Raymond van Barneveld thrilled the Amsterdam crowd at the World Series of Darts Finals as Michael van Gerwen extended his unbeaten run against Gerwyn Price.
Playing in his last televised tournament in front of his home crowd before retirement after the 2020 World Championship, Barney ensured his final goodbye would come on Sunday as he rolled back the years to defeat Jermaine Wattimena.
The fans at the AFAS Live were always going to be almost unanimously in his favour despite playing a fellow Dutchman and he didn't let them down as he averaged 101.7 and made a high finish of 128 during a 6-4 victory that sees him reach the quarter-finals.
The five-time world champion, now 52, said: “I feel so relaxed, the crowd were incredible. Can I win tomorrow? I believe so but we will have to wait and see. That was a good performance but it’s tough to play against Jermaine because we both want to do well for Holland.
"I just want to say thank you to everyone for all of their support and I’m looking forward to playing again for them.”
Barney will next meet Dave Chisnall, who will fancy his chances of lifting a maiden televised title on Sunday after ousting European champion Rob Cross 6-4 in the final match of the night.
Chizzy may not have been at his very best against a rather lacklustre Voltage but he still averaged 94.99 and finished the job with a superb 11-darter.
Earlier, the partisan atmosphere also helped spur van Gerwen on in a 6-5 comeback triumph over a fired up Price, who was looking to end his frustratingly long winless record against him at the 19th attempt.
It looked he had to battle back from 3-1 and 4-2 down against the fired up Welshman, who was looking to end his frustratingly long winless record against him at the 19th attempt.
Of their 18 previous meetings, the best he'd managed is a draw during the 2019 Premier League - in which he missed two match darts - while this was their fifth successive encounter this season that had gone to a deciding leg.
But just like the previous four, including their unforgettable Champions League semi-finals two weeks ago, Price lost it as the world champion completed his comeback from 3-1 and 4-2 to advance to the last eight and keep alive his hopes of regaining the trophy he's won on three of the previous four stagings.
Van Gerwen's average of 101.11 was also the fifth time he'd recorded a three-figure mark in those five previous meetings with the 2018 Grand Slam of Darts winner, who never seems to catch him on a bad day.
The result also sees MVG bounce back from last weekend's shock first-round defeat to Ross Smith at the European Championship and will now be supremely confident of adding to his tally of 12 titles this season, which include the televised Masters, Premier League, Melbourne Masters, New Zealand Masters, World Grand Prix and Champions League.
“That was a good game but I am pleased with how I played. I did the right things at the right moments so I am happy,” said MVG. "Gerwyn is playing well at the moment but I don’t care about that as long as I am still the best.
"The crowd were amazing and there might not be as many people as in Rotterdam but they are just as loud, I’m really pleased to win for them.”
He will next meet another Welshman in Jonny Clayton after the Ferret ended James Wade's hopes of retaining the title he won so dramatically against Michael Smith 12 months ago.
The Machine's 6-5 defeat, despite averaging around five points higher with 98, means he bows out to Clayton at the first hurdle as a defending champion for the second week running having suffered the same fate at the European Championship.
Clayton, who thrashed Wade 6-0 last week, trailed 3-1 and 5-3 on this occasion before claiming a dramatic win.
"My confidence is coming back and I’m winning tight matches which I wasn’t doing before,” said Clayton. "I had to work hard tonight and stick in there because James was playing well, so I’m happy to get the win.”
Danny Noppert claimed arguably the most eye-catching result of the night as he thrashed Gary Anderson 6-1 although this was predominantly down to the Flying Scotsman averaging just 71.05 in one of the worst displays he's produced on TV.
The Dutchman will next meet Ian White in a battle between two players yet to win a TV major after Diamond caused a mini shock with a 6-2 triumph over the in-form Peter Wright, averaging 96.26 and hitting over 50% of his doubles.
“I’m really enjoying myself at the moment and know I’m getting closer," said White. "I’ve got the best job in the world and I’m loving every minute of it, so why can’t I win this tomorrow?”
Elsewhere Krzysztof Ratajski defeated Daryl Gurney 6-4 to set up a clash with Mensur Suljovic, who battled past Damon Heta 6-3 in a rather lethargic clash.
Saturday Results & Sunday schedule
Saturday November 2 (1900 GMT)
Second Round (Best of 11 legs)
TV Channel: ITV4
- James Wade 5-6 Jonny Clayton
- Damon Heta 3-6 Mensur Suljovic
- Daryl Gurney 4-6 Krzysztof Ratajski
- Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Gerwyn Price
- Peter Wright 2-6 Ian White
- Gary Anderson 1-6 Danny Noppert
- Raymond van Barneveld 6-4 Jermaine Wattimena
- Rob Cross 4-6 Dave Chisnall
Sunday November 3
Afternoon session (1300 GMT)
Quarter-Finals (Best of 19 legs)
TV Channel: ITV4
- Mensur Suljovic v Krzysztof Ratajski
- Michael van Gerwen v Jonny Clayton
- Ian White v Danny Noppert
- Raymond van Barneveld v Dave Chisnall
Evening session (1900 GMT)
Semi-Finals (Best of 21 legs)
TV Channel: ITV4
- Two matches
Final (Best of 21 legs)
TV Channel: ITV4
- Winner SF 1 v Winner SF 2