Number-one seed Michael Van Gerwen shrugged off a pre-match soaking to start his quest for a third World Darts Championship title with a 3-1 victory over Alan Tabern.

The Dutchman's walk-on was delayed as he was forced backstage to change his shirt after a fan - who is now banned from darts events for life - showered him in beer on the third night at Alexandra Palace.

Van Gerwen appeared visibly upset when he eventually made it to the oche some minutes later, but he did not let the unsavoury incident affect his performance by moving two sets ahead.

Tabern refused to buckle, though, pulling a set back and taking the fourth to a deciding leg, yet Van Gerwen finally got the job done with an 11-darter.

The 29-year-old, who won the tournament in 2014 and 2017, averaged 102.59, threw four maximums and had a checkout percentage of 55.

"Some form of drink hit my neck, together with the security guard," Van Gerwen told Sky Sports.

"I have never had this before in my life. I didn't know how to react, I was so angry. But what can I do, I can't do anything.

"The only thing I could do is change my shirt and wash my hands. It was quite difficult. I was quite emotional because I thought what happens here.

"But I am glad I won this game, I didn't play too bad, it was OK. Every player can learn from me because I never make excuses, I never blame anything else."

Van Gerwen, watched by Tottenham and England footballers Kieran Trippier and Danny Rose, will play Max Hopp next up.

Hopp reached the third round for the first time with a whitewash of Danny Noppert.

The German took advantage of some poor finishing from Noppert, who averaged 97 but hit only three of 22 doubles.

Richard North will now play Steve West after snatching victory from the jaws of defeat against Robert Marijanovic.

The 28-year-old came back from two sets behind and 2-1 down in the third to win 3-2, hitting 10 maximums in the process.

Toni Alcinas' reward for dropping only one leg in a 3-0 triumph over Craig Ross is a clash with Peter Wright.
Ryan Searle and Keegan Brown did not lose a set in wins over Stephen Burton and Karel Sedlacek respectively, setting up second-round ties with Mensur Suljovic and Jelle Klaasen.

Canadian Jim Long had a debut to remember, beating Tyrone man Mickey Mansell 3-1 to secure a showdown with Benito Van De Pas, while Josh Payne will face Dave Chisnall after holding on to see off Jeff Smith 3-2. 152301 DEC