Michael Smith is a big step closer achieving his dream.
The Unicorn star took just 50 minutes to brush past Ryan Searle by four sets to one.
He should have won 4-0 but missed match darts. In the end Smith got the job done and this victory takes him back up to No.8 in the world.
“I am pretty pleased with that,” he said. “I started slowly but got into my stride and managed to keep it together despite the missed match darts.”
“I truly believe I can win this and will get better. I will have to.” Smith added.
He hit ‘tops’ three times out of four to win the opening set, then brilliantly came from two legs down to double his lead as he won a deciding leg against the throw thanks to a third 180 and a fantastic 130 finish.
It got better for the St Helens ace as he produced the best set average of the tournament so far to go three sets clear.....121.86 after four 180s, winning it in 15, 11 and 11 darts.
A 126 check-out on the bull set him on his way for a 4-0 victory but he missed two darts at ‘tops’ for the match and was punished by Searle.
Searle actually went two legs clear in set five but Smith showed his class again. A 96 finish, then a break and a 106 check-out to clinch a clinical win.
In total, he hit ten 180s and averaged just shy of 100. It was very impressive again from Smith.
Meanwhile Gary Anderson will take on Dave Chisnall in the quarter-finals after Chizzy thrashed Jamie Lewis 4-0.
Friday 1st Round results:
Michael Smith 4-1 Ryan Sea4le
Dave Chisnall 4-0 Jamie Lewis
Nathan Aspinall 4-3 Devon Petersen
Brendan Dolan 4-1 Benito van de Pas
Ryan Joyce 4-3 James Wade
By STUART PYKE at the Ally Pally
Photo courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC