Michael Van Gerwen set up a potential PDC World Championship semi-final blockbuster with Gary Anderson by beating Ryan Joyce 5-1.
Van Gerwen looked as if he was capable of winning 15 straight legs in his Alexandra Palace quarter-final when he averaged 109.98 in taking the first set 3-0.
But he had to overcome a mid-match wobble – Joyce taking the third set and leading 2-0 in the fourth – before easing through to meet the Scot Anderson and establish a repeat of the 2017 final which the Dutchman won 7-3.
“At the beginning I thought I played quite well – I was 2-0 up in sets,” Van Gerwen told Sky Sports.
“I had a phenomenal 120 finish in the third set first leg, but after that I played terrible.
“I was fighting against myself. I wanted to show what I could do, I put the pressure on myself constantly. It’s nothing to do with other people, I do this to myself.
“I should not have out myself in this position, but a 5-1 win, I can’t really complain. I won’t let myself down in the semi-final. I need to make sure I’m sharp.”
Van Gerwen, the number one seed, rushed through the opening two sets, but Joyce checked out on the bull to win the third.
The 33-year-old from Newcastle then led in the fourth set before an 11-dart leg from Van Gerwen restored his control.
Although a long way from his brilliant best, Van Gerwen still finished with an average of 101.76.
It was the 17th consecutive time he has finished with an average over 100 at the world championship.
Michael Smith booked a last-four date against Nathan Aspinall with a 5-1 victory over Luke Humphries.
Smith dominated after taking the first set against the darts, and Humphries never looked like repeating Friday’s stunning quarter-final victory over 2018 world champion Rob Cross.
The 28-year-old from St Helens turned the screw with 11 and 13-dart legs to take a 4-1 lead.
Smith missed an incredible 31 doubles, yet still averaged 103 to make his first world championship semi-final.
“My doubles were so bad but I’m chuffed to be in the semi-finals,” Smith said.
“I’m just glad I held it together and got the win. I’m getting quite good at turning aggression onto the dartboard instead of putting my head down.
“I think this is my ninth year here now so I’m a bit of a veteran. But every year I feel like I’m going to win it.
“If I thought otherwise I wouldn’t bother turning up and practising, and I’ve got a job to do now.”