Gary Anderson and Raymond van Barneveld played out a World Matchplay thriller but it was the Flying Scotsman who triumphed 11-9 to reach the quarter-finals.
Neither legend of the sport have ever won this prestigious title and time isn't on their side to do so when you consider the growing number of young stars climbing the ranks.
Not least 22-year-old Jeffrey de Zwaan, who is a potential semi-finalist for Anderson in the top half of the draw having disposed of both Michael van Gerwen and Adrian Lewis on his tournament debut.
Barney was underdog heading into this eagerly-anticipated showdown but blasted out of the blocks with an explosive start to lead 4-0 and 5-1 thanks to an average of over 110 and ruthless finishing.
Anderson slowly began to reel him in as his average climbed into three figures and the Dutchman's dropped although Barney raised the roof with back-to-back bullseye finishes (his second and third of the match) from 130 and 122 to pull clear at 7-4.
This still wasn't enough to deflate the two-time world champion, who produced a trademark turbo to win four legs on the trot and move into the lead for the first time.
Back came the five-time world champion with successive legs to move two away from victory at 9-8 only for Anderson to respond yet again with another burst of three legs to seal a quarter-final meeting with Joe Cullen.
The Flying Scotsman remains clear favourite to win the World Matchplay and having recorded the highest average of the tournament so far of 104.17, it's hard to see him being stopped.
"It's not often I give it a big celebration but it felt good when I won that one," said Anderson. "When I was 5-1 behind I wasn't nervous at all, I was kicking myself that I was behind and I knew I could get back into it.
"I was playing with a new set of darts tonight and they felt good. Joe will be a tough game in the next round and I'll have to be ready to start well."
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Sky Bet's World Matchplay Odds
- Anderson - 6/4
- Cross - 4/1
- Wright - 6/1
- Chisnall, Wade, Suljovic - 12/1
- De Zwaan - 18/1
Dave Chisnall produced one of the great World Matchplay comebacks as he defeated Michael Smith from 7-1 down to reach the quarter-finals.
Chizzy looked dead and buried against Premier League runner-up Smith in the 'St Helens derby' but produced an astonishing run of taking 10 of the next 11 legs to triumph 11-8 at the Winter Gardens.
While Smith was being widely touted as a potential champion following a superb first half of the season, Chisnall headed to Blackpool without a quarter-final appearance in his last 11 TV majors while his disappointing 2017 also meant a four-year stint in the Premier League came to an end.
However, the Chizzy of old suddenly appeared - albeit after eight legs - as he averaged over 103, landed 10 maximums and also won back-to-back 12-dart legs with checkouts of 148 and 128 during his scintillating spell of play.
Smith could do nothing to stem the tide as Chisnall romped into the third round.
"It's unbelievable to win in that way," said Chisnall, who hit ten 180s and two ton-plus finishes. "I haven't played great darts for eight months and I started slowly again, and Michael took advantage.
"I've had a few good comebacks before but I had nothing to lose at 7-1 and my doubles started going in. It's nice to be in the quarter-finals but I want to push on from here.
"Not being in the Premier League was a kick up the backside but I've worked really hard leading up to this event and I feel good."
Next for Chisnall is a quarter-final clash with debutant Jeffrey De Zwaan, who added another former world champion to his list of victims after an 11-9 victory over Adrian Lewis.
De Zwaan caused a massive shock when beating Michael van Gerwen in the first round and while this was not quite in the same league, he still entered Tuesday's match as the clear underdog.
However, a sloppy start from Lewis opened the door and the tournament debutant strode through, leading 5-1 and 6-2, latterly thanks to a 104 checkout.
A run of high-quality legs thereafter saw Lewis edge to within two at 7-5, and when his opponent missed three match darts at 10-7 a comeback looked on the cards.
Lewis held throw with ease to pile the pressure on his 22-year-old opponent, but De Zwaan had all the answers as he took out 94 - including both double 18 and then double 20 - to continue his dream debut in Blackpool.
Lewis, who had missed bullseye to force overtime, could only stand back and applaud as De Zwaan caused another upset.
"I'm still in dreamland, I am so happy with this win," said the 22-year-old, who hit two ton-plus finishes. "I think it was a fantastic game, we both played well - Adrian is a great player so to beat him is a magnificent achievement.
"Hitting the 94 to win the match felt really great, I was very happy to see it go in.
"It is already a dream but I don't want it to end yet and I will give everything to beat Dave - I am scared of nobody and I just want to play like I can."
Earlier, Joe Cullen proved himself a serious danger with an 11-3 dismissal of fifth seed Daryl Gurney.
After only just coming through a tense opener against Steve West, Gurney was considered no certainly to beat Cullen and so it proved, as the Yorkshireman capped off a fine night with an 88 checkout to reach the third round.
Cullen was under pressure in the first first leg of the night but a 116 checkout saw him hold throw, and while Gurney drew level at 3-3 thanks to a neat 100 finish, that was as close as he would get.
The next eight legs all went to Cullen, just one of them requiring more than 15 darts as he averaged just a shade below 100 in a one-sided affair.
"I felt comfortable, Daryl wasn't himself but my job is to capitalise on his mistakes and that's what I did," said Cullen.
"Any player in the world would be happy to hit half their doubles, I need to up my scoring and I will hopefully do so in the next round.
"To be honest I'm disappointed that this is only my second televised ranking quarter-final, I feel I should've made a lot more but now I've got the chance to kick on now and do even better."
Cullen's victory was good news for followers of Chris Hammer's pre-tournament preview, our darts expert having sided with him to win his quarter - something he's one more victory away from doing - at 14/1.
Tuesday results & Wednesday schedule
Tuesday July 24
Second Round (best of 21 legs)
- Dave Chisnall 11-8 Michael Smith
- Daryl Gurney 3-11 Joe Cullen
- Jeffrey De Zwaan 11-9 Adrian Lewis
- Gary Anderson 11-9 Raymond van Barneveld
Wednesday July 25 (1900 BST)
Second Round (best of 21 legs)
TV Channel: Sky Sports
- Simon Whitlock v James Wade
- Mensur Suljovic v Ian White
- Rob Cross v Darren Webster
- Peter Wright v Kim Huybrechts