REIGNING WORLD CHAMPION Michael Van Gerwen began the defence of his title with a brilliant performance against Christian Kist at London’s Alexandra Palace on Thursday.

The world number one defeated his Dutch compatriot by three sets to one with a stunning opening display, in which he averaged over 106 – the third highest first round average in the tournament’s history.

“It’s always nice to come back to the Alexandra Palace for World Championship and a great game like this to start the tournament off is always nice, it’s good for your confidence,” said van Gerwen, who fired in finishes of 138 and 141 along the way.

“I also want to say well done to Christian Kist as well because he put me under pressure, he played well, he had over a 100 average. What can you say, it was a nice start for me and I’m glad I won this game.

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