Simon Whitlock won through to the second round of the Ladbrokes World Championship with a comfortable straight sets victory over Haruki Muramatsu on Wednesday night.
The reigning European Champion kicked of his campaign for glory at the Alexandra Palace with an assured display against the Japanese number one.
Whitlock posted a 95.5 average in his first round win as he set up a last 32 clash with Colin Osborne.
“I felt comfortable tonight,” said the Australian, who reached the semi-finals last year.
“I’ve prepared well and I feel ready for this tournament. I’ve been practising more than ever and I’m very confident.
“Colin played well so I will have to up my game for the next round but I was solid tonight and I can build on that for sure.”
The first two legs went with the throw before Whitlock bedded his first maximum on the way to a break of throw.
‘The Wizard’ then sealed the first set by pegging double 16.
He kicked off the second set with a neat 68 checkout but Muramatsu drew level on double 19.
Whitlock took out 48 after setting up the finish by scoring 136 and then produced a brilliant 116 checkout to go two sets ahead.
Muramatsu took the lead in the third set but the Australian ace pinned tops to level.
The world number four slotted in his second 180 before hitting double 14 to break his opponent’s throw.
And Whitlock sealed the victory, bedding double 18 to move into the last 32.
By Chris Murphy
Images courtesy of Lawrence Lustig/PDC