Raymond van Barneveld got the better of Michael van Gerwen in a World Series quarter-final which set the stage perfectly for tonight's denouement.
Van Barneveld had led 3-1 thanks to an 11-dart leg but when van Gerwen rattled off five in succession, it appeared as though the world number one would cruise through to the last four.
His senior rival had other ideas, though, and having fought back to 7-7 with a 104 finish, went on to bravely capture the next two legs and move within one of a remarkable success.
Van Gerwen held courtesy of a brilliant 121 finish to keep his hopes alive, but missed four darts in the following leg before van Barneveld sealed a 10-8 success.
The winner averaged a tick under 100 - van Gerwen typically above 103.5 - and it was a checkout percentage of 77 which tipped the scales in favour of the veteran.
Earlier, Gerwyn Price continued his good form with a 10-7 victory over Simon Whitlock.
Price lost in the quarter-finals of last week's European Championship when stalling with the finish line in sight, but this was much more like it as he tossed in an 11-dart leg to complete an impressive success.
Whitlock, who made the final of the same event, threw six 180s but could not quite keep a handle on Price, who progresses to face Michael Smith following his 10-5 victory over Dave Chisnall.
Four 100+ checkouts made for a quality encounter between two heavy-scorers in Chisnall and Smith but it was the first five legs which ultimately decided the match, all having gone the way of the former world youth champion.
Chisnall hinted at a comeback but Smith held firm to advance to the last four.
Newly-crowned European champion James Wade kept alive his bid for back-to-back TV titles with a 10-5 success against Jamie Lewis and will face van Barneveld next.
Wade averaged just 94.4 despite hitting seven 180s yet Lewis was never able to threaten the upset having fallen behind early.
World Series of Darts: Results & Schedule
Friday November 2
First Round (Best of 11 legs)
- Raymond Smith 6-3 Keegan Brown
- Maik Langendorf 5-6 Damon Heta
- Ian White 4-6 Kyle Anderson
- Dave Chisnall 6-1 Max Hopp
- Jamie Lewis 6-2 Dimitri Van den Bergh
- Gerwyn Price 6-1 Royden Lam
- Steve Beaton 0-6 Daryl Gurney
- Ross Smith 3-6 James Wade
Saturday November 4
Second Round (Best of 11 legs)
- Michael Smith 6-3 Kyle Anderson
- Raymond van Barneveld 6-5 Raymond Smith
- Gary Anderson 5-6 Dave Chisnall
- Peter Wright 1-6 Gerwyn Price
- Simon Whitlock 6-5 Daryl Gurney
- Rob Cross 5-6 Jamie Lewis
- Mensur Suljovic 3-6 James Wade
- Michael van Gerwen 6-0 Damon Heta
Sunday November 5
Quarter-Finals (Best of 19 legs)
- Gerwyn Price 10-7 Simon Whitlock
- Michael Smith 10-5 Dave Chisnall
- Jamie Lewis 5-10 James Wade
- Raymond van Barneveld 10-8 Michael van Gerwen
Evening session (1900 GMT)
Semi-Finals (Best of 21 legs)
TV Channel: ITV4
- Gerwyn Price v Michael Smith
- James Wade v Raymond van Barneveld
Final (Best of 21 legs)
TV Channel: ITV4
- Winner SF 1 v Winner SF 2