Paul Lim fell agonisingly short of adding another nine-dart finish to his collection as he exited the William Hill World Championship after defeat to last year's finalist Gary Anderson.
World number one and defending champion Michael van Gerwen was in scintillating form as he joined Anderson in the third round, but the major talking point surrounded Lim as he came within one dart of a perfect leg.
Lim was the first person to record a nine-darter at the World Championships in 1990 and it seemed history would repeat itself to the delight of the rapt crowd at Alexandra Palace, only for the 63-year-old's final throw to fall narrowly outside double 12.
To add insult to injury, Anderson stole the leg, his sixth on the spin, as he recorded a routine 4-1 win, but much of the focus afterwards was on what could have been for Lim.
Anderson told www.pdc.tv: "If Paul had got the nine-darter it would have been the best Christmas present ever.
"I thought it was in, when he hit the trebles I thought, 'he's going to hit this'."
Lim added: "I tell you what, I can't breathe. I'm going to have nightmares tonight I'll tell you that."
Michael van Gerwen at his brutal best...— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) December 22, 2017
A 142 to break in the opening leg. pic.twitter.com/1rdSZPY6iw
It was near perfection from Van Gerwen, who averaged 108.65 as he won all 12 legs in a 4-0 rout of James Wilson.
There was no let-up from the Dutchman as he sent a warning to his rivals in a ruthless display.
He said: "I had some fantastic finishing and some high scoring. James played really well at certain points as well but you've got to keep performing and you're not allowed to make any mistakes and I'm glad I didn't.
"At one point I saw my average was 111 and I thought, 'come on keep it above 110', but the game at 3-0 was already won. What more can I ask of myself?
"I'm going to have a happy Christmas now and prepare myself for the last 16 - I feel good."
Next up for the two-time champion is Gerwyn Price, who had earlier seen off Ian White 4-1, while Mensur Suljovic battled back from 2-1 down to overcome Robert Thornton 4-2.
Vincent van der Voort followed his upset victory over Dave Chisnall in the opening round by brushing aside Steve Beaton 4-0 , while fellow Dutchman Jan Dekker was beaten 4-2 by Belgium's Dimitri Van den Bergh.