Simon Whitlock secured a sixth straight victory over Michael van Gerwen to progress to Finals Day at the Hungarian Darts Trophy, while Jim Williams produced an inspired comeback to deny World Champion Peter Wright a winning return in Budapest.
Van Gerwen and Wright were among the ten seeds to crash out on a remarkable day of second round action at the BOK Sportcsarnok on Saturday, with Jonny Clayton and Luke Humphries other big-name casualties in Hungary.
Top seed Van Gerwen squandered 25 darts at double as his winless run against Whitlock continued, with Australia’s World Cup winner registering a nerveless 13-dart hold in the decider to progress.
Meanwhile, Wright was left to rue two missed match darts in an edgy conclusion against Williams, who fought back magnificently from 5-3 down to advance.
Wright, making his first appearance since undergoing gallstones surgery last month, conjured up 160 and 145 finishes to seize the initiative, but skin-saving 125 and 100 checkouts catapulted Williams to an unlikely victory.
Jose De Sousa landed a sublime 11-dart break to clinch a last-leg win over Raymond van Barneveld, after the Dutch legend wired one match dart at double 18 in a dramatic finale.
The opening ten legs went with throw, yet De Sousa – who missed double 12 for a nine-darter in leg four – followed up his sixth 180 by pinning tops to prevail with a 99 average.
De Sousa will now lock horns with Jeffrey De Zwaan on Sunday, after the Dutchman fired in five 180s to topple Rob Cross 6-4 and preserve his Cazoo European Championship qualification hopes.
Boris Krcmar also claimed a crucial win in his bid to qualify for October’s main event, winning five straight legs to stun second seed Humphries and set up a showdown with Dave Chisnall in round three.
Chisnall produced two sensational finishes to deny Clayton earlier in the afternoon, following up a 117 checkout in leg nine with a brilliant 135 finish on the bull to seal the deal in style.
Joe Cullen returned to winning ways on the European Tour courtesy of a battling 6-4 win over Martin Lukeman, and the Masters champion now faces Welsh star Williams in the third round.
Elsewhere, Nathan Aspinall defied a late rally from Stephen Bunting to book his place in Sunday’s last 16, punishing a profligate display from the St Helens star to close out a comfortable 6-3 success.
Earlier in the day, Josh Rock fired in a superb 104 average to secure his first victory over Damon Heta, reeling off four consecutive legs from 4-2 down to dump out the Australian number one.
Emerging star Rock will now take on tenth seed Dirk van Duijvenbode, after the Dutchman also averaged 104 to prevail in a high-quality contest against Chris Dobey, registering six maximums along the way.
Michael Smith stormed through to Sunday’s final stages with a whitewash win over Daryl Gurney, taking out a 116 combination and a double-double 96 finish to move through to a third round tie against William O’Connor.
The Irishman secured his spot in the last 16 on the European Tour for the first time since 2019 courtesy of a 6-3 win against an out-of-sorts Dimitri Van den Bergh.
Rusty-Jake Rodriguez produced his best performance on the big stage to dispatch UK Open champion Danny Noppert with a 99 average, and he now plays Madars Razma on Sunday, after the Latvian received a Bye following Gerwyn Price’s withdrawal.
Ryan Searle was another seeded casualty on Saturday afternoon, succumbing 6-3 to Czech star Karel Sedlacek, who wrapped up victory with a brilliant 126 finish to move through a tie against Aspinall.
Elsewhere, Krzysztof Ratajski’s woes on the European Tour continue, after Poland’s number one was edged out by Ryan Meikle, who now plays Whitlock on Sunday afternoon.
The third round will take place on Sunday afternoon, before the tournament concludes with the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final in a blockbuster evening session in Budapest.
2022 Hungarian Darts Trophy
Saturday September 3
Josh Rock 6-4 Damon Heta
Rusty-Jake Rodriguez 6-1 Danny Noppert
Karel Sedlacek 6-3 Ryan Searle
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-3 Chris Dobey
Michael Smith 6-0 Daryl Gurney
Ryan Meikle 6-4 Krzysztof Ratajski
William O’Connor 6-3 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Dave Chisnall 6-5 Jonny Clayton
Jeffrey De Zwaan 6-4 Rob Cross
Jose de Sousa 6-5 Raymond van Barneveld
Boris Krcmar 6-3 Luke Humphries
Joe Cullen 6-4 Martin Lukeman
Jim Williams 6-5 Peter Wright
Simon Whitlock 6-5 Michael van Gerwen
Nathan Aspinall 6-3 Stephen Bunting
Bye: Madars Razma
Sunday September 4
Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 BST)
Jim Williams v Joe Cullen
Madars Razma v Rusty-Jake Rodriguez
Josh Rock v Dirk van Duijvenbode
Boris Krcmar v Dave Chisnall
Jeffrey De Zwaan v Jose De Sousa
Michael Smith v William O’Connor
Karel Sedlacek v Nathan Aspinall
Simon Whitlock v Ryan Meikle
Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 BST)