Michael van Gerwen and Rob Cross will clash in a stellar third round tie at the Interwetten German Darts Grand Prix on Sunday, after both progressed to the last 16 of the PDC European Tour event in Munich.
Van Gerwen and Cross have enjoyed a string of notable tussles in recent years, including in the German Darts Championship final last month which the Dutchman won.
They will meet again on the European Tour circuit on Monday, after European Champion Cross defied 21 missed doubles to defeat Karel Sedlacek in round two before Van Gerwen survived a scare against Chris Dobey.
Dobey led 3-1 and 5-3 against Van Gerwen, but missed two match darts at double 18 in the game’s ninth leg before an 11-darter from the Dutchman forced a decider which he won by finishing 93 to move through.
Van Gerwen is relishing the challenge of facing Cross on Sunday afternoon, as he continues his bid to win an incredible 34th European Tour event.
“Rob is a phenomenal player,” said Van Gerwen. “He’s tried to battle back and you need to do really well if you want to beat him – but I feel good, I feel confident.
“To win games like this gives you a lot of energy, and that’s really important. There is still a lot of work to do but to start off the tournament like this means a lot.
“Chris had a couple of really good finishes to make it difficult, but there can only be one winner and I’m really glad that’s me.
“That was probably a match I would have lost last year but I’ve got confidence now. The crowds are back and this is what we want.”
Scott Waites booked his place in the final day of a European Tour event for the first time by knocking out World Champion Peter Wright 6-5 in Munich.
Wright looked set to move into the last 16 in his bid to claim a seventh European Tour title as he opened up a 5-3 lead, but Waites finished 68 and 71 to keep his hopes alive and pinned double 16 in the deciding leg.
The former Grand Slam of Darts champion now meets Damon Heta, who impressed by averaging almost 100 in his 6-4 win over Raymond van Barneveld.
Wesley Plaisier (above) reached the last 16 of a European Tour event for the first time, as the Dutchman came from 4-3 down to defeat Masters champion Joe Cullen 6-4.
He now faces fellow countryman Dirk van Duijvenbode, who produced a 14-darter in the deciding leg of his second round tie with Boris Krcmar to progress.
Max Hopp delighted the German crowd to continue his resurgence with a 6-3 win over Dimitri Van den Bergh, finishing 50% of his darts at a double to move into the last 16.
He now plays Premier League star Jonny Clayton, who averaged over 102 in a strong display to see off Dave Chisnall 6-2 on Sunday afternoon.
Latvia’s Madars Razma knocked out second seed Jose de Sousa as he moves through to play former World Youth Champion Keegan Brown, who overcame Callan Rydz 6-3.
Martin Lukeman reached the last 16 of a second successive European Tour event by defeating German number one Gabriel Clemens 6-3, winning four straight legs from 3-2 down as a 115 checkout sealed his success.
Lukeman now plays Ireland’s Keane Barry, who received a second round Bye after top seed Gerwyn Price withdrew through illness on Sunday afternoon.
World Championship finalist Michael Smith withstood a strong challenge from Berry van Peer to claim a 6-4 win, averaging just over 100 to set up a clash with Luke Humphries.
Humphries reeled off four straight legs from 4-2 down to claim his third round place at the expense of Jeffrey de Zwaan.
Martin Schindler survived four missed match darts from Brendan Dolan in the deciding leg of their second round meeting, before the German ace hit double 16 to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Schindler faces a tough third round tie against Ryan Searle, who raced clear from two-all against Danny Baggish to close out a 6-2 success by following a pair of 13-darters with a 112 finish to end with a 100 average and six doubles from nine attempts.
The £140,000 tournament concludes on Easter Monday, with the afternoon session’s third round followed in the decisive evening session by the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.
Coverage will be streamed through DAZN for viewers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, via Sport1 in Germany and through PDCTV for subscribers in all other territories, as well as through bookmakers worldwide.
2022 Interwetten German Darts Grand Prix
Sunday April 17
Keegan Brown 6-3 Callan Rydz
Rob Cross 6-3 Karel Sedlacek
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-5 Boris Krcmar
Madars Razma 6-4 Jose de Sousa
Wesley Plaisier 6-4 Joe Cullen
Luke Humphries 6-4 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Martin Schindler 6-5 Brendan Dolan
Jonny Clayton 6-2 Dave Chisnall
Max Hopp 6-3 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Damon Heta 6-4 Raymond van Barneveld
Martin Lukeman 6-3 Gabriel Clemens
Keane Barry Bye (Gerwyn Price withdrawn due to illness)
Scott Waites 6-5 Peter Wright
Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Chris Dobey
Ryan Searle 6-2 Danny Baggish
Michael Smith 6-4 Berry van Peer
Monday April 18
Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 BST)
Keane Barry v Martin Lukeman
Martin Schindler v Ryan Searle
Scott Waites v Damon Heta
Jonny Clayton v Max Hopp
Madars Razma v Keegan Brown
Michael van Gerwen v Rob Cross
Michael Smith v Luke Humphries
Wesley Plaisier v Dirk van Duijvenbode
Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 BST
Barry/Lukeman v Schindler/Searle
Waites/Heta v Clayton/Hopp
Razma/Brown v Van Gerwen/Cross
Smith/Humphries v Plaisier/Van Duijvenbode
Images: Kais Bodensieck/PDC Europe