PETER Wright's reign as World Champion was brought to a surprise end by Gabriel Clemens at Alexandra Palace on Sunday.

German number one Clemens won a sudden-death leg to claim the biggest win of his career and cause a major upset on a dramatic day at the William Hill World Darts Championship.

He becomes the first reigning champion to be eliminated at the last 32 stage since Phil Taylor at the 2013/14 event.

An uncharacteristically poor start on the doubles cost Wright the opening three sets, with Clemens taking full advantage to lead 2-1.

The German number one led 2-0 in the fourth set but after missing two doubles to make it 3-1, Wright recovered by winning three consecutive legs to make it all square at 2-2.

Clemens held his nerve with scoring visits of 140, 139 and 126 and after Wright was unable to take out 131 he cleaned up 38 in two darts to become the first ever German player to reach the last 16 of the World Championship.

Clemens' next assignment will see him take on Krzysztof Ratajski, who reached the last 16 for the first time with a resounding 4-0 defeat of Simon Whitlock.

Day Ten of the £2.5m tournament saw the first six third round matches take place following the Christmas break, with three-time World Champion Michael van Gerwen sending out another ominous message to his rivals.

The world number one averaged 106.85 as he raced to a 4-0 whitewash of Ricky Evans, a repeat of the scoreline when the pair met at the same stage of last year's event.

Van Gerwen was at his relentless best, firing in seven 180s and enjoying a 57.14% checkout success rate to advance to the last 16 where he will face Joe Cullen.

Cullen ended his 11-year wait for a last 16 berth at Alexandra Palace as he came through a sudden-death leg to beat Jonny Clayton 4-3.

An unpredictable contest saw Cullen get off to a two-set lead, only for Clayton to hit back by winning the next two sets after Cullen missed two darts to make it 3-1.

Welsh World Cup winner Clayton made it three sets in a row to lead for the first time, but Cullen took the sixth set without losing a leg to force a decider.

Finishes of 120 and 106 in the first two legs of the final set put Clayton in prime position for victory, but Cullen found a crucial last dart double 16 to hold throw and then broke with a 12-darter to take the match the distance.

A nip-and-tuck final leg saw Clayton hit his seventh 180 on his way to leaving 40 after 15 darts, but Cullen showed incredible nerve to hit two double tops for a match-winning 100 checkout under immense pressure.

Ryan Searle also made it through to the last 16 for the second time in three years with a hard-fought 4-2 defeat of Kim Huybrechts.

The William Hill World Darts Championship continues today after the Argus goes to print, with another two sessions of third round action, with Gerwyn Price, Glen Durrant and Nathan Aspinall among the players in action.