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Simon Gott 4th Jan 2015 - 10:20

Anderson ends Van Gerwens dream to set up clash with Taylor

 

GARY ANDERSON will face Phil Taylor for the William Hill World Darts Championship title on Sunday after he knocked out defending champion Michael van Gerwen 6-3 in an enthralling semi-final at Alexandra Palace, as the number two seed got the better of old rival Raymond van Barneveld with a 6-2 victory.

Taylor will go in search of an amazing 17th World Championship title in his 20th final on Sunday night when he takes on the in-form Scot, who is on course to claim the biggest title of his career.

Anderson - a former Premier League champion and the recent Players Championship Finals winner - ended van Gerwen's title defence in a brilliant semi-final clash to secure his second appearance in the final, after losing out to Adrian Lewis in 2011.

The number four seed produced a fabulous performance where he recorded a 102 average and checked out 50 percent of his doubles to prove just too good for the Dutchman, who himself averaged 101 and threw 11 180s.

In a breathless start packed with quality Scotsman Anderson raced into a 3-1 lead - just as he did 12 months ago in their third round contest, which saw van Gerwen hit back to win 4-3 on that occasion.

Again the Dutchman threatened a comeback as he produced two sets of brilliance, hitting three 180s and a 177, two 12-darters and a 118 checkout to level the game.

The seventh set, though, proved crucial as Anderson took the deciding leg to move 4-3 up in the game after four missed doubles from van Gerwen, before taking the next two to book his place in the final.

"It's nice to be in the final again and I'm enjoying my darts again," said Anderson. "It went quite well, and double tops served me well tonight.

"I was going great then there were a couple of sets that I gave to Michael and I didn't keep the pressure on and it got to 3-3, but I dug in deep and the more pressure I put on him, the more he missed.

"I shouldn't have given him a chance to get it back to 3-3 in the first place. I let him back in the game, so I just concentrated on playing the same way and just hitting the doubles.

"Last year I was fuming after losing to Michael, I had it in the bag and really did let it go so I wasn't going to do the same again."

Anderson had defeated Taylor in the final of the 2007 World Darts Trophy and five weeks ago on his way to the Players Championship Finals title, and added: "To me if you're going to win a title you have to beat Phil Taylor.

"If Phil smashes me in the final then I've been beaten by the best player in the world, but if it's a reverse then I've beaten the best player ever and that's a bigger notch on my belt.

"Phil's the best there has ever been and ever will be. In 2007 I beat Phil in a final and that's the only one I keep lodged in my mind because it was Taylor and if I did that again here it'd be one I always remember."

The night's other semi-final - a repeat of the 2007 and 2009 finals between Taylor and van Barneveld - saw the Stoke superstar prove too strong for his great rival as he progressed with a 6-2 triumph.

Van Barneveld may have found it just a game too far following his draining quarter-final win over Stephen Bunting on Friday night, as Taylor matched Anderson's 102 average and maintaining his unrivalled record of having never lost a World Championship semi-final in 20 matches over 25 years.

Taylor hit eight 180s and averaged 102.39, while a 121 finish - his first ton-plus checkout of the event - gave him the opening set as he created a 2-0 lead.

Van Barneveld hit back to level by taking six legs out of seven, but a 13-darter in the fifth set's deciding leg gave Taylor back the lead before he claimed the next three sets in ruthless fashion, including a 124 checkout, as he joined Anderson in the final.

"I feel great," said Taylor. "When I was two sets up I as buzzing, but he came back to two each and I started to struggle a little bit.

"I don't know why and I knew I had to start concentrating because it was a World Championship semi-final.

"I played some proper darts after that and Barney had to dig in deeper. I was on the nine-darter a couple of times and I'll be after it again in the final.

"It will be a scrap in the final and Gary Anderson's in for a battle. If he's going to beat me he has a fight on his hands, and I've got a fight on my hands with him.

"It's going to be a cracking final."

Sponsors William Hill make Taylor their 8/11 favourite to lift the Sid Waddell Trophy on Sunday night, with Anderson 11/10 to become World Champion for the first time.

WILLIAM HILL WORLD DARTS CHAMPIONSHIP
Saturday January 3
Semi-Finals
Michael van Gerwen 3-6 Gary Anderson
Phil Taylor 6-2 Raymond van Barneveld
Best of 11 sets

Sunday January 4
Final
Gary Anderson v Phil Taylor
Best of 13 sets

MATCH INFORMATION
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN 3-6 GARY ANDERSON
(1-3, 3-2, 1-3, 2-3, 3-0, 3-2, 2-3, 1-3, 2-3)

GARY ANDERSON secured a place in his second WIlliam Hill World Darts Championship final after producing some amazing darts in a pulsating 6-3 win over defending champion Michael van Gerwen.

Anderson - a former Premier League champion and the recent Players Championship Finals winner - ended van Gerwen's title defence in a brilliant semi-final clash to secure his second appearance in the final, after losing out to Adrian Lewis in 2011.

The number four seed produced a fabulous performance where he recorded a 102 average and checked out 50 percent of his doubles to prove just too good for the Dutchman, who himself averaged 101 and threw 11 180s.

In a breathless start packed with quality Scotsman Anderson raced into a 3-1 lead - just as he did 12 months ago in their third round contest, which saw van Gerwen hit back to win 4-3 on that occasion.

Again the Dutchman threatened a comeback as he produced two sets of brilliance, hitting three 180s and a 177, two 12-darters and a 118 checkout to level the game.

The seventh set, though, proved crucial as Anderson took the deciding leg to move 4-3 up in the game after four missed doubles from van Gerwen, before taking the next two to book his place in the final.

"It's nice to be in the final again and I'm enjoying my darts again," said Anderson. "It went quite well, and double tops served me well tonight.

"I was going great then there were a couple of sets that I gave to Michael and I didn't keep the pressure on and it got to 3-3, but I dug in deep and the more pressure I put on him, the more he missed.

"I shouldn't have given him a chance to get it back to 3-3 in the first place. I let him back in the game, so I just concentrated on playing the same way and just hitting the doubles.

"Last year I was fuming after losing to Michael, I had it in the bag and really did let it go so I wasn't going to do the same again."

Anderson had defeated Taylor in the final of the 2007 World Darts Trophy and five weeks ago on his way to the Players Championship Finals title, and added: "To me if you're going to win a title you have to beat Phil Taylor.

"If Phil smashes me in the final then I've been beaten by the best player in the world, but if it's a reverse then I've beaten the best player ever and that's a bigger notch on my belt.

"Phil's the best there has ever been and ever will be. In 2007 I beat Phil in a final and that's the only one I keep lodged in my mind because it was Taylor and if I did that again here it'd be one I always remember."

Van Gerwen hit a 180 in his second throw when taking the opening leg, but Anderson responded with three straight legs, including two 80 checkouts, to claim the set 3-1.

Anderson made it five legs in a row with a 13-dart break as he moved 2-0 up in set two, but van Gerwen produced three straight 12-dart legs - including a brace of 130 checkouts either side of an 88 finish - in a truly magical spell of darts as he levelled.

Anderson regained the lead by taking the third set 3-1 with the aid of two 180s as he maintained his perfect record of six double tops from as many attempts before defying legs of 11 and 12 darts from van Gerwen to edge a high-quality fourth set with a 14-darter in the decider to take a 3-1 sets lead.

A year ago Anderson also led 3-1 in the third round before losing out 4-3, and the memories began flooding back as van Gerwen raised his game again to draw level, taking the fifth set 3-0 with two 12-darters, a pair of 180s and a 177 score, before hitting back from 2-1 down in the sixth - after a pair of 13-dart legs from Anderson - to take out 118 and 66 to edge the set and level at three-all.

Double ten from van Gerwen put him ahead for the first time since the opening leg in set seven, but he then missed three set darts leg four and another in the decider to allow Anderson to take out tops for a 14-darter as he moved 4-3 up.

Anderson then kicked off the eighth set with a sensational ten-dart leg, before taking out 56 and 66 - inevitably on tops - to lead 5-3.

A 14-darter to break throw set up Anderson nicely in the ninth set, and though van Gerwen took out 149 and double five to move 2-1 up, the Scot hit a 180 to set up a 64 finish as he levelled before landing double eight in the decider to seal the win.

 

PHIL TAYLOR 6-2 RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD
(3-2, 3-1, 0-3, 1-3, 3-2, 3-1, 3-0, 3-1)

PHIL TAYLOR maintained his remarkable unbeaten record in World Championship semi-finals as he defeated Raymond van Barneveld 6-2 to win through to the final of the William Hill World Darts Championship against Gary Anderson.

Van Barneveld may have found it just a game too far following his draining quarter-final win over Stephen Bunting on Friday night, as Taylor matched Anderson's 102 average and maintaining his unrivalled record of having never lost a World Championship semi-final in 20 matches over 25 years.

Taylor hit eight 180s and averaged 102.39, while a 121 finish - his first ton-plus checkout of the event - gave him the opening set as he created a 2-0 lead.

Van Barneveld hit back to level by taking six legs out of seven, but a 13-darter in the fifth set's deciding leg gave Taylor back the lead before he claimed the next three sets in ruthless fashion, including a 124 checkout, as he joined Anderson in the final.

"I feel great," said Taylor. "When I was two sets up I as buzzing, but he came back to two each and I started to struggle a little bit.

"I don't know why and I knew I had to start concentrating because it was a World Championship semi-final.

"I played some proper darts after that and Barney had to dig in deeper. I was on the nine-darter a couple of times and I'll be after it again in the final.

"It will be a scrap in the final and Gary Anderson's in for a battle. If he's going to beat me he has a fight on his hands, and I've got a fight on my hands with him.

"It's going to be a cracking final."

Following a tight opening set, Taylor produced a typical hammer blow in the deciding leg with a 121 checkout on the bull - his first ton-plus finish of this year's event - to claim the lead before landing an 11-darter in the second, after teeing up a possible nine-darter with back-to-back 180s in the opening leg.

Van Barneveld, though, hit his stride in set three as a pair of 14-darters helped him take the set 3-0 to get off the mark before winning the fourth 3-1 with the aid of a ten-darter as he levelled the contest.

The Dutchman landed an 11-darter as he shared the opening four legs of a pivotal set five, with Taylor scoring 140, 140 and 137 in the deciding leg as a 13-darter moved him back ahead at 3-2.

After trading 14-darters with the Dutchman to open set six, Taylor then teed up another possible nine-dart leg with successive 180s in leg three, missing out on a perfect leg but taking that leg, and the next, in 11 darts as he opened up a 4-2 lead.

Taylor then produced legs of 13, 14 and 12 darts - with a 124 finish on the bull - as he claimed set seven without reply before taking the next 3-1 to reach the 20th World Championship final of his glittering career.

 

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