Peter Wright and Daryl Gurney were among those to impress at the Grand Slam of Darts on Monday, while Rob Cross fell over the winning line.
Cross fends off fightback
Rob Cross beat Jamie Hughes 5-4 in a dramatic winner-goes-through clash in Group E.
After Dave Chisnall's dominant 5-1 victory over Lisa Ashton confirmed his place atop the table, Cross and Hughes went to battle knowing the winner would join Chisnall in the knockout stages.
As Cross took out 108 to win the first leg and 80 to win the second, it appeared as though the former world champion would make light work of a dangerous opponent.
That feeling was only enhanced when Hughes missed five darts to the third leg, and while he finally found a double to get on the board, Cross dominated the fifth leg to go 4-1 in front.
Then the match turned as Cross missed four darts to close it out, before an 11-dart leg from Hughes got him to within one.
Double five came to the rescue for Hughes in leg eight as he forced a decider, but after starting it with a 180 he stuttered and allowed Cross to take control, eventually hitting double 10 to scrape through to a meeting with Peter Wright.
"I've not been sharp all through the group stage," conceded Cross, the number two seed.
"I got away with it again today, which is a blessing, but I know I've got to be much better than that. I can't keep switching off against capable players.
"Nothing has gone to plan this week, I'll be glad to see the back of that group stage and now I've got to improve on Wednesday or I'm going to lose."
Snakebite Wright on the money
Wright only required two legs to qualify from Group F as he headed to the oche, but left nothing to chance in a 5-2 victory over Danny Noppert.
Three missed darts at double cost Noppert the first leg as a sloppy Wright managed to steal it with a 92 finish, only to then have his throw broken immediately after two misses of his own.
An 11-dart leg then gave Noppert the lead before Wright finally sprang to life, finishes of 62 and 87 giving him a 4-2 lead before a 10-dart finish closed out the match.
"I thought 'if I lose the match, I'm out'," said Wright when asked how he approached things. "Danny's been on form, I knew it was going to be a tough game.
"I started off really slow, I was terrible - I do apologise everyone! (But) a nice 10-darter to finish off."
Defeat for Noppert placed him on the brink of elimination, which was confirmed when Ryan Harrington beat Wayne Warren 5-1 to finish second in the group.
World Cup team-mates clash
Daryl Gurney beat World Cup team-mate Brendan Dolan to follow Gabriel Clemens through in Group G.
Clemens had earlier made it three wins from three as he beat Richard Veenstra 5-2, which left Northern Irish duo Gurney and Dolan in a straight shootout for second.
At 2-2, the game was poised to go the distance, until Gurney followed a 101 finish with a stunning 161 to break the back of his opponent.
Gurney, who averaged 95.03 in a match which failed to produce a single 180, held throw to seal a 5-2 win after Dolan had missed two darts to keep his hopes alive.
Bully Boy gets out of jail free
Michael Smith came from 3-0 and 4-2 down to maintain his perfect record with a 5-4 defeat of Martin Schindler.
Smith was way below the levels of the weekend and averaged just 91.38 as he survived three match darts against an opponent who had let chances slip against Glen Durrant, too.
"I kept thinking to myself 'he was 4-2 up yesterday and managed to lose'," said Smith. "He could've been on two wins.
"I hate to lose. There's an added bonus, finishing top. I was trying to convince myself that I'm not through, it's all or nothing.
"Started to find the first dart and then luckily enough, I got there in the end."
Smith tops Group H, with second place going to Durrant after a surprising 5-0 victory over Nathan Aspinall.
Durrant didn't need to be anywhere near his best to beat Aspinall, who missed all six darts at double to tamely exit a competition expected to suit his style.
"I'm standing here disappointed with a 5-0 win over one of the best players in the world," said Durrant.
"An 86 average is nowhere near where I want to be, it's nowhere near the level I'm practicing at and I know I'm much better than that.
"For a lot of the game I was thinking 'maybe I should be out of the tournament already' but I've somehow made it through and now I've got to take my chance."
Grand Slam of Darts: Monday results & Tuesday schedule
Group Matches E-H (Best of 9 legs)
- Gabriel Clemens 5-2 Richard Veenstra (G)
- Michael Smith 5-4 Martin Schindler (H)
- Dave Chisnall 5-1 Lisa Ashton (E)
- Daryl Gurney 5-2 Brendan Dolan (G)
- Peter Wright 5-2 Danny Noppert (F)
- Ryan Harrington 5-1 Wayne Warren (F)
- Rob Cross 5-4 Jamie Hughes (E)
- Nathan Aspinall 0-5 Glen Durrant (H)
Tuesday November 12 (7pm)
TV Coverage: Sky Sports
Group Matches A-D (Best of 9 legs)
- Michael van Gerwen v Ross Smith (A)
- Wesley Harms v Ian White (B)
- Robert Thornton v Mikuru Suzuki (C)
- William O'Connor v Dave Parletti (D)
- Gary Anderson v Darren Webster (D)
- Steve Lennon v James Wade (B)
- Jim Williams v Adrian Lewis (A)
- Gerwyn Price v Dimitri Van den Bergh (C)
- (1) Michael van Gerwen P 2 W 2 L 0 LegDiff +6 Pts 4
- Jim Williams (BDO) P 2 W 1 L 1 LegDiff +1 Pts 2
- Adrian Lewis P 2 W 1 L 1 LegDiff 0 Pts 2
- Ross Smith P 2 W 0 L 2 LegDiff -7 Pts 0
- (8) James Wade P 2 W 2 L 0 LegDiff +4 Pts 4
- Ian White P 2 W 1 L 1 LegDiff +2 Pts 2
- Steve Lennon P 2 W 1 L 1 LegDiff -2 Pts 2
- Wesley Harms (BDO) P 2 W 0 L 2 LegDiff -4 Pts 0
- (5) Gerwyn Price P 2 W 2 L 0 LegDiff +3 Pts 4
- Dimitri Van den Bergh P 2 W 1 L 1 LegDiff +3 Pts 2
- Robert Thornton P 2 W 1 L 1 LegDiff 0 Pts 2
- Mikuru Suzuki (BDO) P 2 W 0 L 2 LegDiff -6 Pts 0
- (4) Gary Anderson P 2 W 2 L 0 LegDiff +6 Pts 4
- William O'Connor P 2 W 1 L 1 LegDiff 0 Pts 2
- Darren Webster P 2 W 1 L 1 LegDiff +1 Pts 2
- Dave Parletti (BDO) P 2 W 0 L 2 LegDiff -7 Pts 0
- Dave Chisnall (Q) P 3 W 2 L 0 LegDiff +8 Pts 6
- (2) Rob Cross (q) P 3 W 2 L 1 LegDiff +2 Pts 4
- Jamie Hughes P 3 W 1 L 2 LegDiff +1 Pts 2
- Lisa Ashton (BDO) P 3 W 0 L 3 LegDiff -11 Pts 0
- (7) Peter Wright (Q) P 3 W 3 L 0 LegDiff +9 Pts 6
- Ryan Harrington (q) P 3 W 2 L 1 LegDiff +2 Pts 4
- Danny Noppert P 3 W 1 L 2 LegDiff 0 Pts 2
- Wayne Warren (BDO) P 3 W 0 L 3 LegDiff -11 Pts 0
- Gabriel Clemens (Q) P 3 W 3 L 0 LegDiff +8 Pts 6
- (6) Daryl Gurney (q) P 3 W 2 L 1 LegDiff +7 Pts 4
- Brendan Dolan P 3 W 1 L 2 LegDiff -3 Pts 2
- Richard Veenstra (BDO) P 3 W 0 L 3 LegDiff -12 Pts 0
- (3) Michael Smith (Q) P 3 W 2 L 0 LegDiff +7 Pts 6
- Glen Durrant (BDO) * (q) P 3 W 2 L 1 LegDiff +4 Pts 4
- Nathan Aspinall P 3 W 1 L 2 LegDiff -4 Pts 2
- Martin Schindler P 3 W 0 L 3 LegDiff -7 Pts 0