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Taylor in Action on Opening Day of PDC World Championships

Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor will begin the defence of his PDC World Championship title on the opening night of the event at Alexandra Palace this Thursday evening.

After a string of disappointing results the vultures are circling around 15-time World Champion Taylor. Recent defeats to Adrian Lewis, Steve Beaton and a clutch of others mean that the man dubbed the world’s greatest ever player is looking vulnerable as we head into the 2011 PDC World Championships.

Taylor will play the winner of the Gary Mawson versus Juanito Gionzon qualifier. With the American Mawson favoured by the bookmakers at long odds-on prices to be The Power’s first hurdle in his attempt to claim an unprecedented 16th world title.

But the world number one isn’t the only world champion in action on day one. 2008 Lakeside World Champion Mark Webster also begins his campaign as he looks to improve on last year’s third place finish in the event. His first round opponent is 47-year-old Steve Maish and the bookmakers are predicting a comfortable victory for Webster who is 1/6 to progress.

Another who will fancy his chances of going far in the tournament is the 2010 Players Champion Paul Nicholson. The Aussie-Geordie burst onto the PDC scene with an impressive run to the quarter-finals of the event in 2009 and looked in good nick at the recent PDC World Cup.

He faces Steve Farmer, a relative journeyman of the sport, in the opening round this Thursday night. Nicholson will tell anyone who cares to listen that he believes he is capable of winning this event, but at odds of 100/1 the bookmakers still need some convincing.

This Thursday marks the beginning of one of the most open PDC World Championships in recent memory. Can anyone capitalise on the uncharacteristic frailties that Taylor has shown over the past two months?

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