Michael van Gerwen fought back from 4-2 down to edge out Gerwyn Price in a deciding leg in Round Two of the 2019 World Series Finals on Saturday, while Raymond van Barneveld began his Amsterdam farewell in style.
Van Gerwen, the three-time World Series Finals champion, extended his unbeaten record against Price to 19 games as he denied the Welshman in a last-leg decider for the fifth match in a row.
Price looked on course to tear up the script at the AFAS Live as he established a 4-2 lead, but only for MVG to reel off the next three legs with a 127 checkout along the way, to hit the front.
Price recovered with a sensational 129 checkout on the bull to force a decider, but it was a familiar story as the world number one took out 74 to clinch a close-run victory.
“That was a good game and I’m pleased with how I played,” said Van Gerwen.
“Gerwyn is a phenomenal player but he keeps thinking about other stuff than darts, like pulling his socks up and talking next to me.
“He shouldn’t do that because he’s much better than that and doesn’t need stuff like that, it’s unfortunate.
“He is playing well at the moment but I don’t care about that as long as I am still the best.”
The world number one will now face Jonny Clayton in Sunday’s Quarter-Finals after the Welshman dumped defending champion James Wade for the second time in the space of a week.
Clayton had whitewashed ‘The Machine’ 6-0 in the European Championship but needed to recover from 3-1 and 5-3 down to deny Wade in a deciding leg this time around.
“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.”
Van Barneveld’s final TV tournament on Dutch soil began in style as he defeated fellow countryman Jermaine Wattimena 6-4 with an average of 101.7.
The five-time World Champion is aiming to sign off his career in style before retiring at the end of year by winning his first televised singles title since the 2014 Premier League.
A sell-out Amsterdam crowd gave their idol a hero’s welcome and the 52-year-old repaid them with one of his best televised performances of the year which also saw him land six doubles from ten attempts.
“I feel so relaxed, the crowd were incredible. Can I win tomorrow? I believe so but we will have to wait and see,” said Van Barneveld.
“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.”
Van Barneveld will face Dave Chisnall in the Last Eight after the World Grand Prix runner-up dispatched reigning European and World Matchplay champion Rob Cross 6-4 in the final game of the evening with five 180s and a 95 average to his name.
Elsewhere, Dutch ace Danny Noppert took advantage of an out of sorts Gary Anderson to pull off a shock 6-1 victory as the Scot averaged just 71 on a night to forget.
Ian White knocked out number two seed Peter Wright with a commanding 6-2 victory, averaging 96 with 55 per cent on the doubles.
“I’m really enjoying myself at the moment and know I’m getting closer,” admitted 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?”
Mensur Suljovic booked his place in the Quarter-Finals with a 6-3 win over Brisbane Masters champion Damon Heta despite an average of just 89.
Suljovic will now face Krzysztof Ratajski after the 42-year-old defied the odds once again to defeat world number five Daryl Gurney 6-4 and progress in to the Last Eight of a televised PDC tournament for the first time.
World Series of Darts Finals 2019 Results
Saturday November 2
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