Day Ten of the £2.5 million event saw six third-round matches take place at Alexandra Palace, with two-time World Champion Anderson surviving a match dart in his breathtaking 4-3 win over Wattimena.
Despite losing the opening leg, two-time World Champion Anderson seemed to be running away with the tie as he stormed into a 3-1 lead.
However, rapid-fire Dutchman Wattimena clicked into gear and fired in a stunning 11-dart leg to win the fifth set 3-1, and, after Anderson missed five match darts, Wattimena won three successive legs to take the match to a deciding set.
A dramatic end to the contest saw Wattimena go 2-0 up and miss the bullseye for a 170, before Anderson battled back to take it to a tie-break.
With the pair tied at 3-3, Anderson struck a crucial break of throw and then threw a 14-dart leg to win a classic contest.
“I should’ve had that game wrapped up but I made a complete mess of it and fair play to Jermaine he came back well,” said Anderson, who will face Vincent van der Voort or Chris Dobey in round four.
“It’s getting harder and harder to keep winning nowadays with the standard of players around, but I’m still going.
“This is one of those tournaments where anything could happen but I’m going to give it my best to win title number three.”
Van Gerwen also continued his bid for a third world title with a convincing 4-1 win over German number one Hopp.
The world number one was at his relentless best as he dropped just one leg on his way to a 3-0 lead, capping off set three with a magnificent 170 finish.
German Darts Open champion Hopp battled back, winning set four 3-0 before taking a 2-0 lead in set five, only for Van Gerwen to reel off three consecutive legs to continue his bid for the Sid Waddell trophy.
“I think I was in control for most of the match, I got a bit sloppy after I went 3-0 up but I never felt in danger,” said Van Gerwen.
“This tournament is like no other, the atmosphere is special and you have to prepare and make sure you play your best game on the big stage.”
Earlier in the day, another seven-set epic saw Jamie Lewis defeat fifth seed Daryl Gurney 4-3 after a tie-break.
Last year’s semi-finalist Lewis continued his phenomenal Alexandra Palace form as he lost just two legs to take a 2-0 lead, before missing three darts at double for a 3-0 lead as Gurney got his first set on the board to halve the deficit.
Lewis regained his two-set advantage before Players Championship Finals winner Gurney won eight of the next nine legs to put him a leg within of victory in the deciding seventh set.
However, Welshman Lewis came roaring back with four consecutive legs, three of which were won in 14 darts, to win a classic contest and advance to the last 16.
“I don’t know how I won that game, I thought I was gone when Daryl went 2-0 up in the seventh set,” said Lewis, who will play Dave Chisnall in round four.
“I like playing on the big stage and if I could save my best form for one tournament then I would pick this one which I’ve managed to do last year and this year.”
Chisnall stormed his way to a 4-0 rout of Kim Huybrechts to reach the last 16 for the fifth time in eight years.
A sparkling performance saw from world number 12 Chisnall saw him land a magnificent 110 checkout under pressure to go 2-0 up, before dropping just one more leg on his way to an impressive victory.
Ryan Joyce and Ryan Searle continued their dream debuts with victories over Alan Norris and William O’Connor respectively.
Joyce, who dumped out eighth seed Simon Whitlock 3-0 in round two came from two sets down to defeat Norris 4-3 thanks to some clinical finishing to set up a meeting with James Wade or Keegan Brown.
A convincing display from Searle, who defeated number seven seed Mensur Suljovic in round two, saw him run out a 4-1 winner over William O’Connor, and he will now face Michael Smith or John Henderson.
The action continues on Sunday with six more third round ties, featuring two-time winner Adrian Lewis and reigning champion Rob Cross.
The tournament will be broadcast live on the dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel from December 13-January 1 and worldwide through the PDC’s international broadcast partners.
2018/2019 William Hill World Darts Championship
Schedule of Play
Saturday, December 22
Ryan Joyce 4-3 Alan Norris (R3)
Dave Chisnall 4-0 Kim Huybrechts (R3)
Jamie Lewis 4-3 Daryl Gurney (R3)
Ryan Searle 4-1 William O’Connor (R3)
Gary Anderson 4-3 Jermaine Wattimena (R3)
Michael van Gerwen 4-1 Max Hopp (R3)
Sunday, December 23
Afternoon Session (1230)
Vincent Van der Voort v Chris Dobey (R3)
Brendan Dolan v Mervyn King (R3)
James Wade v Keegan Brown (R3)
Evening Session (1900)
Adrian Lewis v Darius Labanauskas (R3)
Nathan Aspinall v Kyle Anderson (R3)
Rob Cross v Cristo Reyes (R3)