Defending champion Gerwyn Price survived a scare to come from behind and beat Ritchie Edhouse 3-1 to move into the third round of the William Hill World Championship at Alexandra Palace
The Welshman had won the title with victory over Gary Anderson in the 2021 final, which was played behind closed doors in January.
The walkout proved a somewhat frosty reception for the Iceman from the crowd, back at the Palace for the first time in almost two years.
Edhouse – who earlier edged out Peter Hudson 3-2 in the opening match of the tournament – swiftly turned up the heat on Price, whose finishing was off target as he lost the first set 3-0.
Price levelled by edging the second on a deciding leg, and then took out 130 to claim the third set and move ahead in the match.
The world champion continued his momentum, moving 2-0 ahead in the fourth set and went on to secure what was in the end a comfortable victory with a sixth straight leg.
Gerwyn Price had been given a frosty reception by the crowd at Alexandra Palace (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
Price – who will now not play again until after Christmas, when he could meet Fallon Sherrock – said on Sky Sports: “I don’t know about a scare, but I let myself down in the first set, missed doubles and put myself under pressure.
“The two 130 shots out sort of won me the game, and I think I played particularly well in the latter stages after slipping up earlier.”
On the reception from the crowd, Price said: “They are definitely back. I hope these (Covid restriction) rules change over the next couple of weeks and I can go win this again.
“It was good today and as long as the other player is still in the game, that is the way the crowd is going to be.
“I need to be more clinical, ruthless and take my chances, just shut them out of the game.”
Adrian Lewis booked his place in round two at Alexandra Palace (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
Elsewhere on Wednesday night, former two-time world champion Adrian Lewis also came from a set down to beat Canada’s Matt Campbell 3-1 and book a second-round showdown with Anderson.
After Campbell, nicknamed the Ginja Ninja, had taken the opening set, ‘Jackpot’ Lewis rattled off three straight legs to level the match.
Lewis, world champion in 2011 and 2012, then broke throw to take the third set and landed two more 180s as he claimed the fourth set on a deciding leg.
Ricky Evans coasted past Indian qualifier Nitin Kumar, landing checkouts of 167 and 130 as well as four maximums in a 3-0 victory to book his place in round two.
Earlier, Edhouse had secured his shot at Price after beating Hudson 3-2.
Hudson had replaced Lihao Wen in the main draw, after the PDC China champion was forced to pull out on the eve of the tournament because of a delay in receiving his visa.