Raymond van Barneveld produced one of the performances of the night to send local favourite Cody Harris out of the Auckland Darts Masters.
The Dutchman, a multiple world title winner, was primed after Harris impressed the darts world at the recent teams World Cup in Germany.
"I'm also on Facebook and Twitter following everything...I really saw that he was a top player. I was really focussed," said van Barneveld, after avoiding what was seen as the biggest chance of an upset result.
Van Barneveld threw four 180s in winning 6 - 2, although he blew four match darts allowing Harris to win two legs in front of terrific hometown support at the Trusts Arena.
Quarter-final opponents Adrian Lewis, who beat van Barneveld in last year's Auckland final, and darts legend Phil Taylor were also impressive. Taylor was in scorching form and averaged a mighty 106 after a slow start against Wellington's Rob Szabo.
World champ Gary Anderson was often superb in crushing Christchurch's Bernie Smith, who did brilliantly to snatch two legs. World number one Michael van Gerwen had a rough start against Perth's Damon Heta before hitting his straps.
"I was useless at the beginning - I couldn't get in the zone," said van Gerwen, who switched flights out of Vienna and got to Auckland a day earlier than the other big name players. Van Gerwen was delighted wiht his "fantastic" form at the end of the match against Heta.
Scotland's Peter Wright destroyed the experienced Warren Parry from Invercargill. Wright said: "Warren didn't turn up like he can do. I thought it was a hard draw facing him on his home ground."
Of the world class players, Englishmen Dave Chisnall and James Wade were the ones who struggled most for their touch.
First round: J. Wade (England) 6, K. Moir (Auckland) 2; A. Lewis (England) 6, S. Leach (Gisborne) 0; P. Wright (Scotland) 6, W. Parry (Invercargill) 1; R. van Barneveld (Holland) 6, C. Harris (Auckland) 2; D. Chisnall (England) 6, C. Bridge (Australia) 4; P. Taylor (England) b R. Szabo (Wellington) 6 - 0; M. van Gerwen (Holland) 6, D. Heta (Australia) 3; G. Anderson (Scotland) 6, B. Smith (Christchurch) 2.
Quarter-final draw: Anderson v Wright, Chisnall v van Barneveld, van Gerwen v Wade, Taylor v Lewis.