There^s no easy games but I^m feeling great and I was quite relaxed tonight."
Two-time finalist Terry Jenkins was the night^s other winner, as he defeated Andy Smith 10-3, landing seven 180s in a fine display.
Smith took out 116 as he won the game^s first two legs, and also finished 101 as he led 3-2, but Jenkins won the next eight legs without reply as he swept into the second round.
"It^s hard to play against your best mate and it^s a shame for Andy, but I had to get up there and pretend I was playing my worst enemy," said Jenkins. "He^s been playing some brilliant darts recently, so I^m chuffed with the win.
"He made a good start and I couldn^t find my range, but when I did the 180s came for me. It was a good second half of the game, I played really strongly and that put the pressure on Andy.
"I^ll go home and relax a bit now before the second round on Tuesday. I love the Winter Gardens, there^s a great atmosphere in this tournament and I think that helps me play well."
The first round continues on Sunday with a double session of matches at Blackpool^s Winter Gardens, including reigning champion Phil Taylor taking on debutant Stuart Kellett in the evening session.
World number two Michael van Gerwen faces 2005 champion Colin Lloyd in another tasty contest, while Mervyn King kicks off the evening session against Gary Anderson and Dave Chisnall meets Paul Nicholson.
The afternoon session begins when number nine seed Justin Pipe takes on Mark Webster, before Kevin Painter faces debutant Jamie Lewis, in-form pair Kim Huybrechts and Peter Wright clash and Brendan Dolan faces Steve Beaton.
BetVictor World Matchplay
Saturday July 20
Terry Jenkins 10-3 Andy Smith
Raymond van Barneveld 10-4 Mensur Suljovic
James Wade 10-8 John Part
Simon Whitlock 10-8 Jelle Klaasen
Sunday July 21
Afternoon Session (1pm)
Justin Pipe v Mark Webster
Kevin Painter v Jamie Lewis
Kim Huybrechts v Peter Wright
Brendan Dolan v Steve Beaton
Evening Session (7pm)
Mervyn King v Gary Anderson
Dave Chisnall v Paul Nicholson
Phil Taylor v Stuart Kellett
Michael van Gerwen v Colin Lloyd
Terry Jenkins v Andy Smith
0-0 - Jenkins wins the bull and will throw first.
0-1 - Smith breaks throw in the opening leg by taking out 116 on tops.
0-2 - Smith doubles his lead by landing tops once more, with Jenkins waiting on 40.
1-2 - Jenkins responds to win his first leg by landing tops at the first time of asking.
2-2 - Jenkins lands a 180 to leave 91, initially missing three darts at tops only to then see Smith miss the same bed to take out 78, allowing the two-time finalist back in to finish double five to level.
2-3 - Jenkins misses double 15 to finish 105, and Smith takes out 101 on double 18 to break throw again and regain the lead.
3-3 - Jenkins levels by hitting tops once again.
4-3 - The number 16 seed moves ahead for the first time by posting double ten.
5-3 - Jenkins wins a third successive leg with a 12-dart finish, ending on tops.
6-3 - Jenkins takes his average to over 99 as he lands double four to move three legs clear.
7-3 - Smith is first to a finish but is unable to end Jenkins^ winning run - with both players missing a host of chances before the former runner-up lands double two to edge four legs away from his opponent.
8-3 - Double two again comes to Jenkins^ rescue, although he dominates the leg by hitting back-to-back 180s to pull clear.
9-3 - Jenkins adds another maximum - his fifth of the game - to leave 41 after nine darts, and double four sees him move to the brink of victory.
10-3 - Jenkins opens with his sixth 180 of the game, and adds another maximum to leave 68 after nine darts, before sealing victory, and he lands double ten for a 13-darter to seal the win.
Raymond van Barneveld v Mensur Suljovic
0-0 - Raymond van Barneveld wins the bull and will throw first.
1-0 - van Barneveld settles any nerves by landing a 180 to leave 40, and he hits double ten to take the opening leg.
1-1 - Suljovic levels by finishing 120.
1-2 - Suljovic breaks throw by finishing 42 on double 14.
2-2 - van Barneveld misses the bull for a 170 finish, but Suljovic misses tops to move two legs clear as the Dutchman returns to level on double eight.
3-2 - van Barneveld regains the advantage by taking out 101 on double 16.
4-2 - Suljovic misses two darts at double 16, and van Barneveld posts double ten to move two legs clear.
5-2 - van Barneveld hits double 14 to win a fourth successive leg.
6-2 - van Barneveld lands a second maximum and finishes 81 on the bull for a 12-darter.
7-2 - The 2010 runner-up wins a fifth successive leg by landing double eight.
7-3 - Suljovic posts tops to hit back by winning his first leg in six.
7-4 - Suljovic continues his revival by posting double ten to reduce the gap to three legs.
8-4 - Suljovic lands a 177 early in the leg, but van Barneveld takes out 301 in six darts, hitting a 180 before taking out 121 on the bull.
9-4 - Double eight moves van Barneveld a leg away from victory.
10-4 - The Dutchman takes out 65 on tops to seal the win.
James Wade v John Part
0-0 - John Part wins the bull and will throw first.
0-1 - Part takes out 98 on double 12 to win the opener.
0-2 - The Canadian finishes 70 on double 16 to break throw and move two legs up.
1-2 - Wade finishes 61 on tops to hit back with a break.
2-2 - The 2007 champion lands a maximum and double ten to level.
2-3 - Part posts double ten with his third dart to edge back ahead.
3-3 - Double ten for Wade sees him level again.
3-4 - Wade hits a 168 to leave 40, only for three missed doubles to allow Part in with a 104 finish.
4-4 - A 110 checkout sees Wade level once more on double 15.
5-4 - Wade lands his second 180 of the game before taking out 81 on double 12 for an 11-darter to break and move ahead for the first time.
6-4 - Wade moves two legs clear by hitting double 18.
6-5 - Double eight sees Part hit back to within a leg.
7-5 - Wade posts tops with his third dart to regain his cushion.
8-5 - Wade opens with a 180 and takes out tops for a 13-darter to move two legs away from the win.
8-6 - Part lands his second 180 of the game, and finishes double four with his third dart to stay in the hunt.
8-7 - Part posts another maximum and takes out 78 on double 12 to pull back to one leg behind the world number four.
9-7 - Part opens with a fourth 180, but Wade finishes 63 on tops to move to the brink of victory.
9-8 - Part misses double seven to finish 134, only for Wade to miss the same bed for a 122 checkout which would have put him into the second round - and the Canadian keeps the tie alive by hitting double seven.
10-8 - Wade superbly sets up 24 with a 159 score, and lands double 12 to seal progression.
Simon Whitlock v Jelle Klaasen
0-0 - Jelle Klaasen wins the bull and will throw first.
1-0 - Whitlock secures an immediate break of throw by finishing 74.
2-0 - Double ten sees the Australian double his lead.
2-1 - Klaasen takes out 80 on double ten to get off the mark.
2-2 - The Dutchman lands a 180 and takes out 75 on double six to level.
3-2 - Whitlock fires in double ten - with his third dart - to break throw again and regain the lead.
3-3 - Klaasen returns to break back and level the contest.
4-3 - Another leg goes against the throw as Whitlock finishes 65.
5-3 - Whitlock fires in a 180 and takes out 81 to move two legs clear once more.
6-3 - Whitlock lands two 180s in the leg and double nine wins the Australian a third successive leg.
7-3 - Whitlock wins a fourth successive leg, hitting double five to move three legs away from the second round.
8-3 - The world number five hits an 11-darter by taking out 84 on double 18.
8-4 - Missed doubles from Klaasen look set to cost him the leg as Whitlock steps up needing 58, but the Australian misses a pair of darts at tops and his opponent finishes double five to win his first leg in six.
8-5 - Klaasen again rides his luck, with Whitlock missing a dart at double 16 before the Dutch ace lands double two.
9-5 - Klaasen is unable to finish 98, and Whitlock hits double 16 to move a leg away from the victory.
9-6 - The pair trade 180s, with Klaasen first to a finish only to miss three darts for the leg, but Whitlock misses two darts at double 16 for the win, and his opponent posts double five to keep his hopes alive.
9-7 - Klaasen continues his fightback with a thrilling 158 checkout, hitting two treble 20s and treble 19.
9-8 - The Dutch star continues to fight, pulling back to trail by only one leg with a superb 118 finish.
10-8 - Whitlock scores 177 and 180 before landing double 16 for a 12-darter to seal the win.