Wallace, who won the Embassy title in 1997, led by two sets to one, was level at 2-2 in the vital fourth set and then needed double top to clinch victory. However, the 36-year-old Scot missed double 20, double 10 and double five in turn. Then, given another three darts for victory, Wallace hit a single instead of a double five and after taking a single three fluffed one more chance at double one.
A relieved Barneveld won the leg to level the match at two sets each and secured the fifth set 3-1 against a demoralised Wallace. Barneveld also broke the Embassy record for a five-set match by having 10 180s during a compelling contest in which the Dutchman had five maximums in the first set alone and averaged 40.66 per dart yet still lost the set.
Barneveld admitted: "I was sure I was going out in that fourth set, because double 20 is Les's favourite double and I was getting ready to shake hands.
"I could only pray when he had those five match darts that he would miss. I said to myself `Please God, help me' and a miracle happened. Then I had 25 to win the set and I went nine, double eight and when the double went in I was so relieved.
"But it was an incredible match. I still cannot believe I lost the first set after having five 180s and averaging over 40 a dart."
Results, Digest, page 23