James Wade produced a sensational performance to defeat Robert Thornton in Nottingham on Thursday evening.
‘The Machine’ briefly went top of the table with the 7-1 triumph as he posted an average of 105.73 – his third consecutive average of over 100.
Wade, the PDC’s second most successful player, also took out two terrific 121 finishes en route to victory.
“I felt really good up there and it showed in my performance,” said Wade, the seven-time major winner.
“I keep saying it but the practise is really making all the difference and I feel that there’s more to come.
“In fact I know there is. I’m working harder than ever on my game.
“It doesn’t feel great to beat Robert so heavily because he is a lovely man and a brilliant dart player but that’s what I have to do.
“I’m delighted with the start I’ve made.”
Both players started well with Wade holding his throw in the opening leg thanks to a clinical checkout of 81.
Thornton just missed double top for a 135, allowing ‘The Machine’ to nick the second leg with another sharp finish, this time 72.
Wade hit double ten to move into a three nil lead before going off with a 180 in the following leg, as he grabbed another break of throw with a fine finish of 85.
Thornton responded with his first maximum but Wade increased his lead to five legs when he bedded double top.
The Aldershot ace then produced a moment of brilliance with a fabulous 121 checkout, before Thornton got a leg off the mark with a break of throw.
But ‘The Machine’ hit back with his second 180 before finishing the job in spectacular style with another superb 121 checkout.
Wade takes on Simon Whitlock in Manchester next week.
By Chris Murphy