Michael van Gerwen says ‘it was a bit too easy’ after beginning World Matchplay defence with victory over Stephen Bunting

Michael van Gerwen described his 10-4 win against Stephen Bunting in the first round of the World Matchplay last night as ‘a bit too easy’.

The world number one and defending champion began his bid for a third successive triumph at the Winter Gardens in a dominant fashion, winning the opening seven legs without reply to take command of the first round contest.

Van Gerwen hit six 180s and sealed the win with a 160 checkout, which puts him through to a second round tie with Australia’s Simon Whitlock tomorrow night.

“It was a bit too easy,” van Gerwen said. “Stephen wasn’t confident and didn’t really play his game to be fair, he missed doubles and I played alright in the first two sessions.

“After that I was a bit sloppy but I still won the game and I did the right things at the right moment.

“I can look forward to the next round against Simon Whitlock now and I’m sure I’m going to play better.

“Simon’s playing well and had a couple of great wins earlier in the year with a couple of Pro Tour wins, but I’m the favourite and I hope I can also do the business.

“You need to grow in the tournament and my first round is out of the way now.”

Van Gerwen punished missed doubles from Bunting in three legs and landed back-to-back 13 darters at one stage as he took control, before the former BDO world champion claimed three of the next four to hit back.

However, van Gerwen then moved 9-3 up after landing double four and, after missing three match darts at double 19 as Bunting pinched a fourth leg, the top seed wrapped up the win in style with a 160 checkout.


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