Phil Taylor avoided a scare against Roland Scholten before booking his place in the fourth round of the Speedy Services UK Open with a 9-7 win over the Dutchman on Friday night, after Gary Anderson had earlier lit up Bolton with a nine-darter.
Taylor led 3-1 before Scholten hit back with a mid-game surge to level at six-all and threaten a major upset.
Taylor, though, broke the deadlock by following a key 180 with a killer 101 finish, and took two of the next three legs to edge into the last 32.
"I was really nervous there so it's a relief to get through," admitted Taylor. "That's the best I've seen Roland play for three years or so because he's had a bad shoulder injury and I didn't expect him to play like that.
"He came back well and put me under pressure, and I'll admit that my bottle was going. I was shaking a little bit because you don't want to get beaten in your first game here."
Taylor will now meet Colin Osborne on Saturday afternoon in a repeat of the 2009 UK Open final, after the Derby ace defeated Nigel Heydon 9-4.
Also on Friday, Gary Anderson hit his first televised nine-dart finish during a 9-3 win over amateur ace David Dodds, a gardener from Durham who had to win three games on Thursday night just to reach the third round.
World number four Anderson, using a new design of darts in competition for the first time, hit his perfect nine-dart finish in the third leg of the game, following two 180s with a 141 checkout to put himself in line for a £10,000 bonus.
"It's very special," said Anderson, who had been on the receiving end of a nine-darter from Mervyn King in Bolton two years ago. "I've never done one on TV before so it's very nice to hit one here.
"The nine-darter actually came a bit early in the game for me because it was only the third leg and I started thinking about it and lost my focus on the game, but I came good."
He will now take on Robert Thornton in an all-Scottish battle on Saturday afternoon, with the Stevenston thrower having come from 6-4 down to defeat Mark Webster 9-7 in the third round.
World champion Adrian Lewis - a third round loser to Terry Jenkins last year - swept past Kevin McDine 9-1 to book his place in the last 32, and admitted: "It feels fantastic to win so well.
"Last year I lost to Terry Jenkins in the third round so it's great to be through. I thought I was solid and it was a good performance, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the weekend."
Lewis has drawn Wes Newton, last year's beaten finalist, in a tasty fourth round contest, with the Fleetwood thrower having seen off youngster Shaun Griffiths 9-1.
Reigning champion James Wade, though, was knocked out of the tournament with a 9-5 loss to Colin Lloyd in a thriller.
Lloyd led 3-0 before Wade hit finishes of 170 and 160 to pull back to five-all, only for the former world number one to win the last four legs without reply to seal his place in the last 32, where he meets Joe Cullen.
"James is a great champion and I've got a lot of respect for him, but I had nothing to lose because he's the defending champion so I just went up there to play my best darts," said Lloyd.
Two-time UK Open winner Raymond van Barneveld won the all-Dutch clash with Jelle Klaasen 9-3, and was joined in the fourth round by fellow countryman Vincent van der Voort, the 2007 runner-up who saw off amateur qualifier Paul Amos 9-6.
Michael van Gerwen completes the trio of Dutch players in the fourth round, defeating Ireland's William O'Connor 9-3, while Belgium's Kim Huybrechts made a successful UK Open debut with a 9-4 defeat of Peter Hudson.
Australian ace Simon Whitlock ended the hopes of York's Terry Temple with a 9-6 win, and he is joined in the last 32 by his World Cup team-mate Paul Nicholson, who was a 9-7 winner against Northern Ireland's Michael Mansell.
Whitlock now plays Justin Pipe - who was a 9-2 winner over amateur Scott Robertson - while Nicholson drew former World Youth Champion Arron Monk, who came from 5-2 down to defeat Kevin Painter 9-8.
Yorkshireman Dean Winstanley made a winning UK Open debut with a 9-5 win over Hampshire youngster Jason Crawley, with his reward a clash against seven-time major finalist Terry Jenkins, who was a 9-6 winner against James Hubbard.
Former World Champions Dennis Priestley and Richie Burnett overcame Kevin Dowling and Ian White respectively to set up fourth round clashes with Andy Smith and Peter Wright, who had seen off Scott Rand and John Part on Friday.
Denis Ovens, a semi-finalist for the past two years, continued his love affair with the Reebok Stadium venue by defeating amateur Dean Stewart 9-3, setting up a clash with World Grand Prix finalist Brendan Dolan, who came from 7-1 down to defeat Scottish amateur Mark Barilli 9-8.
2011 quarter-finalists Dave Chisnall and Mark Hylton moved into the fourth round with wins over Mark Layton and Stuart Kellett, and now play Dennis Smith and Jamie Caven on Saturday.
Smith had been handed a bye through to the last 32 when his scheduled opponent, Mark Jones, failed to register at the venue in time for the contest, while Caven missed double 12 for a nine-darter in his win over Alan Tabern.
Ronnie Baxter ended the hopes of South Africa's Devon Petersen to move into the fourth round, where he plays Darren Webster, who held off a fightback from St Helens' emerging ace Michael Smith before taking a 9-7 win.
Fourth Round - Saturday 1pm (Best of 17 legs)
Vincent van der Voort v Kim Huybrechts
Andy Hamilton v Raymond van Barneveld
Colin Osborne v Phil Taylor
Wes Newton v Adrian Lewis
Colin Lloyd v Joe Cullen
Robert Thornton v Gary Anderson
Paul Nicholson v Arron Monk
Terry Jenkins v Dean Winstanley
Justin Pipe v Simon Whitlock
Richie Burnett v Peter Wright
Mark Hylton v Jamie Caven
Dennis Priestley v Andy Smith
Dennis Smith v Dave Chisnall
Brendan Dolan v Denis Ovens
Darren Webster v Ronnie Baxter
Michael van Gerwen v Mervyn King