• Players Championship

Van Gerwen comeback stuns Taylor

ESPN staff
December 1, 2013
Michael van Gerwen beat Phil Taylor 11-7 © Getty Images

Michael van Gerwen produced a stunning turnaround to fight back from 6-3 down and beat Phil Taylor 11-7 in the Players Championship final.

The 16-time world champion looked ominous when he opened up a three-leg advantage with double 16 for 5-2. The pair then traded legs, before Van Gerwen launched his comeback.

Double 16 saw him cut the gap to two legs, before completing a 12-darter on double four to make his first break. Van Gerwen then levelled, taking out 71 in two darts on double 16.

The reigning champion was unable to take out 100 after a 180 in the next leg, allowing the Dutchman to go in front.

The next three legs all went Van Gerwen's way as he moved to the brink of glory, but Taylor kept his hopes alive by reducing the deficit to 10-7, opening with 177 and hitting double 16 to win his first leg in eight. But Van Gerwen hit a 177 himself, leaving 24, and he took out double 12 to win the title.

Earlier, Taylor had booked his place in the final after seeing off Justin Pipe 10-4. The first eight legs followed throw with Pipe pegging Taylor back four times. However after Taylor took out 103 on double 12 to go ahead again, he then finally broke for a 6-4 lead with a 132 bullseye finish.

Taylor did not lose another leg as he closed out the match. At 9-4 he threatened a nine-darter, making 180 and 177 to leave himself 144, then hitting treble 20 again before wiring his eighth dart. However he hit double eight for a 10-darter and a place in the final.

Van Gerwen sealed a comfortable 10-5 victory in his semi-final against Andy Hamilton. The Dutchman maintained control of the tie throughout, taking a 3-0 lead before Hamilton hit tops to win his first leg.

The pair traded legs before Van Gerwen stretched his lead to four legs, breaking on double eight after both players missed two darts at double 16. Hamilton battled to within two legs of the lead, landing a 180 before hitting tops. However, Van Gerwen moved to within one leg of victory, going 9-4 up with a 116 finish. He was made to wait with Hamilton hitting tops with his third dart to keep the game alive, however Van Gerwen then took out 76 on tops to move into the final.

Taylor had earlier crushed Raymond van Barneveld 9-2 to cruise into the semi-finals, with Pipe beating Gary Anderson 9-7.

In Sunday's other earlier quarter-final matches, Van Gerwen overcame Wes Newton 9-4 in the opening game, while Hamilton edged a 9-6 victory over Ian White.

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