Defending champion Phil Taylor recovered from an early break in throw and staved off a brave fightback from Mark Hylton to claim a 10-8 victory in the first round of the PDC World Matchplay in Blackpool last night.
Hylton managed to break Taylor in only the fourth leg, but the 11-time champion won against the throw in the very next leg before pulling ahead with a 12-darter in the sixth.
That kick-started a run that saw Taylor win eight out 10 legs as he looked destined to ease into round two, but world number 48 Hylton almost pulled off an unexpected comeback.
He stepped up his accuracy at his doubles as well as upping his average to peg world number one Taylor back to 9-8, but the 50-year-old wrapped up the win before praising his opponent.
"He is one of the best comeback players I've ever played against, he just didn't seem to drop his head," he told Sky Sports 1.
"I was thinking about the tie-breaker and thinking he had the throw in the next leg. Everything goes through your mind.
"Fair play to Mark, he has done his apprenticeship and a few years on the circuit and now he is becoming a good player. Over the next few years I think he will climb up the rankings."
Current world number 16 Wayne Jones set up a second-round meeting with Taylor after recording a 10-6 victory over Scott Rand, although he missed three darts at a double in the final leg as nerves seemed to momentarily get the better of the 46-year-old.
The early legs went with the throw before Jones got the break and powered into a 6-3 lead.
He maintained his form and at 9-6 Rand missed his chance to steal the leg after Jones had wasted three darts to wrap up the tie, but he rectified his mistake on his return to the oche to advance.
Tournament debutant Justin Pipe produced an excellent display to win 10-6 in his first-round match against world number nine Mervyn King.
Pipe, who only joined the professional circuit last year, went toe-to-toe with 2009 Matchplay semi-finalist King to lock the score at 5-5 before the former won five of the next six legs to progress.
Wes Newton rounded the night off with a 10-2 rout of Andy Smith.
Newton powered into a 6-0 lead before "The Pie Man" finally got himself on the board and had four darts for the match in the 11th end, but missed his chance and Smith extended the game with an 80 finish.
He was millimetres from a 170 finish in the next before finally wrapping up victory at the seventh attempt.