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Craig Porter 2nd Jan 2010 - 8:03

PDC World Championships heading for a repeat final

Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld romped into the semi-finals of the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship without dropping a set to kick off 2010 in style at Alexandra Palace.

The pair, who competed in last year's final, remain on a collision course to meet again in this year's decider on Sunday after powering into the last four of the £1 million event.

Taylor dropped only four legs in a 5-0 defeat of his former practice partner in Stoke Adrian Lewis, who had impressed in reaching the quarter-finals but ultimately paid the price for one missed dart to win the opening set.

Taylor then took nine successive legs in sweeping into a four-set lead before edging the fifth to complete the rout, recording the highest average of the tournament so far at 107.37 in setting up a semi-final with former Lakeside Champion Mark Webster on Saturday night.

"I finished well and matched him for 180s," said Taylor. "I thought it was a great match, like a boxing match - I had to take the hits and hit him back, sometimes he hit me back too.

"Every time I was on a finish I had to take it out, which I did.

"I'm expecting Mark to play well and I'm going to hit him with everything I can in the semis. That's what this game is all about, because he'll whack you and I'll have a big push against Mark."

Van Barneveld was similarly impressive in restricting Ronnie Baxter to just three legs in his five-set romp.

The Dutchman, who was diagnosed as diabetic last summer, showed signs of fatigue in his third round win over Kevin Painter but hardly broke sweat in a comfortable victory against the number seven seed.

"I had a nice rest on Thursday and felt a lot better," said van Barneveld, who has dropped just one set in the tournament and now meets Simon Whitlock in the semis.

"I've known Simon for years and he's a fantastic guy who I like so much. He practises for eight or ten hours a day and has caused a lot of upsets in the last three to five years, and it will be a cracker.

"He's been playing awesome darts all week but I can improve and if I believe in myself who knows what can happen."

Whitlock had powered into the semis earlier in the day with a thrilling 5-3 win over James Wade, averaging 105, hitting 15 maximums and a 170 finish in a superb display.

Webster earned his place in the last four in his first tilt at the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship by seeing off Co Stompe 5-3, taking a 4-0 lead before the Dutchman threatened a miracle comeback.

Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship
Quarter-Finals
Mark Webster 5-3 Co Stompe
Simon Whitlock 5-3 James Wade
Raymond van Barneveld 5-0 Ronnie Baxter
Phil Taylor 5-0 Adrian Lewis

Semi-Finals (7.30pm Saturday)
Raymond van Barneveld v Simon Whitlock
Phil Taylor v Mark Webster
Best of 11 sets, best of five legs per set

RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD 5-0 RONNIE BAXTER
(3-0, 3-0, 3-1, 3-0, 3-2)
RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD cruised into the semi-finals of the 2010 Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship with a 5-0 thrashing of Ronnie Baxter.

Baxter failed to find the form he had produced in his previous matches in allowing the Dutchman to make comfortable progress to a semi-final meeting with Simon Whitlock at Alexandra Palace.

The Dutchman had struggled against tiredness in seeing off Kevin Painter in the last 16, but showed no ill-effects in sweeping to a third straight-sets win of the tournament so far.

Van Barneveld won the first leg of the match in impressive fashion by hitting the bullseye to convert an 85 finish, and the next two legs also went in his favour as he wrapped up the first set with ease.

The second set followed a similar pattern as van Barneveld doubled his lead without dropping a leg, winning the first leg with a 12-darter after recording an 81 finish, the second in 15 darts and the third on double top to extend his cushion.

Van Barneveld won a seventh leg on the trot to make a winning start to the third set before Baxter finally got off the mark with a 13-dart finish to win the second leg.

The five-time World Champion hit his third maximum of the game in process of taking a 2-1 lead, and then won the set in the fourth leg by hitting double eight to leave Baxter with a mountain to climb.

Van Barneveld continued to dominate as he broke throw at the start of the fourth set courtesy of a 93 finish. He then won the second leg with an accurate dart at double 16 after Baxter had missed an opportunity at the same bed.

Van Barneveld hit an 80 finish in the third to give him the set after Baxter missed two more chances at double 16, before the Dutchman won the opening leg of the fifth set.

Baxter hit a 180 in the process of taking just his second leg of the match to level in 13 darts, and then recorded a 120 checkout to ahead in a set for the first time.

But van Barneveld won the fourth leg with an 88 finish and closed out the game with a clinical two-dart 100 checkout.

"I felt much better up on stage today," revealed van Barneveld. "In my last game I didn't feel good and was uncomfortable but I had a nice rest on Thursday.

"I have known Simon Whitlock for many years - and he is a fantastic guy. He's beaten me and Phil Taylor before in the International Darts League, so it’s no surprise to see him do well here.

"He's been playing awesome darts all week but I can improve and if I believe in myself who knows what can happen."

PHIL TAYLOR 5-0 ADRIAN LEWIS
(3-2, 3-0, 3-0, 3-0, 3-2)
PHIL TAYLOR stormed into the semi-finals of the 2010 Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship with a superb display to end the hopes Adrian Lewis with a straight sets rout.

Taylor ended the match with a three-dart average of 107.37, the highest of the tournament so far, in booking a semi-final meeting with Mark Webster on Saturday night.

Lewis had impressed in his previous three matches, but ultimately paid the price for one missed dart at double top to take the first set as Taylor powered clear with 11 successive legs in setting up the win.

Lewis won a competitive opening leg with a two-dart 58 finish before Taylor won the second leg by hitting double three.

The Stoke youngster then went 2-1 up with an impressive 13-dart finish but the world number one held throw to win the fourth leg by hitting double top.

A dramatic deciding leg saw Lewis hit a maximum only for Taylor to hit two 180s on the spin. Lewis was first to the finish, but his dart at double top fell just short for a 104 finish and Taylor stepped to convert an 81 finish - hitting double 12 with his last dart to snatch the crucial opening set.

Taylor defied a maximum from Lewis to win the first leg of the second set and won the second with a 79 finish after Lewis missed two attempts at double top.

The set was then sealed with a two-dart 48 finish before Taylor made a winning start to the third set, courtesy of a 13-dart finish.

Taylor hit two 180s in the process of winning the second leg and then hit two more in the third leg, in a superb 12-darter to establish a 3-0 advantage in the contest.

Taylor continued his run of wining legs by taking the first of the fourth set, defying a sixth maximum of the game from the 24-year-old.

Taylor, who has only dropped one set so far in the tournament, then won the second leg by hitting double eight to break throw and the third with the aid of another 180 to go 4-0 up thanks to a run of 11 successive legs.

Lewis won his first leg since the middle of the first set at the start of the fifth with a 64 finish for a 12-darter, but Taylor replied with a 62 checkout of his own to level.

The youngster took the third leg after hitting double ten, but Taylor won the fourth with a classy 108 checkout, and again found the goods in the deciding leg, defying a 180 from Lewis with scores of 174 and 180 of his own before checking out double eight for a 12-darter to seal an emphatic win.

"I didn't feel nervous at all about this - more excited than anything," revealed Taylor. "I felt very relaxed out there and I didn't give Adrian many opportunities.

"I finished well and matched him for 180s, and every time I was on a finish I had to take it out, which I did."

He added: "I'm expecting Mark to play well and I'm going to hit him with everything I can in the semis. That's what this game is all about, because he'll whack you and I'll have a big push against Mark.

"He hasn't really got the breaks since his moved to the PDC and he really deserves his place in the semi-finals. He is a former World Champion, which some people seem to forget."

Lewis admitted: "Phil was too good but I don't think the scoreline reflected the game. I had a shot at 104 for the first set and I wired the double top, and he took out 81, and that hurt.

"I was chasing straight away, which doesn't help, but I've got to take my hat off to him because he was fantastic. Six of the ten 180s he hit were in the final leg of a set."

 
 
 

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