Michael van Gerwen overcame a scare to win his all-Dutch second round tie with Maik Kuivenhoven at the Jack's World Series of Darts Finals on Saturday night, as Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton set up a tasty quarter-final in Amsterdam.
Dutch hero Van Gerwen was returning to the big stage in his homeland for the first time since he won the 2019 World Series Finals at AFAS Live, as he began his bid to win back the title.
He opened his tie with Kuivenhoven with a 12-darter, and after sharing the first four legs took three in a row to move to the brink of victory.
Kuivenhoven, though, took the next two to pull back to 5-4 only to then waste his chance to take the game into a deciding leg with six missed doubles as Van Gerwen capitalised to close out the win.
"Maybe I was trying too hard in front of my home crowd, but it was a hard game," said Van Gerwen.
"I'm disappointed in myself a little bit because my preparation was good. I feel good and that's the most important thing.
"Overall, of course I could have done a little bit better here and there but I won my game and that's the most important thing.
"To play in front of these fans was absolutely amazing. I'm glad to be back and I hope I can show them some more action tomorrow.
"It means a lot to me - everyone knows I've been going through a really rough period for myself, and then to have to perform in front of your home crowd makes it slightly difficult and makes you want to win even more.
"I know there's still a lot of work to do but I feel good about it."
Van Gerwen will now meet Mervyn King, who has stormed into Sunday afternoon's quarter-finals without dropping a leg in his two games so far in Amsterdam.
King had denied James Wade a dart at a double as he averaged a tournament record 115 in their first round contest, and averaged over 98 as he restricted Latvia's Madars Razma to only three darts at the outer ring in another one-sided contest.
King took out 118 and 72 to move two legs up, punished Razma in the next two and then finished 84 and 88 as he sealed the win in style with a 12-darter.
"To win another game 6-0 is brilliant," said King. "It wasn't as good as yesterday but I'll take that.
"To be through to Sunday is good and I can't wait to play Michael again."
A huge quarter-final clash will see reigning champion Price and Premier League winner Clayton meet on Sunday afternoon in a repeat of the recent all-Welsh World Grand Prix final after they comfortably progressed to the last eight.
World number one Price was a 6-2 winner over Dutchman Dirk van Duijvenbode, averaging 100, hitting a 12-darter, two 13-darters and a 109 finish as the World Champion impressed.
Clayton, meanwhile, ruthlessly ended the hopes of home favourite Vincent van der Voort with a 6-1 victory, winning the opening five legs without the Dutchman having a dart at a double before closing out the win.
"I'm obviously happy," said Clayton. "He's an awesome darts player but I did my job - my first five legs were brilliant.
"I kept the crowd a little quiet so that helped me. I'll try to keep the crowd happy again on Sunday and do my job against Gezzy."
Dimitri Van den Bergh and Kim Huybrechts will clash in an all-Belgian quarter-final tie after they both impressed on Saturday night.
Van den Bergh averaged 101.21 as he came from 2-1 down to see off Jose de Sousa 6-3 in their tie, turning the game with legs of 14, 15 and 13 darts in mid-match.
Huybrechts, meanwhile, knocked out world number two Peter Wright with a 6-1 success to follow Friday's win over Michael Smith.
The Belgian ace took a 3-0 lead before Wright responded, but Huybrechts pulled clear before taking out a spectacular 150 checkout to complete the win.
Fallon Sherrock's hopes of repeating her run to last month's Nordic Darts Masters final were shattered in a 6-1 defeat to Krzysztof Ratajski.
The Polish number one reached his fifth televised quarter-final of 2021 in comfortable fashion, opening up a 3-0 lead which included a 13-dart break of throw.
Sherrock landed a 13-darter of her own to hit back, but Ratajski pulled clear with finishes of 72 and 68 before sealing the win.
Dutch youngster Niels Zonneveld reached his first PDC televised quarter-final with another memorable win, seeing off two-time World Champion Gary Anderson 6-4.
The 23-year-old left-hander finished 101, 120 and 102 during the tie, as he came from 4-3 down to delight the Dutch crowd.
"I can't describe how happy and proud I am - it's amazing," said Zonneveld, who now faces Ratajski for a spot in the semi-finals.
"I've got so much respect for Gary, he's one of the best players ever, but today with my home crowd I think I achieved something special.
"Krzysztof is a solid, very consistent player. I think he's one of the top eight in the world for consistency so it will be really difficult."
The tournament will conclude on Sunday with the quarter-finals in the afternoon session and the semi-finals and final in the evening session.
The Jack's World Series of Darts Finals is being broadcast live on ITV4 in the UK, through the PDC's international broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7, and on PDCTV for Rest of the World Subscribers.
Tickets for the Jack's World Series of Darts Finals are available through Ticketmaster.
2021 Jack's World Series of Darts Finals
Saturday October 30
Second Round x8
Mervyn King 6-0 Madars Razma
Niels Zonneveld 6-4 Gary Anderson
Jonny Clayton 6-1 Vincent van der Voort
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-3 Jose de Sousa
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-1 Fallon Sherrock
Kim Huybrechts 6-1 Peter Wright
Gerwyn Price 6-2 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Maik Kuivenhoven
Sunday October 31
Afternoon Session (1245 local time, 1145 GMT)
Krzysztof Ratajski v Niels Zonneveld
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Kim Huybrechts
Jonny Clayton v Gerwyn Price
Michael van Gerwen v Mervyn King
Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 GMT)
Ratajski/Zonneveld v Van den Bergh/Huybrechts
Van Gerwen/King v Clayton/Price
Van Gerwen/King/Clayton/Price v Ratajski/Zonneveld/Van den Bergh/Huybrechts