Van Gerwen lays down marker in Alexandra Palace opener

Michael van Gerwen started the defence of his PDC World Darts Championship title with a clinical 3-1 victory over Christian Kist on the opening day at Alexandra Palace.

Van Gerwen is a strong favourite to be crowned champion for a third time in five years and averaged 107 to seal his spot in the second round at the expense of fellow Dutchman Kist.

The world number one hit the ground running with a 180 first up and took out 141 to win the first set 3-0, going on to take the second 3-1 as Kist paid the price for failing to hit double 16.

Former BDO world champion Kist was certainly not just making up the numbers, though, and nailed double 19 to take the third set 3-2.

Van Gerwen dominated the fourth set, though, winning all three legs to see off Kist, who also averaged over 100 but was unfortunate to be facing the best in the business.

James Wilson will be Van Gerwen's next opponent after the 'Lethal Biscuit' beat Krzysztof Ratajski 3-1, while Steve Beaton and Gerwyn Price also advanced.

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