KRZYSZTOF RATAJSKI produced the performance of the day to knock Michael Smith out of the European Darts Open, while Michael van Gerwen, Rob Cross and Peter Wright were among the players to record second round victories on Day Two in Leverkusen.
The second day of the first European Tour event of 2019 saw three-time PDC title winner Ratajski average 105.57 in a thrilling 6-5 win over Smith, who missed two match darts to complete what would've been a sensational comeback from 4-0 down.
At 5-2 up, Polish number one Ratajski seemed to be cruising to an impressive victory over Smith, only for the World Championship runner-up to land a skin-saving 104 checkout after Ratajski missed double ten for the match.
A 13-dart leg from Smith followed, before another match dart went begging for Ratajski, allowing Smith to take out 62 to take the enthralling contest to a deciding leg.
With Smith waiting on 90 for the match, Ratajski piled on the pressure with a perfectly-timed 180 to leave himself 40, and after Smith twice fired wide on double 15, Ratajski stepped in to find double ten to win a dramatic decider with his last dart in hand.
"I am so happy to win this match, it was a great feeling to hit the winning double," said Ratajski, who will renew rivalries with Gerwyn Price in Sunday afternoon's last 16.
"I played a lot better than my first round game but Michael just kept coming at me and it looked like he was going to win it, but I took my chance and I am so pleased to be in the next round."
Last weekend's ProTour winner Adrian Lewis also fell at the first hurdle as a fine display from two-time World Youth Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh saw him run out a 6-3 winner in a high-quality contest which saw both players average over 102.
Van den Bergh, who will make his Premier League debut as a Contender in Rotterdam on Wednesday, landed a roof-raising 161 checkout, the highest of the day, and missed just two doubles in a clinical display of finishing against the two-time World Champion.
"I knew it would be a tough game with Adrian and I had to finish very good because he is a great scorer," said Van den Bergh.
"I am very pleased with my performance and look forward playing Daryl tomorrow. The support I got from the German crowd was phenomenal - the cheering gave myself an extra boost to increase my performance."
The rising Belgian star will now face Daryl Gurney after the world number five ran out a comfortable 6-2 winner against next Thursday's Premier League Contender Jeffrey de Zwaan.
Saturday's second round of the £140,000 tournament saw Friday's 16 winning Qualifiers take on the 16 seeded players, as seven of the world's top ten made it through to Sunday's final day of action.
Simon Whitlock joined Smith in being the only competing players from the top ten on the PDC Order of Merit to crash out, as the Australian missed a match dart in his tension-filled 6-5 loss to Ross Smith.
UK Open quarter-finalist Smith will now meet world number three Peter Wright, who wrapped up an impressive 6-2 win over Kim Huybrechts in style with a 121 checkout.
Michael van Gerwen gained revenge on Mervyn King for his fourth round exit at the UK Open with a thumping 6-1 success, with the world number one now set to meet fellow-Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena.
Wattimena survived three match darts as he fought back from 5-2 down to see off European Tour debutant Glen Durrant 6-5 with an average of 102.16.
Rob Cross continued his excellent start to the year with a 6-3 triumph over Steve Beaton, with the former World Champion racking up his 22nd ton-plus averages in 34 games in 2019, and he will now take on Jonny Clayton, who came through 6-3 against Adam Hunt.
Clayton's fellow-Welshman Price also won 6-3 against Scott Taylor, while Wade won by the same scoreline against Dutch Qualifier Wesley Plaisier.
Wade will now come up against Dave Chisnall, who also continued his strong start to the year with a 100.28 average in his 6-2 win over Ted Evetts.
Mensur Suljovic was made to work hard for his 6-4 victory over Matthew Dennant, and the Austrian will now play Joe Cullen, who stormed his way to a 6-1 success over Vincent van der Voort.
Justin Pipe showed his battling qualities, coming back from 4-1 down to defeat Ian White 6-5, and his reward is a third round meeting with Darren Webster who got the better of the European Tour's first Czech player Pavel Jirkal 6-3.
Sunday's third and final day of the European Darts Open will see the last 16 matches take place in the afternoon session, before the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final in the evening.
All the action will be broadcast on PDCTV-HD, and through a series of bookmakers' websites worldwide.
2019 European Darts Open
Schedule of Play
Saturday March 23
Darren Webster 6-3 Pavel Jirkal
James Wade 6-3 Wesley Plaisier
Justin Pipe 6-5 Ian White
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Scott Taylor
Dave Chisnall 6-2 Ted Evetts
Jonny Clayton 6-3 Adam Hunt
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-5 Michael Smith
Daryl Gurney 6-2 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-3 Adrian Lewis
Jermaine Wattimena 6-5 Glen Durrant
Joe Cullen 6-1 Vincent van der Voort
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Mervyn King
Rob Cross 6-3 Steve Beaton
Mensur Suljovic 6-4 Matthew Dennant
Ross Smith 6-5 Simon Whitlock
Peter Wright 6-2 Kim Huybrechts
Sunday March 24
Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 GMT)
Michael van Gerwen v Jermaine Wattimena
Krzysztof Ratajski v Gerwyn Price
Mensur Suljovic v Joe Cullen
James Wade v Dave Chisnall
Justin Pipe v Darren Webster
Rob Cross v Jonny Clayton
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Daryl Gurney
Peter Wright v Ross Smith
Evening Session (1915 local time, 1815 GMT)
Van Gerwen/Wattimena v Ratajski/Price
Suljovic/Cullen v Wade/Chisnall
Pipe/Webster v Cross/Clayton
Van den Bergh/Gurney v Wright/Smith
Sunday’s games played in Draw Bracket order
All games up to and including the quarter-finals are the best of 11 legs, with the semi-finals the best of 13 legs and the final the best of 15 legs.
Last 16: £3,000
Last 32: £2,000
Last 48: £1,000
PDC European Tour events can be watched online through PDCTV-HD for all subscribers worldwide.
Live coverage with faster streams may also be available at the following bookmakers' websites:
bet365 - www.bet365.com - Worldwide
Bet90 - www.bet90.com - Brazil, Germany
Betfair - www.betfair.com - Brazil, Denmark, England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Wales
Betfred - www.betfred.com - England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales
bwin - www.bwin.com - Worldwide
FDJ - www.fdj-gaming-solutions.com - France
Fonbet - www.fonbet.com - Armenia, Belarus, Cyprus, Kazakhstan, Russian federation, Ukraine
Fortuna - www.fortunagroup.eu - Croatia, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Slovakia
Legolasbet - www.legolas.bet - Sweden
Ligastavok - www.ligastavok.ru/ - Russia
Marathonbet - www.betmarathon.com - Belarus, Russian federation, Spain, Ukraine
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