Taylor through as Whitlock is smoked out by Pipe
Phil Taylor sent out a huge message to his rivals on the opening night of the World Grand Prix as he put on a devastating display to reach the second round.
The Power overcame talented 22-year-old Michael Smith by two sets to love, and with it was back to something like his very best after proving to be too strong for his opponent tonight.
Smith, a protégé of Gary Anderson, began superbly, knocking in back-to-back 180s, but Taylor wasn’t to be troubled by it, as he stormed to the first set by converting a 94 checkout on the bullseye, and then winning the second set and ending the match with an average of 100.73, the pick of the night being a fine 167 checkout.
Taylor lost to Brendan Dolan in the quarter-finals of last month’s European Championship, and suffered four defeats in his seven matches in the Championship League last week, so coming into Dublin the Power was feeling under pressure, leading many to believe he was on the decline, but, the 15-time champion of the world looked more like his usual dominant self, and it will take something special to deny him an 11th World Grand Prix title.
The man who won the European Championship Simon Whitlock, was stunned by Justin Pipe.
It was the first major of Whitlock’s career with that triumph in Germany last month, but against Pipe he just couldn’t get his rhythm going, and Pipe took full advantage of the Australian not being sharp to clinch an excellent 3-2 victory.
Whitlock wasn’t the only big name casualty on the opening night, as 2011 Premier League champion Anderson was ousted by last year’s finalist here and Irish home-favourite Dolan.
It was exactly a year to the day when Dolan made World Grand Prix history by throwing the first ever nine-darter at this event, which came in his semi-final win against James Wade, and once again he delighted his supporters to get the better of Anderson, winning 2-0.
Mervyn King returned to form after beating seven-time major finalist Terry Jenkins in a final leg.
The match appeared to be heading to a quick finish when Jenkins took the first set and had match darts for a straight sets win. However, former world No.4 King fought back, and managed to overcome Jenkins in the final set by landing double 10.
Dave Chisnall a year ago missed 13 match darts to beat Alan Tabern. This year, it was almost darting déjà vu, as he eventually defeated Dean Winstanley by converting his 10th match dart to win 3-2.
There were also wins for UK Open champion Robert Thornton, and Kevin Painter- who whitewashed Kim Huybrechts- as well as quick-Dutchman Vincent van der Voort.
Whether Scott Waites will win as many world titles as Phil Taylor may not be a matter for debate if only because it is hard to believe anyone matching the Power.
Scott Waites will play Tony O'Shea in the final of the BDO world Championship at the Lakeside Country Club.
The BDO world championship might be the poor relation in the world of darts but it is fashioning a Cinderella story this year.