Robert Thornton became the first player to reach the quarter-finals of the Unibet World Grand Prix after surviving five match darts to beat Dave Chisnall 3-2 in the second round in Dublin.
The Scot’s bid to win a second World Grand Prix title in three years looked set to end when Chisnall came from a set down to lead 2-1 in the match and then take the lead in the deciding set.
Thornton had earlier produced a superb opening set, hitting successive 14-darters before sealing the set with a 98 finish, with Chisnall taking the second set 3-1 with the aid of a 100 checkout on two double tops to level.
Thornton then opened set three with a 123 checkout and also took out 90 on the bull to force a decider in leg four, only for world number seven Chisnall to claim the decider with a brilliant 130 finish to move 2-1 up in sets.
But the 2015 World Grand Prix champion replied by winning the fourth set 3-1 to send the last 16 clash all the way to a decider, only for Chisnall to then move 2-1 up in the final set.
Chisnall, a runner-up in the double-start tournament back in 2013, then crucially missed five match darts in leg four, which allowed the Scot to scramble home on double ten to keep his hopes alive.
Thornton punished four missed opening doubles from Chisnall in the sudden-death leg with tops to seal his place in a first TV ranking quarter-final since the 2015 Grand Slam of Darts.
“I’m over the moon,” Thornton said. “I thought I threw it away after a great first set but I dug deep and fought back.
“This format is brilliant and for the last couple of weeks I’ve been practising my doubles and they’re the important thing in this event.
“I’m not in as good form as I was two years ago when I won it but it seems to be getting better.
“My first game was scrappy and went to a deciding leg too but the bookies write me off all the time and I’ve proved I can hold my bottle up there.”
Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC