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Gary Anderson is 'enjoying' darts again after smashing Simon Whitlock in World Championship opener

Gary Anderson began his bid for a third Paddy Power World Darts Championship crown with a dominant straight sets victory over Simon Whitlock on Saturday.

Day Two of the sport’s showpiece event saw eight matches take place across an action-packed double session at Alexandra Palace, with Anderson stealing the show on his return to the capital.

The two-time World Champion has enjoyed a stunning return to form in 2023, and he opened his latest title challenge with a demolition job against 2010 runner-up Whitlock.

Anderson enjoyed a dream start to the contest, following up a maximum in his opening visit with an 11-dart hold to fire an early warning shot to the shell-shocked Australian.

The Scot continued his rampant run to extend his winning run to five legs, and although Whitlock stopped the rot with a 106 outshot, Anderson replied with a third 180 and a 13-darter to double his lead in sets.

Whitlock threatened to reduce the arrears with a spirited third-set display, although Anderson refused to be embroiled, producing 112 and 116 checkouts in the latter stages to seal his progress in style.

"I've known Simon for a long time, and he was struggling up there tonight," reflected Anderson, who averaged 98, posted five 180s and pinned 50 per cent of his attempts at double.

"It is hard to play against that. I'm expecting the 140s, 180s, the big finishes. Simon is notorious for the 170 checkouts, but he came back at the end there, so I'm glad to get over the line.

"I have said it many times. I haven't wanted to play darts over the last three years, but win or lose, I'm enjoying the game again. I'm getting there!"

Photo Credit: PDC

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