Phil Taylor secures Japan Darts Masters crown
Last Updated: 29/06/15 11:12am
Phil Taylor produced a superb performance to claim the title in the inaugural Zipang Casino Japan Darts Masters by defeating Peter Wright 8-7 in a thrilling final in Yokohama on Sunday.
Taylor followed up Saturday's win over Masumi Chino with victories over Raymond van Barneveld, Gary Anderson and Wright to pick up his fourth PDC World Series of Darts title.
The quarter-finals had initially seen Michael van Gerwen defy a 10-dart finish from Stephen Bunting to average 106.34 in an 8-5 victory, before Wright averaged 103 and hit two 121 checkouts in seeing off Adrian Lewis.
Taylor then overcame Van Barneveld 8-3 - aided by taking the game's opening five legs without reply - before Anderson was at his clinical best to overcome James Wade 8-1.
The semi-finals proved dramatic as Wright firstly edged out Van Gerwen 8-7 in a classic to win through to his second World Series of Darts final.
The Scot led 3-0 before Van Gerwen hit back to move 6-4 up - but Wright drew back level and took the game into a decider before finishing a spectacular 141 checkout to snatch victory.
The second semi-final proved equally dramatic, with world champion Anderson leading 3-1 against Taylor before the Stoke legend hit back to move 4-3 and 6-5 up in a see-saw contest, taking out a party-piece 125 checkout which included two bullseyes before the Scot took out 140 with two double tops.
As the game headed into a decider, Taylor landed a crucial 180 before finishing double seven for a 13-darter to move into the final.
Taylor continued that momentum as he took a two-leg lead over Wright, who hit back to level at two-all with the aid of a brace of 180s in an 11-darter.
Taylor, though, took the next five legs in ruthless fashion, including a 120 checkout, as he moved to the brink of the title at 7-2 - only for Wright to mount a fightback which brought the 1,000-strong crowd to its feet.
Wright took out finishes of 108, 121 and 129 to keep his hopes alive and then finished double eight and tops as Taylor was punished for missing three match darts.
Taylor, though, again proved too strong in a deciding leg as he recovered from two further missed match darts - at tops - by landing double 10 to secure the trophy.
"It's very special to be the first winner in Japan and I've put a huge amount of effort in this week," said Taylor. "The semi-finals and finals were two of the toughest games I could have had and it shows how darts is progressing now.
"The Gary Anderson game was an incredible match and the win over Peter was very special and very tough. He did brilliantly to beat Michael van Gerwen and gave me a real run for my money in the final.
"When he was coming back at me in the final, even though I was trying to win every leg it was in my mind that I had the throw in the final leg, and it went to the last leg!
"I've loved every minute of it and the crowds were brilliant. I didn't think they'd be as animated as they were and it was like a rock concert at times, and they gave every player fantastic support."