Steve Beaton pulled off a superb scalp of James Wade to progress to the Last 16 of the World Championship for the first time in 15 years, as Michael van Gerwen stepped up the defence of his title with a whitewash win over Ricky Evans.
Beaton, making his 29th appearance in a World Championship, made it back-to-back wins in PDC version of the tournament for the first time as he knocked out eighth seed Wade 4-2.
The 55-year-old, who had seen off Kyle Anderson in Round Two, underlined his incredible longevity with another eye-catching display as he extended Wade’s wait for an elusive maiden world title.
Beaton took the first set before coming back from two legs behind to steal the second and take control of the contest.
The next two sets were shared before ‘The Bronzed Adonis’ clinch the sixth set 3-1 to complete victory and break new round at Alexandra Palace.
“I had to dig in to get that result,” said the veteran star, who will take on Darius Labanauskas after the Christmas break.
“I blew it last time against James and it was so great to beat him this time.”
“I’ve had so many bad Christmases but I can go and enjoy it now, knowing that I’m coming back for another game.
“I’ve got to be positive and think I’ve got every chance of getting even further in the tournament.”
Reigning champion Van Gerwen continued his William Hill World Championship title defence with a straight sets success over Evans, though the Dutchman was made to work harder than the scoreline may suggest.
The world number one hit more 180s (ten) than 140s as he came through a blistering contest with a 96.7 average to storm into the Last 16.
A spirited Evans took MVG to a deciding leg in three of the four sets but the Dutchman struck at the crucial moments to ensure the quick-fire 29-year-old went home empty-handed.
“I wasn’t really in my comfort zone tonight but I’m happy to get such a big win,” said van Gerwen, who will now take on Stephen Bunting.
“It’s always lovely to play on a stage like this but I was a little bit annoyed, the camera guys were moving around when I was playing and I was getting annoyed with this, I could have done so much better but my focus was not there 100 per cent.
“I had to work hard to keep myself concentrated so I am pleased that I did that. I think Ricky’s fast pace helped me and I enjoy playing matches like this.
“Stephen is playing quite well but he is going to have to play the darts of his life to beat me.”
Bunting also claimed a resounding 4-0 triumph earlier in the day as he made it through to the Last 16 of the PDC World Championship for the first time in five years by brushing aside Jonny Clayton.
Former Lakeside Champion Bunting secured the opening set without reply courtesy of a 140 finish and defied a 136 checkout and a 14-darter from the Welshman to edge the second 3-2.
Clayton took out a 138 combination in the third, which Bunting won 3-1 before the St Helens ace completed the win by edging set four in the fifth leg.
“It was my game plan to start well and stay on top and that is how it turned out,” said Bunting.
“I felt like I played really well and I can enjoy Christmas now and prepare for the next game.
“I’m not going to say I’m going to win it but I’m in a better place than ever.”
Nathan Aspinall’s bid to improve on last year’s landmark Semi-Final run continued with an epic deciding-set victory over Krzysztof Ratajski.
The opening two sets were shared, with Ratajski edging the second courtesy of a 106 finish in the decider, before Aspinall took the next two with 3-1 and 3-2 scorelines to push towards victory.
Ratajski saved the game by winning set five in a deciding leg, and produced a 13-darter in leg five of the sixth to send the match into a seventh set.
Aspinall, however, pounced on three missed doubles to lead in the final set before accelerating away to seal victory with a 116 checkout.
“I thought I’d won it when I went 3-1 up but he battled back and I had to dig deep,” said the 2019 UK Open Champion.
“I think I’ve shown in my relatively short career that I’ve got the ability to fight when I need to – I had to do that there and I’m really happy to be through.”
Darius Labanauskas came from 2-1 down to defeat Max Hopp 4-2 as the Lithuanian thrower moved into the Last 16 at Alexandra Palace for the first time.
The opening two sets were shared with 3-1 scorelines before Hopp came from a leg down in the third to move 2-1 up in the tie with the aid of a 114 finish.
Labanauskas landed a 12-darter as he won the fourth set 3-1, before taking the fifth without reply and the sixth by a 3-2 margin to punish misses from the German and claim the win.
A resurgent Kim Huybrechts produced another solid performance to see off Danny Noppert by four sets to two.
The Belgian ace found himself 2-1 down in sets but bounced back by winning nine out of eleven legs to close out the win, which he sealed with a spectacular 150 checkout.
“It was an up and down kind of game but I managed to make it mine,” said Huybrechts, who averaged 95.8 and converted 58 per cent of his attempts at doubles.
“I’m getting closer to my best game and I feel like I have a huge opportunity here but both Luke and Nico will think the same.
“I’ve had to deal with the biggest defeat in life you can have and that taught me to stand tall and show them what you’ve got.”
Sunday December 22
Jonny Clayton 0-4 Stephen Bunting
Darius Labanauskas 4-2 Max Hopp
Nathan Aspinall 4-3 Krzysztof Ratajski
James Wade 2-4 Steve Beaton
Kim Huybrechts 4-2 Danny Noppert
Michael van Gerwen 4-0 Ricky Evans