Power play: Essien watches 15-time darts champion Taylor ease through
Phil Taylor reached the second round of the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championships last night, and never needed to be on full power.
He will raise the level after Christmas when he meets either Mark Dudbridge or Dave Chisnall.
But it was not straightforward as the 15-times world champion beat Japanese qualifier Haruki Muramatsu 3-0. It was a night Muramatsu will never forget, having defeated Sweden’s Dennis Nilsson earlier in the evening.
Power surge: Phil Taylor lines up his shot
Relief: Taylor celebrates his win
His fan club savoured the moment and their excitement grew as Muramatsu had the chance to go 2-1 up in the opening set.
But he missed double top and Taylor eased away.
Taylor knows so much is expected in the first round but it is all about slowly building form during the tournament.
And at the start of the second set, as Taylor missed double 10, Muramatsu moved in to check out on 60 and take a 1-0 lead. But once Taylor started to flex his muscles, he hit back and took the set.
He was averaging just under 100 with Muramatsu on 86, but The Power passed 100 as he won the match on a double five.
Taylor said: “It was hard work to be honest with you.
“It was like playing Jockey Wilson – a bad shot and then three good shots. He was a good player.
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“He is very steady and precise plus you don”t know who you are playing.
“I think he would have frightened any pro tonight.”
The night before it did not take Adrian Lewis long to be reminded of the buzz of these Championships. Only this time, it was literally that for the man known as Jackpot at the Alexandra Palace.
Defending champion Lewis was having a tricky enough time in his opening match against Nigel ‘The Undertaker’ Heydon when he felt a pain in his left hand.
‘I could not believe it,’ said Lewis. ‘There was a wasp stuck there. I was 2-0 down, we were at the interval, I was practising because I knew I had to get myself back in the game and then this happens.
‘I thought, “What the hell is going on here It is December. This is all I need!’” Lewis overcame the sting and won the match 3-2.