MICHAEL VAN GERWEN started the defence of his German Darts Masters title in the perfect manner on Sunday as he defeated Rene Eidams 6-3 in front of a sell-out crowd at the Ballhausforum in Munich.
Home favourite Eidams, who ran van Gerwen close at the William Hill World Darts Championship three months ago, started brightly and broke in the opening leg as they met in the second round of the PDC European Tour event.
The pair traded blows for the next three legs before van Gerwen stamped his authority and won four legs back-to-back to stretch to a 5-2 lead, and though Eidams briefly responded, the world number one produced a majestic 132 finish of two bullseyes and double 16 to clinch the victory.
Reigning World Champion Gary Anderson put in the performance of the night as he posted a 106.59 average, winning six consecutive legs on his way to a 6-1 victory over the in-form Daryl Gurney.
There was another ton-plus average from Jelle Klaasen as he secured the only whitewash of the day with a 6-0 thumping of Ronny Huybrechts.
2015 semi-finalist Peter Wright overcame a tough clash with former Lakeside Champion Stephen Bunting in a 6-4 victory. In a display of masterful finishing, hitting 75% on his doubles, Wright finished the game with a 121 checkout on the bull to the delight of the packed crowd.
But overall it was a disappointing day for the seeded stars, as seven of the 16 players suffered early exits. In the day's opening game, Cristo Reyes comfortably dealt with Brendan Dolan in a 6-1 victory, before Justin Pipe lost to Kevin Painter and Terry Jenkins crashed out to James Richardson.
Following his heroics in the Betway Premier League on Thursday, Robert Thornton come unstuck against young star Chris Dobey - who averaged 100.64 and hit five maximums in a confident 6-4 victory.
James Wade also suffered an early exit as he lost 6-4 to Coral UK Open quarter-finalist Joe Cullen, whilst Kim Huybrechts was on the receiving end of a 6-1 demolition at the hands of William O'Connor during a disappointing day for the Belgian brothers.
The in-form Mensur Suljovic was the final seed to crash out of the competition as James Wilson produced a remarkable comeback from three legs down to win 6-4 against the Austrian.
Number two seed Michael Smith also had to dig deep to avoid crashing out of the tournament, as he came from behind to edge past Dutch youngster Jeffrey De Graaf in a 6-5 thriller.
Adrian Lewis and Dave Chisnall both safely progressed to the third round with 6-4 scorelines against John Bowles and Jermaine Wattimena respectively, whilst Benito van de Pas was dominant against Devon Petersen to secure his last 16 berth.
The German Darts Masters concludes on Easter Monday, with van Gerwen continuing his quest for glory against Kevin Painter, while Anderson faces Irishman O'Connor and two-time World Champion Lewis faces Richardson.
The third round draw for Monday afternoon's action is as follows:
Peter Wright v Cristo Reyes
Adrian Lewis v James Richardson
Ian White v Jelle Klaasen
Michael Smith v James Wilson
Joe Cullen v Benito van de Pas
William O'Connor v Gary Anderson
Dave Chisnall v Chris Dobey
Michael van Gerwen v Kevin Painter
The £115,000 tournament then concludes with the quarter-finals,semi-finals and final in Monday's evening session.