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Robert Thornton set up a last 16 showdown with Phil Taylor, while Mervyn King and Vincent van der Voort also claimed victories on the opening night of the PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix in Dublin.

Thornton continued his impressive form at the Citywest Hotel, as he progressed into the second round with a commanding victory over Mark Walsh.

The Scotsman, who won a Players Championship event on Sunday, hit back from a set down to triumph, winning six legs in a row.

Thornton will now face ten-time winner Taylor in a repeat of June’s UK Open final, which saw ‘The Thorn’ clinch his first PDC major title.

King progressed to round two after coming out on top in a thrilling match against Terry Jenkins, which went to a last leg decider.

‘The King’ will take on Dave Chisnall on Wednesday evening for a place in the quarter-finals.

van der Voort also triumphed in a final leg shootout. The Dutchman saw off the valiant challenge of home favourite William O’Connor, to set up a last 16 tie against 2011 runner-up Brendan Dolan.

Recently-crowned European Champion Simon Whitlock had to put his quest for another major title on hold. ‘The Wizard’ suffered a 2-1 reverse at the hands of Justin Pipe.

Tuesday evening sees the completion of the first round, with James Wade beginning his bid to win the prestigious title for a third time.

‘The Machine’, who lifted the trophy in 2007 and 2010, faces Colin Osborne, while in-form Michael van Gerwen plays 2004 winner Colin Lloyd.

Mark Webster is up against 2012 World Championship runner-up Andy Hamilton, with Raymond van Barneveld and Paul Nicholson taking on Ian White and Michael Mansell respectively.

By Chris Murphy

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Image courtesy of Lawrence Lustig/PDC

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