Gerwyn Price bounced back from an early deficit to punch his way into round two of the World Matchplay with a 10-8 victory over Martin Schindler in Blackpool.
The world number two, who suffered a fractured hand in March, won the first leg with an immediate break before his German debutant opponent broke back with a 96 checkout in a 12-dart second leg.
The Welshman soon found himself battling from behind, his rival making it 3-1 before Price found his form, pining D10 to seal a 15-dart fifth leg.
Price went up 5-4 thanks to his opponents’ two wide misses at D8, but Schindler answered in the 10th leg, taking out 141 for the break after the interval before two consecutive 11-darters gave Price a 9-7 advantage.
Schindler kept himself in contention, winning his eighth leg with a 91 checkout on D16, but Price, who will next meet Dave Chisnall, ultimately sealed his second-round berth, averaging 99.78 with eight maximums.
An all-English clash opened proceedings at the Winter Gardens as Bedlington’s Chris Dobey looked for his first World Matchplay win against 2019 champion Rob Cross.
All looked to be going Dobey’s way as he dominated the opening legs, finding himself up 8-2 before Cross took out 76 in two darts to claw back the leg and begin a magnificent six-win run to level proceedings at eight legs apiece.
Dobey responded with an 11-darter before Cross forced a tie-break with a bullseye for a 74 checkout, ultimately completing the 11-9 comeback to set up a second-round clash with Jose de Sousa.
The Portugal native advanced with a 10-6 victory over Gabriel Clemens, hitting his sixth maximum before wrapping up the contest with a match-highest 136 checkout and a 93.55 average.
Chisnall wrapped up the evening, setting up his clash with Price after coming out on top of a cagey contest with Kim Huybrechts with wins in the final three legs to make it 10-7 and book his place in the last 16.