Phil Taylor began his bid for a third successive Speedy Hire UK Open title with a 9-3 win over Mark Frost at the Reebok Stadium on Friday night, but World Champion Adrian Lewis crashed out to Terry Jenkins in Bolton
Taylor, who has won the title in the Premier Suite at the Reebok Stadium for the past two years, bounced back from his recent semi-final loss in the 888.com Premier League Darts with a strong showing in his all-Stoke battle.
Frost matched Taylor for the first four legs, but the world number one pulled clear with five in a row - including a key 140 finish - before securing a 9-3 triumph with a 98 average.
"I'm not the player I was a year ago when I won this event but it's coming back and I will get there," said Taylor. "This is an exciting tournament and I love coming to Bolton.
"It's one of the toughest tournaments to win too, and the important thing is I'm into the fourth round on Saturday now and can prepare for that."
Taylor will face long-time foe Dennis Priestley in the fourth round, after the 60-year-old ground out a narrow 9-7 win over Alan Tabern earlier on Friday.
There was disappointment, though, for World Champion Adrian Lewis, who went down 9-7 to a fine Terry Jenkins performance.
Jenkins led 4-1 and 7-4 - hitting a ten-darter along the way - before Lewis missed three darts to win a key 12th leg, with Jenkins moving 8-4 up and although the Stoke ace took the next three it was the Ledbury man who prevailed.
"Adrian gave me a few chances and I took them, but I kept my nerve when he came back strongly," said Jenkins. "It's always great to defeat Adrian and especially as he is World Champion, but I've got to move on and focus on my next game now."
Jenkins' next game will see him face 2008 winner James Wade, who had to win two games on Thursday just to win through to the last 64 before seeing off fellow left-hander Michael Mansell 9-2.
Two-time winner Raymond van Barneveld, the 2006 and 2007 UK Open champion, suffered a scare early on against Bristol's Steve Brown when he trailed 3-2, but eventually came through to win 9-5 in his bid for a third Bolton victory.
Gary Anderson, the recent Premier League champion who also reached last year's UK Open, began his challenge with a confident win over Stoke's Ian White.
Anderson led 5-0 early on and although White pulled back four legs the Scot had too much in progressing to the last 32, where he meets Paul Nicholson for the second successive year, with the latter defeating Graham Hollis 9-3 in his opener.
Australian Simon Whitlock was knocked out with a 9-7 loss to Co Stompe, who now plays Welsh star Mark Webster in the fourth round.
Stompe is joined by another Dutchman in the last 32, after Michael van Gerwen defeated Richie Howson 9-2 before being drawn with in-form Wes Newton, who was a 9-3 winner against John Henderson.
Four of the ten Rileys Qualifiers who had reached the last 64 will compete in Saturday's fourth round.
Andrew Gilding defeated Andy Hamilton and local favourite Joe Murnan saw off Mark Dudbridge 9-8, while John Bowles and Andy Boulton produced stirring comebacks to defeat Justin Pipe and Vincent van der Voort respectively.
Murnan will now meet Welshman Richie Burnett, who avoided a strong fightback from Colin Lloyd to progress 9-7, after the Essex ace hit back from 8-3 to 8-7 before missing a dart to force a deciding leg in their contest.
Widnes' Bowles has drawn former World Champion Steve Beaton, Boulton plays Daventry newcomer Matthew Edgar and Suffolk's Gilding faces Mark Hylton.
Mark Walsh, who knocked out Mervyn King, will play last year's semi-finalist Denis Ovens, resurgent pair Robert Thornton and John Part clash and Ronnie Baxter faces Dave Chisnall, who defeated Richard North 9-2 on his Bolton debut.
Hull youngster Reece Robinson followed up Thursday's wins over Barrie Bates and Wayne Mardle with a defeat of Wayne Jones, and now plays Andy Smith in the last 32.
Colin Osborne, the 2009 UK Open runner-up, will take on former World Championsihp finalist Kirk Shepherd in another tasty contest and Peter Wright plays Joe Cullen, who edged an all-Yorkshire affair with Rileys Qualifier Stuart Monaghan 9-8.
Speedy Hire UK Open - Third Round
Co Stompe 9-7 Simon Whitlock
Raymond van Barneveld 9-5 Steve Brown
Phil Taylor 9-3 Mark Frost
Terry Jenkins 9-7 Adrian Lewis
Richie Burnett 9-7 Colin Lloyd
Mark Walsh 9-5 Mervyn King
Gary Anderson 9-4 Ian White
John Part 9-2 Roland Scholten
Kirk Shepherd 9-6 Darren Johnson
Dave Chisnall 9-2 Richard North
John Bowles 9-7 Justin Pipe
Robert Thornton 9-6 Wayne Atwood
Andrew Gilding 9-6 Andy Hamilton
Mark Hylton 9-0 Andy Jenkins
Wes Newton 9-3 John Henderson
Colin Osborne 9-4 Mark Jones
Michael Smith 9-2 Sam Hill
Denis Ovens 9-4 Kevin Painter
Andy Boulton 9-7 Vincent van der Voort
Joe Murnan 9-8 Mark Dudbridge
Reece Robinson 9-8 Wayne Jones
Joe Cullen 9-8 Stuart Monaghan
Dennis Priestley 9-7 Alan Tabern
Matthew Edgar 9-6 Martyn Turner
Mark Webster 9-5 Tony Eccles
James Wade 9-2 Michael Mansell
Michael van Gerwen 9-2 Richie Howson
Steve Beaton 9-2 Jamie Caven
Ronnie Baxter 9-6 Steve Maish
Peter Wright 9-1 Peter Hudson
Paul Nicholson 9-3 Graham Hollis
Andy Smith 9-4 Paul Harvey
Fourth Round Draw & Schedule of Play
All games the best of 17 legs
Paul Nicholson v Gary Anderson
Dennis Priestley v Phil Taylor
Terry Jenkins v James Wade
Dave Chisnall v Ronnie Baxter
Michael van Gerwen v Wes Newton
Andy Smith v Reece Robinson
Michael Smith v Raymond van Barneveld
Mark Webster v Co Stompe
Richie Burnett v Joe Murnan
Denis Ovens v Mark Walsh
Robert Thornton v John Part
Colin Osborne v Kirk Shepherd
Matthew Edgar v Andy Boulton
Mark Hylton v Andrew Gilding
Steve Beaton v John Bowles
Joe Cullen v Peter Wright