Phil Taylor sets up World Matchplay final with Peter Wright in Blackpool
Phil Taylor wins 17-9 while Peter Wright reaches his maiden final in Blackpool
By Raz Mirza
Last Updated: 31/07/17 11:08am
Phil Taylor continued his remarkable quest for a 16th World Matchplay title after crushing Adrian Lewis to set up a meeting with Peter Wright on Sunday.
Taylor's bid for a fairy-tale ending in his final appearance at the Winter Gardens had already seen him overcome Gerwyn Price and Raymond van Barneveld this week before Friday's clinical demolition of world champion Michael van Gerwen.
And the challenge continued in ruthless fashion against his Stoke-on-Trent stablemate Lewis with a sensational 17-9 victory while 'Snakebite' secured a 17-15 win over Daryl Gurney.
Lewis was playing in his fourth World Matchplay semi-final, and having undergone surgery on a back problem earlier this month the world No 4 has played above himself to progress to the last four. And he made an electrifying start, but wired double five for a 4-1 lead. That miss allowed Taylor to stay in touch.
Lewis struck a neat 72 finish against the darts to move 5-4 up, but it was the in-form 56-year-old who found double six to level things up in what was turning into a highly-intoxicating encounter.
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'Jackpot', playing his fourth World Matchplay semi-final, was hanging on the coattails of Taylor and it seemed inevitable when the 16-time world champion broke his opponent's resistance before establishing a 10-7 lead. A superb 11-dart leg enabled him to win the session 4-1 and build a 12-8 advantage.
Lewis was wilting under the pressure and he could only manage to win one of the next seven legs as Taylor's two-dart combinations helped him reach his 107th and final match on Sunday where his record stands at 98 wins and just eight losses.
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"I'm over the moon," said Taylor, who averaged 102.74 and struck an impressive 27 140s and eight maximums during his comprehensive win. "My mindset was to keep Adrian under pressure. I knew he was shattered, so I had to take advantage.
"I did well. I haven't played like that for a long time and it's my last day at the Winter Gardens tomorrow, I'm going out with a bang."
Taylor's opponent on Sunday will be world No 3 Wright - March's UK Open champion - who fought off the challenge of Northern Ireland's Gurney in a tight and tense contest.
Gurney, who won through to the last four in Blackpool for the first time, made the more composed start in the race to 17 legs, and quickly opened up a 4-1 advantage as Wright looked unusually off-colour.
But the third seed came back on stage to rally and complete a whitewash session with a neat 65 checkout to lead his stunned opponent, 6-4.
Wright took out finishes of 80 and then 90 in the next leg to extend his advantage before Gurney stopped the rot in the 13th leg.
The 31-year-old from Derry seemed to be unhappy with the slow pace of the game Wright was setting and appeared to exchange words at one point. Wright didn't seem bothered though, and landed a stupendous 108 checkout, before Gurney responded to win the last leg before the interval to stay in touch at 9-6 down.
Wright missed 16 arrows at doubles in two legs, but won them both to move 11-6 up, before a Gurney spurt dragged him to within one leg of the Scotsman at 11-10 and 12-11. The Premier League finalist piled on the pressure with three straight legs to edge towards the magical mark of 17.
Gurney would not go away, though, and crushed in the biggest checkout of the match with a 118 before moving to within one again at 15-14 and then 16-15. But Wright stayed calm and composed to win the match with a delightful two-dart 96 to reach his maiden World Matchplay final.
Watch the final of the World Matchplay Darts between Peter Wright and Phil Taylor at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool from 7pm on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Action on Sunday night, or watch for £6.99 without a contract on NOW TV.
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