James Wade recorded the 10th nine-dart finish in PDC World Darts Championship history but gave up a two-set lead to lose his third-round match against Stephen Bunting at Alexandra Palace.
Wade had seen his English compatriot battle back from 2-0 down to level proceedings at two sets apiece before producing a stunning perfect leg.
He threw seven triple 20s, a triple 19 and nonchalantly finished on double 12.
But Bunting kept his momentum to win 4-2 and faces Ryan Searle in round four.
Former champions Raymond van Barneveld and Adrian Lewis have twice achieved nine-dart finishes at the tournament while Dean Winstanley, Michael van Gerwen, Terry Jenkins, Kyle Anderson and Gary Anderson have also achieved the feat.
There were no fans in attendance to witness Wade’s effort because of the Covid-19 pandemic and, after landing the first nine-darter at the venue in five years, his celebration was minimal as he simply shared just a fist bump with his opponent.
Bunting – the 26th seed – produced a 93.18 three-dart average throughout the match, bettering seventh-seed Wade’s 87.94.
St Helens’ Bunting – who contracted Covid-19 in October – hit 60% of his checkouts compared to 30.61% from Wade and took the final set 3-2 to seal his place in round four.