- World Matchplay
Taylor into Matchplay final against Van Gerwen
Phil Taylor continued his quest for a 15th World Matchplay title as he defeated Gary Anderson to set up a final encounter with Michael van Gerwen in Blackpool.
Taylor was in irrepressible form in a 17-14 victory over Anderson at the Winter Gardens, while Van Gerwen edged a thriller against Simon Whitlock.
A nip-and-tuck match between Taylor and Anderson reached 10 legs each, but after a mid-session break, Taylor came out fighting. He took the 21st leg with an 11-darter before a 146 finish in leg 22 came on the back of some desperate misfortune for Anderson, as his second dart got stuck in the flight of his first dart on the board, ruining a potential checkout of his own.
Another 11-darter followed for Taylor as he extended his lead to 14-11 and it seemed he would seal his place in the final when he left himself double 18 for the match. Incredibly, he missed four darts at a finish before Anderson took out double tops to keep himself alive.
Resilient as ever, Taylor finished on an 81 checkout to clinch the match 17-15.
Earlier, Van Gerwen and Whitlock had a similarly tight tussle until the Dutchman pulled away, winning four consecutive legs to move from a 13-13 tie to a 17-13 victory.
Whitlock looked devastated when he failed to take out 70 and punish a Van Gerwen slip at 16-13, leaving the Dutchman to checkout on double 3 to reach his first every Matchplay final.
"It's such a fantastic tournament," said Van Gerwen to Sky Sports. "Simon made it difficult for me early on, I couldn't find my rhythm. I struggle when people are playing a little slower than normal, we all know that, but I think I did really well when I needed to.
"It's a big thing for me [to reach the final]. I've got one more match on this stage."
Whitlock was dismayed at having missed out on a place in the final. "I tried my best but I'm really not happy with the way I played - I threw too many bad darts," he said. "I hit a couple of good finishes but I could have won that match.
"A few checkouts, a few bad shots at the wrong time - the start of my legs [on throw] were no good; 59, 60, no good. You can't do that."