Jeffrey de Zwaan pulled off one of the biggest upsets in World Matchplay history as he dumped out top seed Michael van Gerwen with a 10-6 victory in Round One in Blackpool on Saturday.
De Zwaan, the world number 68 and lowest ranked player in the tournament, recorded his second scalp of MVG this season to subject the two-time champion to his first opening round exit at the Winter Gardens since 2009.
Van Gerwen entered the tournament on the back of Quarter-Final and Semi-Final defeats in the recent World Series events in Las Vegas and Shanghai and was again left to rue a number of costly missed doubles.
It appeared plain sailing for the world number one in the early stages as he took the first two legs with finishes of 81 and 84 and maintained a two-leg cushion at 3-1.
De Zwaan finished 79 and double 12 either side of the interval to level, and the Dutch duo remained inseparable at the second break as De Zwaan restored parity at five-all.
A 100 checkout from MVG was immediately countered by a brilliant 121 from the debutant, and after the reigning Premier League champion missed three darts at doubles in leg 13, De Zwaan swooped to move 7-6 in front.
The 22-year-old then landed double 19 and tops in successive legs to move one away from a historic win – which he duly sealed with a 14-darter on double 16.
“I really don’t believe it,” said a shell-shocked De Zwaan, who also defeated MVG in March’s UK Open. “I think I’m still dreaming!
“I played really well and the confidence was there. I know I beat him once and that was a confidence boost for me.
“At 5-5 I said to myself ‘keep pushing’ and you can see what happened.
“I always believe in myself, I said to myself ‘why can’t I beat Michael?’ I know I am good enough to do it.”
De Zwaan will now meet Adrian Lewis in Tuesday’s Second Round after the 2013 Matchplay finalist battled back from 7-3 down to edge out James Wilson 10-8.
The first four legs were shared before Lewis took out 100 on two double tops to move ahead, but only for Wilson to reply with five unanswered legs to storm clear.
An 82 finish inspired Lewis to clawing back three straight legs before missing three darts at doubles to allow Wilson back for double five to lead 8-6.
Lewis, however, dug deep to land double seven and double five to level the contest before taking out 70 and completing the comeback with a majestic 116 checkout.
“I haven’t been on TV for seven months so I thought I’d make my most of my time up there!” joked Lewis.
“I knew it was going to come eventually, it was just a case of the stage of the match I needed it most.
“I’ve been feeling the pressure in first round games all year so it’s a relief to get through and hopefully I can push on now.”
Dave Chisnall came from 3-1 down by rattling off nine of the last ten legs to comfortable see off Keegan Brown 10-4.
Brown began brightly with a 109 checkout in the first leg and went on to establish a 3-1 lead but back-to-back checkouts of 148 and 147 helped Chisnall turn the tide and go 4-3 ahead.
The St Helens ace continued his superb finishing with checkouts of 96 and 140 on the way to a 9-4 advantage before putting a frustrated Brown out of his misery with double four.
“My scoring was good besides the treble 20 so I had to play on the 19s and I was comfortable hitting them,” said Chisnall.
“I could’ve played all night but I know I’ve got to play a lot better,” he added.
Chisnall will now face Michael Smith in the Last 16 after the world number nine safely saw off Welsh debutant Jonny Clayton 10-6 in the final match of the night.
Smith landed six maximums and a high checkout of 106, averaging 97.4 on his way to an impressive victory over the Austrian Open champion.
Smith is bidding to follow up his recent Shanghai Masters success with a first major title and admitted: “I had to have a word with myself.”
“I kept letting him in, it was a bit of a struggle but I got there in the end.
“I felt like I was a bit dodgy but I’m glad to get over the line and I’m looking forward to Tuesday.”
BetVictor World Matchplay 2018 Results
Saturday July 21
Adrian Lewis 10-8 James Wilson
Dave Chisnall 10-4 Keegan Brown
Michael van Gerwen 6-10 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Michael Smith 10-6 Jonny Clayton