Kim Huybrechts finally made the second round of the World Matchplay - but only after surviving a scare to beat John Henderson 13-12.
The Belgian had failed to win a match in six previous appearances in the event and looked to be heading for the exit door when Henderson broke to lead 9-8, only for a 12-dart leg from Huybrechts to turn the game on its head once more.
Having led 3-0 and 6-2 thanks in part to stunning finishes of 128 and 156, Huybrechts was in command from the word go but Henderson pegged him back by taking out 114, 104, 96 and 81.
But after failing to finish off his opponent when leading 9-8 and then missing a dart for a 115 checkout and another break of throw in the following leg, Henderson was back on the defensive and needed all of his resolve to hit double 17 and then double 20 to avoid defeat.
At 11-11, Huybrechts found the bullseye for a 121 finish but Henderson again held his nerve to hit double 19 in the following leg, sending the match into a sudden-death decider in which Huybrechts threw first.
After missing darts at double 16 for the match, Huybrechts could only watch on as Henderson missed double 20, allowing the Belgian to return and finally find double eight to survive a scare and advance to round two.
"Over the moon," said Huybrechts when asked to sum up his emotions. "I was cruising, but all of a sudden Hendo started playing like he can.
"It's really, really difficult; the pressure is really high."
Huybrechts will next meet Peter Wright, who nailed a 170 checkout en route to brushing aside Jelle Klaasen 10-5 later in the night.
Snakebite was always in control of the match as he opened up a 6-1 lead but laboured towards the finish line as his Dutch opponent showed some sign of resistance.
With both players averaging under 90, the poor clash was lit up by Wright's 170 which put him 9-4 up and it wasn't long before victory was complete.
"I wanted to play a lot better than I did tonight," said Wright, the 13/2 third favourite with Sky Bet.
"Ideally I would've produced a ton-plus average but there's a long way to go in the tournament and I'm confident I will beat Kim in the next round."
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Sky Bet's World Matchplay Odds
- Anderson - 3/1
- Cross - 4/1
- Wright - 13/2
- Smith - 10/1
- Lewis - 11/1
The second match on the oche was far less dramatic, as Simon Whitlock outclassed friend Richard North to win 10-2.
It took North until the ninth leg to so much as earn a shot at double, and to his credit the Scot took it to ensure he would avoid a whitewash.
North went on to reduce the deficit further at 8-2 but the match was already beyond his reach, and Whitlock returned to the stage to complete the job.
"Richard is a fantastic dart player, a lot better than he showed tonight," said Whitlock.
"It's never easy playing a friend but I felt relaxed during the match and I'm happy to make it through."
Next for the Wizard is James Wade, after he edged past Jermaine Wattimena with a 12-10 victory.
Wade was unusually profligate throughout the match and trailed 4-2 early on, but a 13-dart hold followed by a brilliant 124 checkout on double 11 saw him move into the lead at 6-4.
Wattimena fired in three 140s in succession to reduce the deficit before Wade won the next two, but the Dutchman kept asking questions and a classy 104 finish saw him get back on throw at 9-8.
After Wade missed a dart for the match, Wattimena levelled the scores before the pair traded blows on throw, Wade taking the lead in 14 darts, Wattimena responding in just 13 and Wade again moving back in front thanks to 14 more.
Trailing 11-10, Wattimena found himself in real trouble on throw and while Wade missed double 18 for a 113 checkout and the match, he was back to hit double 18 at the second attempt and seal a 12-10 success.
Wade, the only former champion left in the tournament, said: "That was a very frustrating game for me, I thought I was going to play a lot better than that.
"I just wanted to go up there and play well and not get involved in a scrap because it's never nice. I was nervous and anxious to get over the finishing line which, thankfully, I did in the end but I will need to play a lot better than that."
Monday results & Tuesday schedule
Monday July 23
First Round (best of 19 legs)
- Kim Huybrechts 13-12 John Henderson
- Simon Whitlock 10-2 Richard North
- James Wade 12-10 Jermaine Wattimena
- Peter Wright 10-5 Jelle Klaasen
Tuesday July 24 (1900 BST)
Second Round (best of 21 legs)
TV Channel: Sky Sports
- Dave Chisnall v Michael Smith
- Daryl Gurney v Joe Cullen
- Jeffrey De Zwaan v Adrian Lewis
- Gary Anderson v Raymond van Barneveld