World Matchplay: Adrian Lewis to play Phil Taylor in final at Winter Gardens
Adrian Lewis and Phil Taylor will contest an all-Stoke BetVictor World Matchplay final in Blackpool on Sunday.
Last Updated: 29/07/13 5:49pm
Lewis booked his place in a first final at Winter Gardens with an epic 17-15 victory over Michael van Gerwen, while Taylor was forced to dig deep before overcoming James Wade 17-12.
Taylor is now one win away from a 14th World Matchplay title, having never lost in his previous 13 finals.
Two-time world champion Lewis, who beat Andy Hamilton 19-17 in the quarter-finals, flew out of the blocks against Van Gerwen, recording 121 and 119 checkouts in successive legs to race into a 4-1 lead.
Van Gerwen regrouped well but back-to-back 180s from Lewis in leg 10 helped him into a 6-4 lead at the second interval.
Lewis took the next two legs, but a missed dart for a 9-4 lead came back to haunt him as an inspired Van Gerwen landed a 164 finish before levelling at 8-8.
'The Jackpot' had never trailed in the contest but that changed when, after missing two darts at double top for a 13-10 lead, Van Gerwen produced a scintillating 121 finish to move 15-14 in front.
The match looked the Dutchman's to lose at that point, but Lewis refused to give up, levelling on double seven and winning the match on the same number.
Speaking to Sky Sports afterwards, Lewis said: "I've shut up the critics again and I'm looking forward to the final. I've told you I was one of the best before and I've proved it tonight. I just need to maintain it now."
Taylor was pushed much closer, squandering a 7-2 lead to Wade, who hit a 146 finish in the 16th leg and then levelled the match at 10-10 before 'The Power' pulled clear.
Taylor averaged 107.61 - the highest of the tournament so far - and admitted his relief to come through.
He said: "I was steady. It was a strange game. James stuck in there and his 146 was like a smack on the chin. His nickname is 'The Machine' and he is.
"When your back's against the ropes you've got to come out fighting and that's what I did."