JAMES WADE, Robert Thornton and Mensur Suljovic moved safely through to the second round of the William Hill World Darts Championship with straight sets victories on Wednesday at Alexandra Palace.
Sixth seed Wade cruised past Ronny Huybrechts despite losing the first leg of each set, while Thornton defeated preliminary round winner Zoran Lerchbacher and Suljovic saw off Ron Meulenkamp.
Three-time semi-finalist Wade produced a moment of magic with a match-winning 141 checkout as he began his bid for a first World Championship title with a routine victory on the penultimate night of first round action.
The left-hander – last month’s Grand Slam of Darts runner-up – also hit finishes of 84, 120 and 62 as he set up a second clash against former Lakeside Champion Steve Beaton.
“I’ve been playing well,” said Wade, who recovered from losing the first set in every leg to his Belgian opponent to progress, sealing victory with a 141 finish.
“My chances here are nothing to do with my results in other tournaments. What I’ve being doing in practice is a little bit special and it stands me in a good place for the rest of the tournament.”
2015 quarter-finalist Thornton also enjoyed a comfortable success, with the 2015 World Grand Prix champion hitting four 180s in a three-set victory over Austrian qualifier Lerchbacher.
Lerchbacher had earlier come from a set behind to win his preliminary round match against Simon Stevenson but was unable to repeat his performance against the number nine seed.
Thornton, who suffered a shock defeat in the first round against Alan Norris last year, will now take on Northern Ireland’s Daryl Gurney in the last 32.
“I just wanted to get past the first one,” said the 2012 UK Open Champion.
“It was difficult to keep my rhythm but I got the job done. I know how Daryl plays so I’ll be ready for him and I’ll just take one game at a time and see how it goes.”
Number eight seed Suljovic recovered from 2-0 deficit in the first set before losing just two more legs en route to victory against Dutch left-hander Meulenkamp.
The Austrian ace, who won his first PDC ranking title in 2016, hit two 180s and a 120 finish to set up a second round clash against Wales’ Mark Webster.
Thursday sees the conclusion of the first round as Dave Chisnall takes on Rowby-John Rodriguez and Jelle Klaasen meets Dutch compatriot Jeffrey de Graaf.
Another Dutchman, Vincent van der Voort, takes on Germany’s former World Youth Champion Max Hopp, while Belgium’s Kim Huybrechts faces Huddersfield’s James Wilson in the final tie of round one.
William Hill World Darts Championship
Wednesday December 21
Zoran Lerchbacher 2-1 Simon Stevenson (P)
Mensur Suljovic (8) 3-0 Ron Meulenkamp
James Wade (6) 3-0 Ronny Huybrechts
Robert Thornton (9) 3-0 Zoran Lerchbacher
Thursday December 22 (7pm)
Jelle Klaasen (10) v Jeffrey de Graaf
Vincent van der Voort (20) v Max Hopp
Dave Chisnall (7) v Rowby-John Rodriguez
Kim Huybrechts (13) v James Wilson
First Round – Best of five sets