Gerwyn Price set up a tantalising second-round clash with Michael van Gerwen after beating Michael Smith 6-3 on day one of the Jack’s Casino World Series of Darts Finals.
The European Championship runner-up averaged 101.86 in front of a bumper crowd at the AFAS Live in Amsterdam and had too much for his English opponent on the night.
The match began with Price taking a 3-1 lead, which included a 142 finish, before Smith went on to level at 3-3.
The Welshman then regained control, breaking in the eighth leg of the match and eventually going on to win the match with a 52 finish.
“Michael (Smith) used to be a bit of a bogey player for me but I do like playing him. He is quick and doesn’t mess about and now I feel confident playing against him.
“After last week I’ve just decided to go out and try and enjoy myself and I’ll be doing that against MVG tomorrow. It’s not the end of the world if I lose and I’ve had some great games against him and I’m going to give my all tomorrow night.”
The meeting between Van Gerwen and Price will be the 19th between the pair, with the Dutchman winning 17 of the previous clashes and the other being a draw in the Premier League.
Raymond van Barneveld’s final competitive tournament in Holland will commence on Saturday night when he takes on his fellow countryman Jermaine Wattimena.
Wattimena secured his spot in round two with a 6-4 win over Gabriel Clemens, with the Dutchman taking out 111 to claim the win.
“It will be a pleasure to play Raymond tomorrow, the atmosphere should be incredible,” said Wattimena.
“I really wanted to win today so I was very happy when I hit the double for the 111 finish.”
Dave Chisnall was another headline winner in Amsterdam on day one, defeating Simon Whitlock 6-4.
Chisnall will face European Championship winner Rob Cross in round two and is relishing the challenge.
“I fancy beating Rob tomorrow. I’m feeling pretty confident at the moment I just need to start finding the doubles.
“I played really well last weekend but just made some mistakes on the final day. Rob is a great player but I’m ready for him,” concluded Chisnall.
In the opening match of the night, Jonny Clayton defeated Wayne Jones 6-4. Jones came out the stronger of the pair averaging 101 and leading 3-1 after the first four legs.
The Welshman then found his form, winning five of the next six legs to set up a second round encounter with James Wade, who beat Clayton at the European Championship a week before.
“That was tough, I couldn’t stop shaking at the start, so I’m just glad to get the win,” said Clayton after his win.
“My game is in a good place at the moment and I’m playing well, James got the better of me last week and I’ll need to play well to beat him tomorrow but I believe I can do it.”
Ian White survived a comeback from Ricky Evans on day one as the world number 11 let a 3-0 slip, before eventually winning in the deciding leg, where, with Evans sat on 24 for the match, White took out 76 on tops to seal the victory and a second-round clash with Peter Wright on Saturday night.
“I’ve got to stop giving people chances to come back at me. I know my game is there but I just keep letting people believe the have a chance.
“I can’t do that against Peter tomorrow because no matter what his form is like he can always turn it back on and play brilliantly. It should be a great game.”
Mensur Suljovic punished 16 missed darts at doubles by Kyle Anderson, as he went on to record a 6-1 win over his Australian opponent.
The victory sees the Austrian progress to face Brisbane Darts Masters champion Damon Heta.
“Today was not good, Kyle is my friend but we played so bad in this game. Tomorrow I promise I will be 100% better,” joked Suljovic after the match.
Krzysztof Ratajski will face Daryl Gurney in round two after beating US Darts Masters Champion Nathan Aspinall 6-5 in a thrilling game.
Despite averaging over 103 and hitting almost 65 per cent of his attempts at doubles, Aspinall was able to overcome his opponent and it was Ratajski who managed to get over the line in a last-leg decider.
Ratajski, playing in his first World Series Finals, averaged over 104 and took out 70, with Aspinall sat on 36 to secure the victory.
Danny Noppert completes the second-round line-up and will face Gary Anderson after beating fellow Dutchman Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-3.
The Jack’s Casino World Series of Darts Finals will continue on Saturday night with the eight seeded players from the World Series Order of Merit making their entrances, as the last 16 players battle out for a place in the quarter-finals.
The tournament will be broadcast live on ITV4 in the UK, on PDCTV-HD for Rest of the World Subscribers and through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7.
Friday, November 1 (1945 local time, 1845 GMT)
First Round x8
Jonny Clayton 6-4 Wayne Jones
Ian White 6-5 Ricky Evans
Mensur Suljovic 6-1 Kyle Anderson
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-5 Nathan Aspinall
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Michael Smith
Dave Chisnall 6-4 Simon Whitlock
Danny Noppert 6-3 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Jermaine Wattimena 6-4 Gabriel Clemens
Saturday, November 2 (2000 local time, 1900 GMT)
Second Round x8
James Wade v Jonny Clayton
Damon Heta v Mensur Suljovic
Daryl Gurney v Krzysztof Ratajski
Michael van Gerwen v Gerwyn Price
Peter Wright v Ian White
Gary Anderson v Danny Noppert
Raymond van Barneveld v Jermaine Wattimena
Rob Cross v Dave Chisnall