Former champion Raymond van Barneveld put last year’s shock opening-round exit behind him with a superb performance tonight to thrash Michael Smith 3-0 and progress through to the second round of the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship.
The experienced Dutchman was the victim of a huge upset 12 months ago when he was beaten 3-0 by James Richardson but he had no such concerns tonight as he whitewashed Smith in just 18 minutes with a brilliant three-dart average of 108.31.
Van Barneveld, winner in 2007 and runner-up two years later, said on www.pdc.tv: “When I lost here in the first round last year, it was the most disappointing moment of my career.
“I feel like the happiest man in darts right now. I’m playing to a high-standard and producing good averages.”
Richardson was unable to repeat his heroics as he lost 3-1 to last year’s runner-up Andy Hamilton, although he did manage to win the first set before his opponent hit back to set up a last-32 showdown with Richie Burnett at Alexandra Palace.
Gary Anderson, the 2011 finalist, also had to battle hard before securing his spot in the second round with a 3-1 win over Finland’s Jani Haavisto.
Haavisto had earlier in the evening beaten his compatriot Jarkko Komula 4-2 in the preliminary round to set up his clash with fifth seed Anderson.
Also tonight, Brendan Dolan defeated debutant Mark Jones 3-0 and will next face Van Barneveld.