Damon Heta produced an inspired comeback to dump James Wade out of the Brisbane Darts Masters on Friday.
Heta fired a 164 finish to level at 5-5 having been 5-3 down, before holding his nerve to take the deciding leg in a shock 6-5 defeat for Wade.
The first four legs of the match were shared, before Wade made what looked to be a decisive move by breaking throw and then holding in 12 darts to move into a 4-2 lead.
After the next two legs went to throw, Wade was within one of the match but Heta responded in style to force a decider that stunning 164.
Both players started the final leg nervily but it was Heta, despite missing 27 darts at double during the match, who held firm to progress.
"I have put the hours in and I think the world is my oyster and I am just going to go for it," said Heta. "There’s no two ways about it, I consider myself a chance against anyone.
"At the moment I feel like I am playing well and I think there’s more to come."
Rob Cross almost suffered the same fate as Wade as he scraped past James Bailey 6-5 in a real thriller.
Cross trained 4-2 and 5-4 but levelled the match to force a decider, before firing in a throw of 177 to leave 110, which he finished to get out of jail.
In fairness to the former world champion, he produced some of the best darts of the session with five 180s and an average of 101.17 which would have been higher but for 21 missed darts at double.
When he really needed one, though, Cross found his range to break the heart of Bailey, who was waiting on 76 when the match-winning dart found its target.
There were no such problems for Michael van Gerwen, a 6-0 winner over Ben Robb.
This was by no means a return to peak form for van Gerwen, who has been below his best for much of 2019, but a proficient display on doubles limited his opponent to just one opportunity, which he failed to hit.
Van Gerwen hit just one maximum and averaged less than 95, but that was still 15 points more than his star-struck opponent who failed to offer up any kind of challenge.
Gary Anderson also cruised through, beating Corey Cadby 6-1 in a match many expected to be a good deal closer.
The two-time world champion averaged 101.68, thanks in part to missing just one dart at double, and was able to limit opportunities for his young opponent and will face Heta next.
In another of the more intriguing first-round ties on paper, Kyle Anderson bravely won a deciding leg to beat Peter Wright 6-5.
After Anderson had squandered a 3-0 lead, one earned with a 156 checkout, it looked as though Wright would make the Australian pay.
That certainly appeared the case as Wright took the lead for the first time at 5-4, Anderson having bust his score when throwing for the leg, but the world number 28 rallied and finished the job with an 86 checkout.
"That’s a great win for me tonight," said Anderson. "I started really well and nearly let it slip away but I kept focused and got the job done."
Next he'll face compatriot Simon Whitlock, a 6-1 winner against Brendon McCausland.
"Everyone knows what goes on between me and Simon and we will both be ready to put on another good game," added Anderson.
Earlier, Raymond van Barneveld threw a pair of maximums in a 6-2 victory over Haupai Puha, as did Daryl Gurney as he battled past Koha Kokiri 6-4.
Gurney was not at his best, missing 17 darts at double, but a 121 finish at least offered a glimpse into just how threatening he could be on Saturday when he faces van Gerwen.
Friday results & Saturday schedule
Friday August 9
First Round (Best of 11 legs)
TV Coverage: Delayed on ITV4 from 7pm BST
- Raymond van Barneveld 6-2 Haupai Puha
- Daryl Gurney 6-4 Koha Kokiri
- James Wade 5-6 Damon Heta
- Simon Whitlock 6-1 Brendon McCausland
- Rob Cross 6-5 James Bailey
- Michael van Gerwen 6-0 Ben Robb
- Gary Anderson 6-1 Corey Cadby
- Peter Wright 5-6 Kyle Anderson
Saturday August 10
Quarter-finals (Best of 15 legs)
TV Coverage: Delayed on ITV4 from 7pm BST
- Kyle Anderson v Simon Whitlock
- Damon Heta v Gary Anderson
- Rob Cross v Raymond van Barneveld
- Daryl Gurney v Michael van Gerwen
Semi-finals (Best of 15 legs)
- Two semi-finals
Final (Best of 15 legs)
- Winner SF 1 v Winner SF 2