MICHAEL VAN GERWEN landed the first nine-dart finish on the PDC European Tour for five years with a stunning perfect leg against Ryan Joyce in Hamburg on Saturday night.
Van Gerwen began his bid to win a sixth European Tour event of 2018 with a 6-2 win over qualifier Ryan Joyce, which will go down in history for the Dutchman's moment of perfection.
The world number one led 2-1 before opening leg four with scores of 180 and 177, and then took out 144 with two treble 20s and double 12 to secure a nine-dart finish.
Van Gerwen later took out 121 as he went on to seal a 6-2 win and a place in Sunday's final stages at the edel-optics.de Arena.
The last nine-darter on the European Tour had been achieved five years and a day earlier by Ross Smith in the Gibraltar Darts Trophy, with a host of players - including Van Gerwen - going close to perfection in the intervening years.
"It's a special moment for me and this crowd," said Van Gerwen.
"Nine-darters are always fantastic but it's been a long time on the European Tour - five years is too long!"
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN LANDS THE NINE-DARTER!!— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) June 30, 2018
It's finally happened... Five years and one day since Ross Smith landed one in Gibraltar, Michael van Gerwen breaks the curse as he finds perfection in Hamburg!
Stunning ? pic.twitter.com/aTbnWN2Utu
A major shock then followed as William O'Connor stunned World Champion Rob Cross with a 6-4 victory.
Cross looked comfortable, averaging just short of 100 as he raced into a 4-2 lead, but the Irishman then rattled off four legs in succession to secure the win.
Daryl Gurney made hard work of his progression to the Third Round as he recovered from 4-2 down to beat Robert Marijanovic in a last leg decider.
And the drama continued as Stephen Bunting beat Darius Labanauskas in the same fashion.
In the final game of the evening, Jelle Klaasen picked up an excellent win - beating Premier League finalist Michael Smith 6-4 to book a third round clash against Andy Boulton.
Last weekend's Danish Darts Open winner, Mensur Suljovic, began his bid to claim back-to-back titles with a 6-3 defeat of Russia's Boris Koltsov.
There was second round disappointment in Hamburg, though, for the other two European Tour winners so far in 2018, Jonny Clayton and Max Hopp, as they exited at the hands of Jason Lowe and Ian White respectively.
Earlier in the day, former Austrian Darts Open winner Justin Pipe overcame last week's Danish Darts Open finalist Simon Whitlock 6-3, and another previous European Tour winner, Robert Thornton, edged out James Wilson.
Premier League ace Gerwyn Price saw off Host Nation Qualifier Maik Langendorf 6-3, while Joe Cullen won by the same scoreline against German Martin Schindler and Darren Webster overcame Luke Humphries in the same manner.
Paul Rowley reached the third round on the European Tour for the first time with a 6-4 defeat of Mervyn King, while Andy Boulton matched that margin of victory against Steve Beaton.
Kim Huybrechts' 6-4 win over Chris Dobey means that Alan Norris - who did not qualify to compete in Hamburg - is knocked out of the qualification places for July's BetVictor World Matchplay.
The European Darts Matchplay will be broadcast throughout the weekend for PDCTV-HD Subscribers, and through a series of bookmakers' websites worldwide.
Schedule of Play
Saturday June 30
Justin Pipe 6-3 Simon Whitlock
Jason Lowe 6-5 Jonny Clayton
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Maik Langendorf
Paul Rowley 6-4 Mervyn King
Robert Thornton 6-5 James Wilson
Joe Cullen 6-3 Martin Schindler
Kim Huybrechts 6-4 Chris Dobey
Darren Webster 6-3 Luke Humphries
Evening Session (7.15pm local time, 6.15pm BST)
Andy Boulton 6-4 Steve Beaton
Ian White 6-2 Max Hopp
Mensur Suljovic 6-3 Boris Koltsov
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Ryan Joyce - Michael van Gerwen hits nine-dart finish
Daryl Gurney 6-5 Robert Marijanovic
William O'Connor 6-4 Rob Cross
Stephen Bunting 6-5 Darius Labanauskas
Jelle Klaasen 6-4 Michael Smith
Sunday July 1
Afternoon Session (1pm local time, 12pm BST)
Michael van Gerwen v Robert Thornton
Ian White v Darren Webster
Joe Cullen v Justin Pipe
Daryl Gurney v Stephen Bunting
Jelle Klaasen v Andy Boulton
Jason Lowe v Gerwyn Price
Mensur Suljovic v Paul Rowley
William O'Connor v Kim Huybrechts
Evening Session (7.15pm local time, 6.15pm BST)
Sunday’s games played in Draw Bracket order
PDC European Tour events can be watched online by all PDCTV-HD Subscribers worldwide - click here to visit PDCTV-HD.
Live coverage with faster streams may also be available at the following bookmakers' websites:
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Ligastavok - www.ligastavok.ru/ - Russia
Marathonbet - www.betmarathon.com - Belarus, Russian federation, Spain, Ukraine
Napoleonbet - www.en-gb.sports.napoleongames.be - Belgium
Nike - www.nike.sk - Slovakia
Olimp - www.betolimp.com - Kazakhstan, Russian federation
Paddy Power - www.paddypower.com/ - England, Ireland, Northern ireland, Scotland, Wales
Stoiximan - www.stoiximan.gr - Cyprus, Greece, Romania
Supabets - www.supabets.com.gh - Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa
Superbet - www.superbet.ro/ - Romania, Poland
Tempobet - www.tempobet.org - Europe
Totogaming - www.totogaming.am/en/ - Armenia
Tipsport - www.tipsport.cz - Czech Republic & Slovakia
Unibet - www.unibet.com - Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, United Kingdom
William Hill - www.williamhill.com - Great Britain, Ireland, Spain
Winlinebet - www.winlinebet.ru - Russia
World Sports Betting - www.worldsportsbetting.co.za - Namibia, South Africa