James Wade began his bid for a first Ladbrokes.com PDC World Darts Championship in ominous fashion tonight after ruthlessly dispatching Steve MacArthur.
The number three seed, the season’s form player having already won the prestigious World Matchplay and World Grand Prix, dropped just one leg on his way to a 3-0 first-round win at Alexandra Palace.
Australian qualifier MacArthur had no answer to his opponent’s heavy scoring and deadly finishing, the 24-year-old Wade easily winning the first eight legs of the match.
Despite the margin of the victory, Wade insisted he was far from relaxed during the game.
“Looks can be deceiving,” he said on Sky Sports 1.
“It’s just very nerve-wracking and you just want to get that game, if you can, under your belt.
“It makes it a nice Christmas.”
The afternoon session saw Colin Osborne become the latest seed to be sent packing by a qualifier.
Osborne lost 3-1 to Dutchman Erwin Extercatte, who defied 10 maximums from the 20th seed to progress to the second round.
Despite consistently outscoring his opponent, Osborne was unable to produce the doubles when it mattered most and joined the likes of Terry Jenkins, Dennis Priestley and Colin Lloyd in suffering a shock first-round exit.
Alan Warriner-Little narrowly avoided adding his name to that list after surviving a scare from China’s Shi Yongsheng.
The 28th seed won 3-1 after qualifier Yongsheng stunned the former World Grand Prix champion by taking the second set of their contest and also leading in the third.
There was another upset when 22nd seed Andy Smith was ousted by Austrian Mensur Suljovic.
The qualifier came from 2-1 down to win 3-2 and move into the last 32.
Steve Beaton had no such problems, disposing of Steve Evans 3-0.
The first match of the evening session was far from straightforward for 14th seed Ronnie Baxter, who was pushed all the way by Canadian Dan Olson before sealing a 3-2 win.