John Henderson pulled off the biggest win of his career to knock out defending champion Michael van Gerwen in the first round of the Unibet World Grand Prix.
World number one van Gerwen had won three of the last five titles at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin, but the Dutchman suffered a first-round exit in the double-start tournament for the first time since his debut in 2009 after losing in a dramatic last-leg decider with Henderson.
The Scot punished a slow start from the top seed to take a 2-0 lead in the opening set, and although van Gerwen won the next two legs to force a decider it was Henderson who capitalised on six missed opening doubles from his opponent to claim the set on double 10.
Van Gerwen bounced back after the break by winning the second set in straight legs, but he was unable to find a break of throw as the third set went to a sudden-death leg.
Henderson kicked off the decider with scores of 120 and 140 to edge clear, with van Gerwen replying with four 96s, but the Scot was first to a double and hit tops to secure a memorable win.
“It’s probably the best win of my career on television,” said the world number 32, whose most recent win on TV had been in the second round of the 2015 European Championship more than 700 days ago.
“I played really well in the Players Championships over the weekend so my form was good but against Michael you expect to be the underdog – he’s the main man at the minute.
“It’s not often Michael plays like that so you’ve got to jump on it when he does and I have tonight, so I’m glad to be through.
“I knew there was going to be a big comeback from Michael but luckily for me I got there in the end.
“It’s been my night and I’m going to enjoy it – I’ve got to try and come down from this and hopefully I can progress.”
Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC