Taylor sets up Anderson clash
Reigning World Matchplay champion Phil Taylor cruised past Wes Newton on Friday into the semi-finals, where he will face Gary Anderson, who upset Adrian Lewis.
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Taylor, a 14-time winner of the event, raced into a 2-0 lead but Newton won the next four legs to give the Blackpool crowd the prospect of a quarter-final upset.
However Taylor won seven legs on the bounce – including a 160 finish in the ninth leg - to open up a 9-4 advantage.
While Newton hit double 16 to finally break the run, Taylor won the next three legs before Newton took out a 149 finish to make it 12-6.
But Taylor, chasing a seventh straight title, was not to be denied and he closed out a 16-6 win with double eight.
The No 2 seed, who finished with a 99.73 average and 40 per cent record on the doubles, told Sky Sports: “I’m feeling good. Wes is a tough cookie - trust me he was up there to win.
“You know, he was giving it large and he was 3-2 up and I was worried. He was up for winning.
“I think when he started losing it got his head down.”
Earlier on Friday night, Anderson thrashed third seed and last year’s finalist Adrian Lewis 16-8, hitting 55 per cent of his doubles and averaging 100.63 in the win.
Anderson hit a 84 two-dart finish to win the first leg against the darts and he never looked back, holding his throw and then hitting double top to break again to establish a commanding 3-0 lead.
Although Lewis won the next two legs - including taking out a 104 finish - to reduce the arrears to 3-2, Anderson hit double top, double 10 and double 4 to go 6-2 up.
Lewis then gave himself a lifeline with a double 12 to make it 6-3 but Anderson responded with an 11-dart leg to lead 7-3 and hit double top twice more to storm to 9-3 ahead.
Lewis took three of the next four legs to trail just 10-6 but he missed three darts at double eight and Anderson made him pay, sinking tops to go five legs ahead and then hitting tops again to lead 12-6.
The 11th seed lost just two more legs as he closed out the match in style with an 11-dart leg but he played down his performance afterwards, insisting: “I thought it was a bad game – I thought Aidy was rubbish and my rubbish was a wee bit better.”
Taylor is relishing the clash against Anderson, while No 1 seed Michael van Gerwen takes on Simon Whitlock in the other semi-final.
“I think you’ve got a cracking semi-final both sides to be honest with you," said Taylor. "Simon against Michael’s going to be a cracker, it really is.
“I think Simon’s up for this, I think Michael is, I am and I think Gary is as well so I think anybody who's a darts fan, you’re in for a treat.”