Kevin Painter powered through to the last 16 of the Ladbrokes.com Professional Darts Corporation's World Championship at London's cavernous Alexandra Palace with a 4-0 win over Chris Mason.
On the first day of action after a two-day Christmas break, the 2004 runner-up was soon back into his stride. Mason known as Mace the Ace" led in each of the first three sets, but Painter hit back each time to move within sight of victory. Finishes of 112 and 125 then put him on the brink of victory and, after a brief rally by Mason, Painter soon closed out the contest, finishing with a three-dart average of 92.04.
"I like playing on the edge," said Painter, nicknamed the Artist, after his victory over an opponent who has twice reached the world semi-finals. "I am feeling confident and good about my game. I am used to getting hard draws and I am playing well."
The Welshman Barrie Bates edged out Erwin Extercatte, of the Netherlands, 4-3 to reach the third round for the first time in his career. Both players had their chances in a tight contest but it was Bates who emerged victorious after Extercatte took the match to a deciding set.
Also through to the last 16 round is Kirk Shepherd after a thriller against the Irishman Mick McGowan which had to be settled by a tie-break. McGowan missed four darts to win the match and eventually it was Shepherd who prevailed 4-3 after taking the final set 5-3.
Adrian Lewis, tipped by many as a future world champion, booked his place in the last 16 by seeing off Dutchman Vincent van der Voort 4-2 in a high-quality encounter.
Lewis threw a 10-darter to come from behind to take the first set and Van der Voort also led in the second before falling 2-0 behind. Van der Voort took the third and the pair then again traded sets for Lewis to lead 3-2.
The scores were locked at 2-2 in the sixth set, but the nerveless Lewis fired a brilliant 180 his seventh of the match to claim a decisive advantage.
Former world champion John Part eased through with a 4-1 win over German number one Mensur Suljovic, while James Wade also made progress, holding off a spirited comeback from Steve Beaton to win 4-3.