Daryl Gurney vowed "rubbish" darts are history after firing a festive warning to his title rivals with a cracker display at Alexandra Palace to set up today's big World Championship last-16 clash with Vincent van der Voort.
Gurney was imperious in storming to a 4-1 triumph against No.22 seed Chris Dobey in the £2.5m behind-closed-doors showpiece.
And the Northern Ireland No.1 will fancy his chances of booking a quarter-final spot by beating Dutchman Van der Voort, a surprise 4-2 third-round winner against No.6 seed Nathan Aspinall.
The winner of tonight's clash between Gerwyn Price - third-round conqueror of Fermanagh's Brendan Dolan - and Mervyn King awaits in the last-eight. Dolan pushed darts' newest star Price all the way, the Iceman eventually triumphing 4-3 in a deciding leg.
"It's about time the real Daryl Gurney turned up - I've been rubbish this year since the UK Open," said Gurney.
"In previous tournaments I've been letting myself down so here I kept saying to myself to keep on doing what you're doing and play your own game and don't do what stupid Daryl does - someone hits a 180 and you snatch the first dart and don't hit a treble," added the 34-year-old.
Gurney has failed to reach his usual high standards this term and has dropped to No.12 in the world but the man affectionately known as 'Superchin' has started to hit form at just the right time.
He showed flashes of brilliance in his opening 3-2 Ally Pally victory over Limerick's Willie O'Connor before yesterday's tour de force against out-gunned Dobey, the Londonderry thrower - who reached the quarter-finals back in 2017 - triumphing 3-2, 3-1, 3-2, 1-3, 3-0 with a 101 average and an 11-darter.
Yesterday's action also saw a nine-darter from James Wade, the first at Ally Pally in five years. But it wasn't enough to help the No.7 seed to victory, Wade exiting 4-2 at the hands of Stephen Bunting, who fought back after losing the first two sets.
"When he hit the nine-darter it was probably one of the rare moments where it was better for me that the fans weren't here as they would've all been buzzing after that and supporting James," said Bunting, who faces Ryan Searle for a place in the last-eight.
"I miss the fans dearly though and we all want them back. I feel like I'm playing the best darts of my life and I'm looking forward to the game against Ryan.
"I've worked so hard over the last few months. Everybody knows I've had Covid but I've put that behind me now," added Bunting, who was forced to withdraw from this season's World Grand Prix after returning a positive test.
Elsewhere yesterday afternoon, Devon Petersen was in no mood to hang around as the South African saw off England ace Jason Lowe on a convincing 4-0 scoreline.
Last night's action almost kicked off with a shock result as Dave Chisnall had to fight back to defeat Dutchman Danny Nopert 4-2.
'Chizzy' lost his throw an incredible three times in the first two sets as Noppert raced into a 2-0 lead having won all six legs on offer.
Chisnall, though, refused to throw in the towel and dropped only two more legs as he came back in some style to progress 4-2.
The Gabriel Clemens-Krzysztof Ratajski clash proved to be a thriller, with the latter eventually progressing on a 4-3 scoreline.