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Paul Nicholson, Kevin Painter, Robert Thornton advance

World championship contenders Kevin Painter, Robert Thornton and Paul Nicholson all progress with minimal fuss on the opening night of the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace.

Paul Nicholson, Robert Thornton and Kevin Painter all advanced on a busy opening night of action in the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace.

Kevin Painter in action at the World Darts Championship on December 14, 2012© PA Photos

Thornton got the first round underway and progressed with minimal fuss as he dispatched Magnus Caris in straight sets.

'The Thorn' recorded an average of 99 and dropped just one leg against the experienced Swede to send out an early message to his tournament rivals.

Nicholson was next up and thumped an out-of-sorts Co Stompe 3-0 to book his place in the last 32.

Painter finished the night with a comfortable 3-0 win over qualifier Leung Chun Nam.

Reigning world champion Adrian Lewis also survived a scare to ease past Dutch youngster Gino Vos and make a successful start to his title defence.

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