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Van Gerwen Stuns Whitlock as Wade Cruises Through

Dutch sensation Michael van Gerwen celebrates a terrific victory (credit: Lawrence Lustig/ PDC)
Michael van Gerwen produced an unstoppable late rally to win five straight legs and dump out Simon Whitlock in round one of the World Matchplay on Sunday night, meanwhile James Wade eased past Richie Burnett.

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The young Dutch sensation had threatened to come good on the big TV stage over the past few months, but finally transferred his fluent floor form with a 10-6 victory over Australia's number one.

The 23-year-old flew out of the traps by taking the first three legs, before Whitlock rallied to 3-2 behind at the first break.

Premier League runner-up Whitlock dug deep and overturned the deficit to lead 6-5 in a game that was developing into a quick-fire thriller and looked destined for a tie break.

Mighty Mike however had other ideas as he combined his trademark power scoring with a superb display of outshots, which included 110, 104 and 99 in securing five consecutive legs to take victory.

The result sees van Gerwen avenge his defeat to The Wizard in this year's World Championship and he now becomes a huge threat to the rest of the field should he continue in that vain.

"It was a very difficult game for me but I played very well and I'm happy with that," said van Gerwen. "I've been practising hard for the last few weeks and been playing well for a few months, so I'm happy it came out on stage.

"It was a big moment for me. It's three years since I played here and it's a great venue and a great crowd, and I played a good game so I'm very happy with that."

Former winner of the event and last year's runner-up James Wade made light work of Welshman Richie Burnett in the third match of the night as he coasted to a 10-5 win.

Wade looked in confident mood as he defeated a frustrated former Lakeside champion, hitting 10 out of his 18 attempts at a double.

The Machine led 3-0 and 8-1 before Burnett rallied to threaten a fightback, but the world number three proved too deadly on double top as he progressed to a second round clash with Mark Walsh on Wednesday.

"Richie's been playing well recently so I was nervous going into the game, and I know I can improve but it's great to get through," said Wade.

"Richie threw a little bit back at me but I got there in the end - I actually got more nervous as the game went on, and I haven't quite got the confidence I had a few years ago, but I'm practising hard and hopefully it will come back within time."

Walsh had to show his battling qualities as he fought back from 6-3 and 7-4 down against Colin Osborne before taking a 10-8 win to progress to the second round for the seventh time.

"I missed doubles early on and Colin took advantage, and I was always chasing the game until it was eight-all," said Walsh. "I normally get to the second round, which I have done six times before, but this year hopefully I can break that hoodoo."

A night of fightbacks also saw popular thrower Steve Beaton come from behind to send home Premier League wildcard Kevin Painter, whose Matchplay misery continues.

Beaton trailed 2-0 and 3-1, but won five successive legs to turn the game in his favour, and even though the number 11 seed fired in a 160 checkout it was not enough to save his hopes.

"I'm really pleased with that performance but I made it hard for myself early on," said Beaton. "It's hard not to get frustrated with yourself, and I've gone into the first break 3-2 down, but you have to forget that and hit him hard.

"I'd have been happy with five-all at the next break, so to go in 6-4 up was a bonus and I took my chances."

The first round continues on Monday night with a further four matches, headed by reigning champion Phil Taylor's clash with Mervyn King as the 12-time champion begins his challenge for a record-equalling fifth successive title.

Former champion Colin Lloyd plays number nine seed Mark Webster, last year's semi-finalist Andy Hamilton takes on World Grand Prix finalist Brendan Dolan and Vincent van der Voort faces debutant Ian White.

Betfair World Matchplay Results
First Round - Sunday July 22
Mark Walsh 10-8 Colin Osborne
Kevin Painter 6-10 Steve Beaton
James Wade 10-5 Richie Burnett
Simon Whitlock 6-10 Michael van Gerwen

Monday July 23 (7pm)
Andy Hamilton v Brendan Dolan
Vincent van der Voort v Ian White
Phil Taylor v Mervyn King
Mark Webster v Colin Lloyd

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Van Gerwen Stuns Whitlock as Wade Cruises Through

Michael van Gerwen produced an unstoppable late rally to win five straight legs and dump out Simon Whitlock in round one of the World Matchplay on Sunday night, meanwhile James Wade eased past Richie Burnett.

Read more »