Hunter's Simon Whitlock on fire in opening round of Melbourne Darts Masters

The stars shone bright and none brighter than Aussie legend Simon Whitlock on the opening night of the Melbourne Darts Masters on Friday.

Fists pumping and with a huge crowd cheering his name, Whitlock delivered an emphatic 6-1 thumping of fellow Aussie Kyle Anderson, averaging an outstanding 107.69.

Anderson bid to follow up last weekend's Auckland Darts Masters triumph with another victory was ended with a reminder Whitlock is still the number one Aussie.

This win was special, not only were the huge crowd firmly behind the man they call the Wizard his son and brother were also on the sidelines to watch.

After completing the post-match formalities Whitlock rushed off the stage to be embraced in a bear hug by his family.

"I'm over the moon. I wanted to beat Kyle after last week and revenge feels good,” Whiilock said.

"We all have our ups and downs but it's how you bounce back. I'm starting to win tournaments again and show everyone that I’ve still got it in me.

"Australian darts is booming and it’s so good to see. I'm a proud Aussie and I love this game, I'm so happy we're all playing well and putting Australian darts back on the map."

Simon Whitlock post match

Whitlock lay down a marker for his performance with a 122 finish in the opening leg, with Anderson taking out 71 to level only to see his rival hit three 14-darters in moving 5-1 up.

He then opened the seventh leg with two 180s, and though he was unable to complete a nine-darter he went on to take the leg in 12 darts to crown an impressive display.

Whitlock now faces James Wade, who punished 20 missed doubles from New Zealander Koha Kokiri before emerging with a 6-3 win from their clash in Melbourne.

Aussie young gun Corey Cadby claimed another big-name scalp by seeing off Raymond van Barneveld 6-4.

Reigning World Youth Champion Cadby enhanced his growing reputation by reaching last weekend's Auckland Darts Masters final, and began the new World Series of Darts event with another impressive display.

Five-time World Champion Van Barneveld shared the opening eight legs with the Tasmania-born youngster, who claimed a crucial break of throw in leg nine with a 13-darter.

Melbourne-based Cadby then closed out victory in style with a 12-darter, following up four 140s with an 81 finish to seal a memorable triumph in his home event at the Hisense Arena.

Cadby will now meet 16-time World Champion Phil Taylor in Saturday's quarter-finals, having won the last two meetings with the 57-year-old which included a semi-final triumph last weekend.

"I'm so happy, I can't believe it," said Cadby. "My heart is beating so fast, that felt so good!

"I can't wait to play Phil again. He's the best there’s ever been so it's going to be another great test for me."

Taylor overcame a stern test from New Zealand's Cody Harris before claiming a 6-3 win to open his bid for the title.

Harris took out a 126 finish as he shared six legs with the Stoke legend, but Taylor pulled away with back-to-back 14-darters before landing tops to seal the win.

"It's a good start for me and Cody played well, but I've got another tough test on Saturday," said Taylor. "Corey's got a big future and I've got to know him a bit better over the last couple of weeks, and he's a good bloke."

2017 Unibet Melbourne Darts Masters

First Round

Daryl Gurney 6-0 Dave Marland

Peter Wright 6-2 Rhys Mathewson

James Wade 6-3  Koha Kokiri

Michael Smith 6-3 David Platt

Phil Taylor 6-3 Cody Harris

Corey Cadby 6-4 Raymond van Barneveld

Gary Anderson 6-2 Justin Thompson

Simon Whitlock 6-1 Kyle Anderson

Quarter-Finals

Saturday, August 19 (7pm local time)

Peter Wright v Michael Smith

James Wade v Simon Whitlock

Corey Cadby v Phil Taylor

Gary Anderson v Daryl Gurney

Best of 19 legs

This story Whitlock smashes Anderson to progress to quarter-finals first appeared on The Maitland Mercury.