Home comforts for Van Gerwen
Michael van Gerwen enjoyed a winning homecoming in Holland with a 6-4 win over Peter Hudson in the Dutch Darts Masters.
Van Gerwen claimed his first major PDC title at the PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix a fortnight ago and also won a Players Championship in Killarney last weekend, and remains in the hunt for the £15,000 first prize in Nuland following his defeat of Hudson.
Van Gerwen now progresses to play Paul Nicholson - who was a 6-3 winner against Ross Smith - in Saturday's second round of the European Tour event, and admitted he was delighted to be back on home soil, with Nuland's Van Der Valk Hotel only a 10-minutes drive from his home.
"It was a difficult game because this is my first tournament in Holland for a year and there was a bit more pressure than normal on me," said van Gerwen.
"I wasn't nervous but I wanted to show everyone in Holland what I can do and how well I've been playing in the last few weeks.
"I'm happy to win the game but it wasn't easy because Peter is a good player. I wasn't brilliant in every leg, but a win is a win and I'm looking forward to playing against Paul Nicholson.
"I know him very well and he's a very good guy, but tomorrow he's my enemy! If I can go all the way and win this weekend too it would be fantastic and my confidence is high at the moment but I will just play my game and take each game one at a time."
World number one Phil Taylor, a European Tour winner in Berlin earlier this year, won through to the second round with a whitewash of Steve Hine in under 15 minutes on Friday night and now plays home favourite Co Stompe in the second round.
Stompe booked his place in the last 32 with a 6-2 win over Terry Temple earlier in the day, with fellow Dutchmen Raymond van Barneveld, Vincent van der Voort and Gino Vos also progressed to Saturday.
Five-time World Champion van Barneveld won five straight legs to come from 3-1 down and defeat Mick Todd 6-3, while youngster Vos impressed with a 6-1 win over Dave Chisnall and van der Voort whitewashed Germany's Bernd Roith.
September's European Champion Simon Whitlock, the number two seed, saw off Denmark's Per Laursen 6-4 and now takes on Alan Tabern after the left-hander won the all-St Helens battle with Michael Smith by the same scoreline.
Number three seed Wes Newton hit six 180s in his 6-4 defeat of Jyhan Artut and now plays Bristol's Steve Brown, who was a 6-5 winner against Dutch qualifier Dick Van Dijk.
World Championship finalist Andy Hamilton overcame Dennis Smith 6-5 after trailing 4-2 at one stage, and now plays Belgian newcomer Davyd Venken in round two, with the qualifier defeating Mark Hylton 6-4.
Two players who staged hearty comebacks will clash in the second round, with Ronnie Baxter having from 3-1 down to see off Holland's Roland Scholten 6-4, only for that revival to be bettered by Colin Osborne, who hit back from 4-0 down to see off another Dutchman, Toon Greebe, 6-5.
Mervyn King's 6-1 win over Belgian qualifier Ronny Huybrechts sets him up for a clash with Ian White, the German Darts Classic runner-up in Stuttgart in September who received a Bye in the first round after Robert Thornton was ruled out through injury.
Andy Smith defeated two-time World Champion Dennis Priestley 6-3 and now plays Midlands rival Scott Rand, who won by the same scoreline against Colin Lloyd on Friday afternoon.
Kevin Painter was a 6-3 winner against Brian Woods and now plays Wolverhampton ace Wayne Jones, who was a 6-2 winner against Dave Ladley, while World Youth Champion James Hubbard plays Andy Jenkins after they defeated Denis Ovens and Justin Pipe respectively.
Arron Monk came from 2-0 down to defeat three-time World Champion John Part 6-4 and set up a clash with van der Voort, while Jamie Caven's 6-1 win over German youngster Kevin Munch sees him face Vos in round two and Swindon's Johnny Haines earned a clash with van Barneveld after defeating Peter Wright in a decider.
Steve Beaton was another 11-leg winner as he edged out Dean Winstanley, and he now plays 16-year-old German qualifier Max Hopp, who claimed the scalp of world number ten Terry Jenkins with a 6-5 triumph.
World number nine Mark Webster also crashed out in the first round with a whitewash against Midlands thrower Mark Jones, who now plays Kim Huybrechts after the Belgian came from 2-0 down to defeat Germany's Tomas Seyler 6-2.