Phil Taylor faces crucial match with Michael van Gerwen at Champions League of Darts
Last Updated: 18/09/17 2:30pm
Phil Taylor won both his group matches at the Champions League of Darts but still faces a battle to qualify for the last four, while Mensur Suljovic is into the semi-finals.
Debutant Suljovic and defending champion Taylor are the only men with 100% records after Saturday's double session in Cardiff but it is only the Austrian who is assured of his place in the last four.
The Power's victories over Adrian Lewis and Raymond van Barneveld were enough to take him top of the table but after MVG beat Jackpot in the final match of the session, three men remain in with a chance of semi-final spot in Group A.
Taylor faces MVG on Sunday and knows victory will end the world No 1's hopes of winning the title for the first time, but a victory for MVG will put him level on points with Taylor and open the door for Barney, who could join them on four points if he beats Jackpot.
Group B is a more straightforward affair with Suljovic through after beating Gary Anderson and Peter Wright, who will face off in a straight shoot-out after both beat Dave Chisnall to sit on two points.
With 25 world titles between them Group A was always going to be a battle and so it has proved to be with only Lewis eliminated and the three other heavyweights all still in with a hope of lifting the trophy on Sunday.
Taylor, enjoying his final year on tour, claimed the title in the inaugural event last year, winning all five matches on his way to the trophy and he maintained his perfect record by kicking off the group stage with back-to-back victories.
The Power edged past Lewis to get off to the perfect start with a 10-7 success and he added the scalp of Barney in the evening with a dominant 10-6 victory that hinged on the Dutchman's troubles on the double when trailing 6-5.
A host of missed arrows to level the match and break went begging and Taylor punished his old nemesis, losing just one more leg on his way to the two points.
Despite maximum points Taylor could find himself edged out if he loses to MVG on Sunday and Barney beats Lewis - the top two spots would then come down to leg difference - although victory for The Power will end Van Gerwen's hopes of an inaugural title
Taylor's match with MVG is a repeat of last year's Cardiff final and the Matchplay quarter-final earlier this year which The Power also won on his way to a 16th title in Blackpool in July and victory for The Power will knock out the world no 1 from the festivities in Cardiff.
MVG has it all to do after a slow start that saw him beaten by Van Barneveld whose combination finishing was sublime and gave the five-time world champion a 10-5 victory in his first match in the event.
Van Gerwen made amends later in the evening by hammering Lewis and the 10-4 victory could prove pivotal if leg difference comes into play
Champions League of Darts - Group A
|2.||Raymond van Barneveld||2||2||+1|
|3.||Michael van Gerwen||2||2||+1|
|Michael van Gerwen||Results|
|Phil Taylor||10-7||Adrian Lewis|
|Michael van Gerwen||5-10||Raymond van Barneveld|
|Phil Taylor||10-6||Raymond van Barneveld|
|Michael van Gerwen||10-4||Adrian Lewis|
In Group B, Suljovic is the unlikely man to have booked his place in the semi-final with one game to spare after a spectacular debut in the tournament.
The Austrian blew away two-time world champion Anderson in the afternoon session, losing just three legs on his way to victory and he followed up with a hugely impressive 10-8 triumph over UK Open champion Peter Wright.
That victory, coming after Anderson had beat Chisnall means Anderson and Wright will duke it out in Sunday's afternoon session with a place alongside Suljovic in the final four at stake.
Anderson bounced back from his 10-3 defeat to Suljovic with a 10-7 victory over Chizzy in the opening match of the evening session while Wright beat him 10-5 in the first match of the day.
It all means that Chisnall joins Lewis in early elimination with one game to spare while Sunday will see the tournament continue with three of the four games in the afternoon crucial to qualification for the evening semi-final and final action.
Champions League of Darts - Group B
|1.||Mensur Suljovic (Q)||2||4||+9|
|Peter Wright||10-5||Dave Chisnall|
|Mensur Suljovic||10-3||Gary Anderson|
|Gary Anderson||10-7||Dave Chisnall|
|Peter Wright||8-10||Mensur Suljovic|