Michael van Gerwen fought back from 6-4 down to beat Ian White 10-7 at the Grand Slam of Darts, where Adrian Lewis and James Wade produced an epic.
Mighty Mike makes White pay
Michael van Gerwen made Ian White pay for his profligacy as he won 10-7 to book a quarter-final place in the Grand Slam of Darts.
Beating van Gerwen is the hardest single challenge in darts, but White scored well enough to do so here, only to be let down by his doubling as the pressure increased.
White was 3-1 down early, but checkouts of 143 and 110 saw him turn that into a 4-3 advantage and he maintained his two-leg cushion with a 6-4 lead at the interval.
Van Gerwen returned from it with a maximum - one of nine in the match - to get back within one, but it was the 12th leg which proved so pivotal, White missing seven darts at double, allowing van Gerwen to escape with four misses of his own and the scores all-square.
The next two legs were shared, but then van Gerwen upped the tempo with back-to-back 11-dart legs for a 9-7 lead, before more misses from White saw the Dutchman close out an ultimately cosy success.
Van Gerwen was not at his best, but still averaged 102.43 despite 19 missed darts at double - evidence of his scoring power, but also the vulnerability which, for so long, 'Diamond' looked capable of capitalising on.
Instead, his own failures on doubles - White missed 22 attempts in total - proved the difference as van Gerwen progressed.
Lewis and Wade roll back the years
Next for van Gerwen will be a quarter-final clash with Adrian Lewis, who came from 9-6 behind to beat James Wade 10-9 in a match which evoked memories of their World Championship semi-final in 2012.
Just as was the case then, Lewis was on the ropes and taking a beating until finding a change of gear, successive 12-dart legs getting him to within one, double 16 levelling the scores after Wade had missed bullseye for the match, and then a 110 checkout enough to complete the comeback.
It was hard on Wade, who had been so clinical throughout the early stages of the match, regularly stealing legs with the sort of two- and three-dart combination shots which he's long been known for.
Wade had taken out 161 to draw level at 4-4, and when bullseye went in again for an 88 finish and a 6-4 lead, he was firmly in the ascendancy.
A 13-dart leg upon resumption gave the left-hander breathing room and he again led by three at 8-5, before Lewis conjured a spell of fluency and accuracy which explains why he's a two-time world champion while highlighting, perhaps, why Wade is not.
Price v Anderson II
While the top half of the draw provided much of Thursday night's drama, the bottom half may return the favour when Gerwyn Price and Gary Anderson renew rivalries in the quarter-finals on Saturday.
It was in the final of this event last year that tensions boiled over between the two as Price went on to collect the biggest title of his career, and he'll fancy his chances of reaching the final again after a 10-1 defeat of Darren Webster.
This was Price at his clinical best, barely giving his opponent a look-in, with Webster only missing two darts at double - and one of those was in the only leg he went on to win.
Finishes of 54, 74 and 76 put Price into a 3-0 lead which became 4-0 when he hit tops, and it was tops again for 5-0 before Webster got on the board with a 97 checkout.
Any hope of a comeback was ended by another smart 76, and then Price improved again to take out 87 for a 12-dart leg.
Another predatory finish - this time 72 - put the Welshman within one, and he wrapped up the match on his favoured double 20 with Webster unable to get close at any stage.
Anderson put in a mixed display against Robert Thornton, eventually winning 10-8 having needed six match darts before finally falling over the line.
Thornton actually led 4-1 after back-to-back finishes of 100 and 117, but Anderson drew level at 4-4 when he took out 120 and was 6-4 in front at the break.
From there, the former world champion was able to dictate matters, with Thornton missing bullseye to force a decider as Anderson scraped through to a showdown with his old enemy.
Thursday November 14 (7pm)
TV Coverage: Sky Sports
Second Round (Best of 19 legs)
- James Wade 9-10 Adrian Lewis
- Gerwyn Price 10-1 Darren Webster
- Michael van Gerwen 10-7 Ian White
- Gary Anderson 10-8 Robert Thornton
Friday November 15 (7pm)
TV Coverage: Sky Sports
Quarter-finals (Best of 31 legs)
- Glen Durrant v Michael Smith
- Dave Chisnall v Peter Wright