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Mark Webster, Michael van Gerwen, Simon Whitlock and Robert Thornton all grabbed opening night victories at the Grand Slam of Darts, while Arron Monk and Mervyn King also got off to winning starts in Wolverhampton.

Webster hit finishes of 131 and 104 in a 5-3 success over 2010 champion Scott Waites in Group A.

The Welsh star, who has struggled to find his form this year, faces Phil Taylor in his second group game on Sunday evening.

“Maybe that can be the turning point now,” said Webster.

“I’ve got a bit more confidence just from winning that game.”

van Gerwen stormed to a 5-2 triumph over Steve Beaton in Group B.

‘Mighty Mike’, who averaged over 103, will face Thornton on Saturday night, after the Scotsman whitewashed Ted Hankey 5-0.

“To win the first game is very hard and also very important,” said van Gerwen.

“I’m looking forward to tomorrow night. Both Robert and I are fast players and it is always a good game between us.”

Thornton said: “I was confident of winning but to beat Ted 5-0 is a big boost.

“I enjoyed the win and I’ll rest up now ready for tomorrow night.”

Whitlock enjoyed a 5-2 victory against the impressive James Hubbard in Group C.

‘The Wizard’ faces Kevin Painter in his second match on Saturday evening, while Hubbard will take on Dean Winstanley.

He said: “James is a great player. I practise with him sometimes and I’m very proud of him so I’m pleased with that result.

“Kevin is always tough to play and we always have good games but hopefully I can get the better of him.”

Monk and King will face each other in the second round of matches in Group D after opening night triumphs.

Monk defeated James Wade 5-1, while King saw off Jan Dekker by the same scoreline.

Wade will face Dekker on Sunday night.

Sunday afternoon sees Groups E to H play out their first round of matches, with Paul Nicholson and Raymond van Barneveld both in action.

‘The Asset’ is up against Brendan Dolan, with ‘Barney’ facing Mark Walsh.

By Chris Murphy

Click the links for full match reports on the following results:-

Mark Webster 5-3 Scott Waites

Robert Thornton 5-0 Ted Hankey

Michael van Gerwen 5-2 Steve Beaton

Simon Whitlock 5-2 James Hubbard

Book tickets to see some of the world’s top darts players in action at The Carlsberg Masters, Birmingham on Friday December 7.

Images courtesy of Lawrence Lustig/PDC



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