Michael van Gerwen held off a valiant challenge from Michael ‘Bully Boy’ Smith at the Grand Slam of Darts.
Defending champion Van Gerwen won a back-and-forth match 10-8 to qualify for the quarter-finals.
He will next face Jonny Clayton, to whom he has already lost this week in the group stage.
Van Gerwen was forced to battle by Smith, the world No 9, and only opened a two-leg lead for the first time at 9-7.
Even then, Smith broke Van Gerwen’s throw to stay alive but ultimately it was not enough.
Earlier Clayton had thrashed Krzysztof Ratajski 10-3 to set up a second match against Van Gerwen.
Clayton’s initial win over Van Gerwen was more high-profile but, over a longer format, his thrashing of Ratajski was a better performance and will give him genuine hope of continuing a dream week into the semi-finals.
James Wade suffered a 10-6 upset defeat to Michael Unterbuchner of the BDO.
Two-time runner-up Wade found himself 4-1 behind in the early exchanges and never recovered. Unterbuchner later rattled off four consecutive legs to go 9-4 ahead and claim a notable scalp.
World No 3 Gary Anderson was at his ruthless best in a 10-2 thrashing of Wesley Harms.
Anderson, the runner-up seven years ago, will play Unterbuchner next.
The Grand Slam of Darts continues on Sky Sports across the week with coverage of Friday’s quarter-finals underway on Sky Sports Action from 7pm.
Keep up to date with the news as the tungsten enters its busiest time of year with the PDC World Championships just around the corner get all the latest at www.skysports.com/darts and join in the conversation@SkySportsDarts
(c) Sky News 2018: Michael van Gerwen beats Michael Smith 10-8 at Grand Slam of Darts