Paul Nicholson produced a display of real quality to defeat Alan Tabern in straight sets in the second round of the Ladbrokes World Championship.
The bad boy of darts inflicted relentless punishment on his opponent by consistently outscoring The Saint and dropped just three legs as he reached the last 16 at the Alexandra Palace.
Nicholson made a strong start, hitting his first 180 in the opening leg, which he went on to win by hitting double sixteen at the first time of asking. He then hit double eight to secure an early break of throw before holding his throw to take the first set in no time at all.
The Asset showed no sign of letting up and broke the Tabern throw immediately in the second set. He then took out a neat 106 finish to win a fifth consecutive leg before breaking again to take a two set lead.
Nicholson hit his second maximum in the first leg of set three, but Tabern found double four to get himself off the mark. The Asset replied by taking out 80 in two darts to break his opponent back and regain control of the set. The Australian then hit double nine to hold before The Saint levelled the set. Nicholson produced another maximum in the deciding leg before hitting double four to increase his lead to three sets.
Nicholson took out 48 to grab another break of throw in the opening leg of the fourth set before a fantastic 112 checkout left him within a leg of victory. The Asset started the next leg with another 180 but Tabern prolonged the inevitable by holding his throw for just the second time. Nicholson wasted no time in finishing the job, hammering in a fifth maximum before hitting double 16 to book his place in round three.
Nicholson will play Kim Huybrechts on Thursday.
By Chris Murphy