Jamie Lewis admitted he didn’t “want to let down” his grandfather who passed away just days before the World Series.
The classy Welshman produced the performance of the night to beat Dimitri Van den Bergh in Vienna with a 109.8 average.
A clinical display of finishing from Lewis saw him hit six of his seven attempts at double and he will now take on World Champion Rob Cross in Saturday’s second round when the eight seeded players enter the competition.
He said: “I’m over the moon with that performance, I haven’t had a great year but I felt that was coming.
“I lost my grandfather last week, it’s been a really hard week but I knew I was going to come out here and do well for him tonight.
“In my head I was thinking ‘I don’t want to let him down’ and thankfully I performed well for him tonight, so I’m chuffed with that.”
Night one of the £250,000 event also saw former Auckland Darts Master Kyle Anderson take out three ton-plus checkouts in a 6-4 win over Ian White.
A star of 15 World Series events, Anderson came through the high-quality affair with a 101.4 average and will now take on Shanghai Darts Masters winner Michael Smith.
“I’m finally enjoying my darts again, I’m back in form and I had to be to beat Ian tonight,” said Anderson.
“I’ve decided to slow my game down, which is actually how I used to play before I sped up and it’s working well for me so far.”
It was a hat-trick of wins for Australian players as Raymond Smith and Damon Heta also progressed to the second day of action in Austria.
German number one Max Hopp was a late-notice replacement for Canadian youngster Dawson Murschell, who was forced to withdraw through illness, but his trip to Vienna proved short-lived as he went down 6-1 to Dave Chisnall.
World No 10 Chisnall proved too strong for Hopp, landing three ton-plus finishes and averaging 102.9 to ensure he will face US Darts Masters champion Gary Anderson.
Daryl Gurney secured an impressive whitewash 6-0 win over Steve Beaton, averaging 104 to set up a replay of the 2017 World Grand Prix final against Simon Whitlock.
Newly-crowned European Champion James Wade will play Austrian crowd favourite Mensur Suljovic after seeing off Ross Smith 6-3, while Gerwyn Price will take on top seed Peter Wright after cruising past Hong Kong’s Royden Lam 6-1.
By Phil Lanning (@lannomedia)