MICHAEL VAN GERWEN made a winning start to his defence of the Dutch Darts Masters title by defeating John Henderson aside with a 6-3 defeat in Venray on Saturday, as World Champion Gary Anderson was knocked out by Mervyn King.
The world number one is bidding to win the PDC European Tour event in his home country for a third successive year, and opened in style by taking five straight legs against Henderson, including an 11-darter.
The Scot hit back with three straight legs, but van Gerwen landed his first 180 of the game in a 12-darter as he sealed victory by finishing 81 on the bull.
"You always try to win as easily as possible but I made it a bit difficult for myself," said van Gerwen. "If you can win five legs in a row you can also lose three, and I did that.
"Tomorrow's a big day and I need to prepare myself but I know I can beat everyone when I play well and I want to do that on Sunday."
Van Gerwen now takes on Justin Pipe in a repeat of the 2015 Venray final as Sunday's deciding day kicks off with the third round in the afternoon session, after the Taunton ace defied a 104 average from Jamie Lewis to edge a 6-5 win.
World number two Anderson hit back from 2-0 down to level his clash with King, but the Norfolk thrower produced a key 11-darter as he pulled away for a 6-4 victory.
"Gary's a double World Champion and you've got to take the game to him, and I did that," said King. "Holland's got a special place in my heart, I've been over here for more years than I care to remember and the crowds are top drawer."
Kim Huybrechts, the 2013 Dutch Darts Masters winner and fourth seed, lost out 6-2 to Devon Petersen as the South African survived two missed doubles from the Belgian to level in leg six before he sealed his victory - and a third round date with King - with a 131 checkout.
Benito van de Pas missed double 18 for a nine-darter during an impressive 6-2 win over Mark Webster, who averaged over 102 in defeat but could not prevent the young Dutchman progressing with the aid of a 110 checkout.
Van de Pas now takes on world number five James Wade in the third round, after the left-hander held his nerve to pull clear from three-all to win 6-3 against youngster Ryan Harrington.
"I think I was lucky Ryan didn't do what he set himself up for," said Wade. "I had a good practice with Ryan a couple of weeks ago and I believe he did enough to win but he didn't make the most of his opportunities.
"If he can lose those nerves his scoring ability is amazing and he's a breath of fresh air. I'm glad to get the win and I can look forward to Sunday now."
World number three Adrian Lewis averaged 103 as he overcame Dutch qualifier Remco van Eijden 6-1, wrapping up the victory with a 128 bull finish to move through and face Terry Jenkins, who saw off James Richardson by the same scoreline.
Number two seed Michael Smith enjoyed a 6-3 win over Wales' Gerwyn Price and now takes on Mensur Suljovic, who won his all-Austrian clash with under-par Rowby-John Rodriguez for the loss of just one leg.
Another former European Tour winner, Dave Chisnall, took out finishes of 164 and 143 on the way to his 6-3 comeback win against Wales' Kevin Thomas.
Chisnall will now take on Ritchie Edhouse, who received a second round bye following the withdrawal of Robert Thornton through illness.
Simon Whitlock, the former Dutch Darts Masters winner, continued his revival as he overcame Ian White 6-4 in a high-quality contest which saw the Stoke ace take out 140 only to see the newly-bespectacled Australian edge through.
Whitlock will now meet Dutch ace Jelle Klaasen, who overcame Kevin Painter 6-4 to the delight of a 3,500-strong Venray crowd.
Peter Wright produced the highest average of the second round with a 103.87 mean in his superb 6-4 win over Stephen Bunting, which included and 11-darter and a 156 checkout amongst back-to-back 12-dart legs as he pulled out to 5-2 in mid-game.
Wright now meets Daryl Gurney to compete for a place in the quarter-finals, after the Northern Irish ace knocked out fellow countryman Brendan Dolan 6-4.
The £115,000 tournament concludes on Sunday, with the third round being held in the afternoon session before the evening session features the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.
The Dutch Darts Masters is available to watch worldwide for all www.LIVEPDC.TV Subscribers.
Tickets for the Dutch Darts Masters, and other PDC European Tour events, can be purchased via www.pdc-europe.tv .
Dutch Darts Masters - European Tour Event One
Saturday February 13
Justin Pipe (16) 6-5 Jamie Lewis
Terry Jenkins (11) 6-1 James Richardson
Brendan Dolan (14) 4-6 Daryl Gurney
Mensur Suljovic (15) 6-1 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Ian White (7) 4-6 Simon Whitlock
Dave Chisnall (8) 6-3 Kevin Thomas
James Wade (4) 6-3 Ryan Harrington
Jelle Klaasen (10) 6-4 Kevin Painter
Kim Hubrechts (5) 2-6 Devon Petersen
Michael Smith (2) 6-3 Gerwyn Price
Michael van Gerwen (1) 6-3 John Henderson
Gary Anderson (12) 4-6 Mervyn King
Benito van de Pas (13) 6-2 Mark Webster
Adrian Lewis (6) 6-1 Remco van Eijden
Peter Wright (3) 6-4 Stephen Bunting
NB: Ritchie Edhouse receives Second Round Bye following withdrawal of Robert Thornton through illness.
All games are the best of 11 legs.
Michael van Gerwen v Justin Pipe
Dave Chisnall v Ritchie Edhouse
Devon Petersen v Mervyn King
James Wade v Benito van de Pas
Michael Smith v Mensur Suljovic
Simon Whitlock v Jelle Klaasen
Adrian Lewis v Terry Jenkins
Peter Wright v Daryl Gurney