Unibet European Championship Draw/Schedule

Unibet European Championship Draw/Schedule

Unibet European Championship Draw/Schedule
Photo; Lawrence Lustig/PDC

MICHAEL VAN GERWEN will begin his bid to win a fourth successive Unibet European Championship title with an all-Dutch tie against Jan Dekker in Belgium on Thursday October 26.

World number one Van Gerwen has claimed European Championship glory for the past three years, including last year’s crushing 11-1 win over Mensur Suljovic in the final with a record-breaking display.

Van Gerwen has won six of this year’s 12 European Tour to earn the top seeding for the European Championship in Hasselt, which will be held from October 26-29 live on ITV4.

He will face Dutchman Dekker on the opening night of the tournament, with the former PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour event winner having qualified for his European Championship debut this year.

Two other all-Dutch ties see Jelle Klaasen take on Christian Kist in a battle of former Lakeside Champions, while Benito van de Pas takes on Vincent van der Voort.

Number two seed Peter Wright, who has won five European Tour events this year, will play Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski when they enter the tournament on Friday October 27, while Gibraltar Darts Trophy champion Michael Smith, seeded third, takes on debutant Nathan Aspinall.

Suljovic will begin his challenge at the Ethias Arena against Belgium’s Kim Huybrechts, who could face brother Ronny in round two if the elder sibling can overcome Gerwyn Price in their first round tie.

The tournament’s other Belgian qualifier, Dimitri Van den Bergh, drew Welsh debutant Jonny Clayton, while World Grand Prix champion Daryl Gurney plays 2009 finalist Steve Beaton.

2012 European Championship winner Simon Whitlock drew James Richardson, while Joe Cullen drew Stephen Bunting and debutants Rob Cross – the sixth seed – and Martin Schindler also clash.

Ian White drew Darren Webster, Alan Norris plays Mervyn King and John Henderson takes on Kyle Anderson, while Dave Chisnall comes up against Spain’s Cristo Reyes.

The players in the top half of the draw will compete in the first round on Thursday evening and the second round on Friday evening, with the players in the bottom half of the draw in action on Friday afternoon and then Saturday evening.

The quarter-finals will be held in the afternoon session on Sunday October 29, with the semi-finals and final in the evening session at the Ethias Arena in Hasselt, Belgium.

Tickets for the Unibet European Championship are available from www.pdc-europe.tv.

2017 Unibet European Championship
Michael van Gerwen (1) v Jan Dekker
Ian White v Darren Webster
Simon Whitlock (8) v James Richardson
Alan Norris v Mervyn King
Jelle Klaasen (5) v Christian Kist
John Henderson v Kyle Anderson
Mensur Suljovic (4) v Kim Huybrechts
Gerwyn Price v Ronny Huybrechts
Peter Wright (2) v Krzysztof Ratajski
Jonny Clayton v Dimitri Van den Bergh
Joe Cullen (7) v Stephen Bunting
Daryl Gurney v Steve Beaton
Rob Cross (6) v Martin Schindler
Dave Chisnall v Cristo Reyes
Michael Smith (3) v Nathan Aspinall
Benito van de Pas v Vincent van der Voort

Schedule of Play
Thursday October 26 (8pm local time, 7pm UK time)
First Round
Gerwyn Price v Ronny Huybrechts
Alan Norris v Mervyn King
Ian White v Darren Webster
John Henderson v Kyle Anderson
Simon Whitlock (8) v James Richardson
Mensur Suljovic (4) v Kim Huybrechts
Michael van Gerwen (1) v Jan Dekker
Jelle Klaasen (5) v Christian Kist

Friday October 27
Afternoon Session (1.45pm local time, 12.45pm UK time)
First Round
Jonny Clayton v Dimitri Van den Bergh
Dave Chisnall v Cristo Reyes
Benito van de Pas v Vincent van der Voort
Daryl Gurney v Steve Beaton
Michael Smith (3) v Nathan Aspinall
Rob Cross (6) v Martin Schindler
Joe Cullen (7) v Stephen Bunting
Peter Wright (2) v Krzysztof Ratajski

Evening Session (8pm local time, 7pm UK time)
Second Round
Klaasen/Kist v Henderson/Anderson
Whitlock/Richardson v Norris/King
Van Gerwen/Dekker v White/Webster
Suljovic/K Huybrechts v Price/R Huybrechts

Saturday October 28 (8pm local time, 7pm UK time)
Second Round
Smith/Aspinall v Van de Pas/Can der Voort
Cross/Schindler v Chisnall/Reyes
Cullen/Bunting v Gurney/Beaton
Wright/Ratajski v Clayton/Van den Bergh

Sunday October 29
Afternoon Session (1.45pm local time, 12.45pm UK time)
Quarter-Finals

Evening Session (8pm local time, 7pm UK time)
Semi-Finals
Final

Format
First Round – Best of 11 legs
Second Round – Best of 19 legs
Quarter-Finals – Best of 19 legs
Semi-Finals – Best of 21 legs
Final – Best of 21 legs

Unibet Outright Winner Odds
4/6 Michael van Gerwen
9/2 Peter Wright
14/1 Mensur Suljovic
18/1 Daryl Gurney
20/1 Rob Cross
25/1 Michael Smith
28/1 Dave Chisnall
50/1 Joe Cullen, Kim Huybrechts, Gerwyn Price, Simon Whitlock
66/1 Kyle Anderson, Benito van de Pas
80/1 Jelle Klaasen, Darren Webster
100/1 Mervyn King, Alan Norris, Cristo Reyes, Ian White
150/1 Jonny Clayton, Christian Kist, Krzysztof Ratajski, Dimitri Van den Bergh
200/1 Steve Beaton, Stephen Bunting, John Henderson, Ronny Huybrechts, James Richardson, Martin Schindler, Vincent van der Voort
250/1 Jan Dekker
300/1 Nathan Aspinall
Odds courtesy www.unibet.co.uk and correct at time of writing. Subject to fluctuation.

20th European Tour Triumph for Van Gerwen

20th European Tour Triumph for Van Gerwen

20th European Tour Triumph for Van Gerwen
Photo; PDC Europe

MICHAEL VAN GERWEN defeated Rob Cross in the final of the HappyBet European Darts Trophy on Sunday in Gottingen to claim an incredible 20th career European Tour title.

The world number one triumphed 6-4 in the decider to clinch his sixth European Tour success of 2017, as he secured his position as the number one seed for the Unibet European Championship later this month.

Having dropped just two legs in three matches on Sunday to reach the final, Van Gerwen found himself behind against Cross before firing in a sublime 160 checkout in leg two.

Cross edged back ahead but consecutive finishes of 68 and 100 saw the World Champion take the lead for the first time.

Players Championship Order of Merit winner Cross landed double nine to cancel out Van Gerwen’s break, but the Dutchman responded with his only maximum of the final, before landing tops to move 4-3 in front.

Van Gerwen then added a third hundred-plus checkout, this time finishing 150 to move to brink of victory, but Cross produced a 180 and pinned double 16 to keep his hopes alive.

Reigning European Champion Van Gerwen would not be denied the £25,000 winner’s cheque, however, as he finished the job on double five.

“I’m very happy to have won this tournament and I felt great all weekend,” said Van Gerwen, who bounced back from a first round exit at the World Grand Prix.

“I decided to take a holiday after losing in Dublin and it paid off. I feel refreshed and ready for the big part of the season – that started with winning this tournament.

“Rob has had a great season but I always feel confident against whoever I play and they know it is a different game against me. I pulled out some big shots at the right times and that is why I won the final.”

After defeating Zoran Lerchbacher on Saturday, Van Gerwen continued a dominant run to the decider 24 hours later.

The Dutch ace saw off Stephen Bunting 6-1 before whitewashing Joe Cullen to reach the semi-finals.

There, he averaged 110.39 in a 6-1 success over World Grand Prix finalist Simon Whitlock, with the aid of a 124 checkout on the bullseye.

Cross, who has won four ProTour titles in 2017, continued his excellent debut season with a run to his second European Tour final.

After averaging over 105 in a 6-2 victory over Keegan Brown, he then defeated 2017 Gibraltar Darts Trophy winner Michael Smith 6-3 in the quarter-finals.

Cross then completed his 6-1 triumph against Kim Huybrechts with a 115 finish, as the Hastings star moved into the decider.

Huybrechts had produced his best performance of the day in a 6-4 quarter-final defeat of Dave Chisnall, where Belgium’s number one landed six 180s – after earlier defying an average of 110.59 from Peter Wright to win their last 16 match 6-3.

Whitlock followed up his run to the final of the World Grand Prix with another impressive showing, defeating Jan Dekker and Andy Boulton on Sunday to reach his third European Tour semi-final of the year.

Boulton’s exceptional run came to end at the hands of the Australian but only after the Stoke thrower had added Vincent van der Voort to his list of conquests – following victories against Kevin Painter and World Grand Prix Champion Daryl Gurney in reaching the final day.

Cullen had beaten Alan Norris to reach the last eight, where he suffered a crushing defeat to Van Gerwen.

Smith and Chisnall both enjoyed 6-3 victories in the last 16 against Jonny Clayton and Jelle Klaasen respectively, but neither managed to progress any further.

The HappyBet European Darts Trophy was the final European Tour event of the year, with Van Gerwen winning six of the 12 tournaments.

World number two Wright won five titles, with Smith being the only other player to taste success in 2017.

Van Gerwen added: “Peter Wright was doing really well at the start of the year but when the real Michael turned up I was the best.”

HappyBet European Darts Trophy
Sunday October 15
Afternoon Session
Third Round
Michael Smith 6-3 Jonny Clayton
Rob Cross 6-2 Keegan Brown
Dave Chisnall 6-3 Jelle Klaasen
Kim Huybrechts 6-3 Peter Wright
Simon Whitlock 6-2 Jan Dekker
Andy Boulton 6-4 Vincent van der Voort
Joe Cullen 6-2 Alan Norris
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Stephen Bunting

Evening Session
Quarter-Finals
Rob Cross 6-3 Michael Smith
Kim Huybrechts 6-4 Dave Chisnall
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Andy Boulton
Michael van Gerwen 6-0 Joe Cullen

Semi-Finals
Rob Cross 6-1 Kim Huybrechts
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Simon Whitlock

Final
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Rob Cross

Unibet World Grand Prix – Gutsy Gurney's Unibet World Grand Prix Glory

Unibet World Grand Prix – Gutsy Gurney’s Unibet World Grand Prix Glory

Unibet World Grand Prix – Gutsy Gurney's Unibet World Grand Prix Glory
Photo; Lawrence Lustig/PDC

DARYL GURNEY claimed his first televised title with glory at the Unibet World Grand Prix as he produced a fine comeback to defeat Simon Whitlock 5-4 in a deciding set in Saturday’s final at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin.

The Northern Irish ace has broken into the world’s elite in the last 12 months, and wrote his name into the history books as he claimed the £100,000 top prize in the double-start tournament.

Whitlock had come from 3-2 down to lead 4-3, but Gurney claimed the final two sets as he emotionally took the title.

The Australian edged the opening two sets before Gurney hit back with three in a row to move 3-2 up, landing five ton-plus checkouts as he hit the front.

The Northern Irish ace – appearing in his first televised ranking final – crucially missed one dart at a double to win each of the next two sets as Whitlock regained the edge at 4-3.

Gurney claimed set eight 3-1 and led in the final set before the pair traded 112 checkouts, but the Northern Irish ace would not be denied as he landed double ten to claim the title before breaking down in tears as he celebrated the win.

“I’m lost for words – I can’t believe it, I really can’t,” said Gurney, who also moves up to a career-high sixth on the PDC Order of Merit.

“It feels better than anything else I’ve ever felt in my life. Dreams do come true and this is a dream.

“I wanted to come up here tonight and play my best game but giving Simon the first set got me more determined. I still had the belief in me that I could come back when I was 2-0 down.

“Simon played brilliantly tonight and he may have won against somebody else but I was so determined. He’d played better than me during the week but I knew that I could do better tonight and I wasn’t going to give up.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling. I’ve done my best in every game and I fought in every single leg all week.”

Gurney capitalised on a miss at tops from Whitlock to take out 72 for the opening leg and extended his lead on double 16 before the Australian fired his challenge with a 180 in leg three.

Double 16 got Whitlock off the mark, before he capitalised on four missed set darts from Gurney to force a decider, where the Northern Irish ace missed a further five darts for the set to allow his rival to post double one to lead.

Whitlock opened set two with scores of 146, 140 and 140 but failed to kill off the leg as Gurney stepped in with a superb 156 checkout to move ahead.

The Australian responded with two 180s and double six, with the pair trading the next two before Whitlock claimed the decider with the aid of another maximum and double nine to move two sets up.

Gurney began set three with another ton-plus finish as he took out 110, with Whitlock levelling on double eight before missing tops for a 120 checkout as the Northern Irishman stepped back in on double 16.

Gurney then sealed the set by taking out 126 on the bull to pull back to 2-1 in the contest.

He then squared the match by taking the fourth set 3-1, punishing misses from Whitlock in the opening two legs before responding to the Australian’s 70 finish by taking out 95 for the set.

Whitlock opened the fifth set with a 90 finish, only to see Gurney take out 110 and 104 – taking his tally of ton-plus checkouts to five for the game – to move 2-1 up.

Whitlock landed a 180 and double 16 to take the set to a decider, but missed three darts – at double top and ten – to win the set as Gurney returned on double 16 to move 3-2 up by claiming his third successive set.

Whitlock took the opening two legs of set six, but missed double 18 for the set in the third as Gurney took out 100 to respond and double ten to level, only to miss a set dart at double eight to allow his rival in to take out 98 to level the game.

The seventh set also went to a decider, with Gurney taking out 77 to lead and double ten to move 2-1 up only to miss the bull for the set as Whitlock landed double ten to level matters.

The decisive fifth leg saw Whitlock power in his tenth 180 of the game to edge away before double eight put the Australian back ahead at 4-3 and a set away from glory.

Gurney’s battling continued as he finished 68 to lead in set eight, and after Whitlock levelled he landed a third-dart double 16 to move 2-1 up the Derry man took out 96 for the set to send the match into a ninth set.

Seven missed starting doubles from Whitlock were punished as Gurney took the opening leg on double eight, and the pair traded 112 finishes to leave the Northern Irish ace 2-1 up before double ten finally sealed the title.

“Daryl deserved to win tonight but I’m really happy to have reached the final,” said Whitlock, who landed 13 maximums in the game. “He’s been a form player this year and for him to win this is amazing.

“It was a great game. I think I had a great tournament and I want to keep getting better and pushing my way up in the rankings.

“I’m disappointed I lost, but I’ve worked so hard for the past two years and especially in the last three months, practising double starts, so I expected good results but I was a bit surprised that I made the final in one respect.

“I’m back to winning ways and hopefully the only way is up now. I’ve got myself back in the Grand Slam, because that was important, and I want to get myself back in the Premier League and in the top five, where I think I belong.”

The night also saw William O’Connor win the 2017 Tom Kirby Memorial Irish Matchplay final with a 6-4 defeat of Jason Cullen, as the Limerick thrower secured his debut in the William Hill World Darts Championship by scooping Ireland’s top domestic honour.

2017 Unibet World Grand Prix
Saturday October 7
Unibet World Grand Prix Final
Daryl Gurney 5-4 Simon Whitlock

Tom Kirby Memorial Irish Matchplay Final
William O’Connor 6-4 Jason Cullen

IRISH MATCHPLAY JOY FOR O’CONNOR

WILLIAM O’CONNOR defeated Jason Cullen 6-4 to win the 2017 Tom Kirby Memorial Irish Matchplay final on Saturday, securing his William Hill World Darts Championship debut in the process.

The Cappamore carpenter claimed Ireland’s top domestic honour for the first time – having lost in the 2009 decider to Aodhagan O’Neill – with a strong showing as he saw off Wexford’s Cullen.

The match began in style, with Cullen taking out a 160 checkout in the opening leg before O’Connor followed a 13-darter with a 177 to leave 44 as he broke to move 2-1 up.

Cullen then capitalised on misses from the Limerick ace in the next two to regain the edge, only for O’Connor to claim back-to-back legs and a 4-3 lead, hitting the game’s second maximum in the process.

Double eight edged O’Connor a leg away from victory, and though Cullen briefly kept the game alive on double 16 in leg nine, the Limerick ace landed double eight as he sealed the win.

The triumph sees O’Connor qualify for his first World Championship appearance as he prepares to take to the stage at Alexandra Palace in December in the sport’s biggest tournament.

“I’m delighted,” said O’Connor. “Jason’s a cracking player and I know what he can do. He showed some of his best darts but didn’t play his best.

“I’ve had several chances of qualifying and it’s been playing on my mind a little bit, hopefully this kills the demons. It’s the one tournament I’ve always wanted to play in and I’ll get my chance now.

“The longer the format goes the better I will start playing – I need a little bit of time to settle and I can show people what I can do then. I know it’s only a matter of time.”

Unibet World Grand Prix – Whitlock & Gurney Set Up Unibet World Grand Prix Final

Unibet World Grand Prix – Whitlock & Gurney Set Up Unibet World Grand Prix Final

Unibet World Grand Prix – Whitlock & Gurney Set Up Unibet World Grand Prix Final
Photo; Lawrence Lustig/PDC

SIMON WHITLOCK held off a brilliant fightback from Mensur Suljovic to claim his place in the Unibet World Grand Prix final with a thrilling 4-3 victory on Friday night, as Daryl Gurney joined him in the Dublin decider.

The Australian will be appearing in his first televised ranking final since the 2013 European Championship on Saturday after seeing off the number six seed with the aid of some clinical finishing in a see-saw contest.

Whitlock landed four ton-plus checkouts as he opened up a 3-1 lead in sets, only to see Suljovic hit back as a 137 finish fired a run which saw him take the next two sets to force a decider.

Suljovic also led in the decisive seventh set, but three straight legs from Whitlock finally secured his place in the final as he continues his bid for a second TV title.

After Suljovic broke throw to claim the opening leg, Whitlock landed 180s in the next two legs alongside checkouts of 101 and 144 to take command, before claiming the set’s deciding leg with double 18 for a 14-darter.

Suljovic responded with a fine 154 checkout to open the second set, but Whitlock levelled before capitalising on three misses from his opponent to move 2-1 up before another 14-darter – including a 76 finish – sealed the set and doubled his advantage.

Whitlock opened the third set with a third ton-plus checkout of the game as he finished 111, only for Suljovic to level by taking out 70 before claiming the next two legs to respond.

Whitlock’s superb finishing continued as he took out 109 and 90 to led 2-1 in set four, and when Suljovic missed two darts at double 16 the Australian landed a tricky double three to move 3-1 up in the contest.

Suljovic’s battle to stay in the game continued in set five, with the Austrian coming from a leg down to level before punishing three misses from Whitlock with a fine 137 checkout to move 2-1 up.

Whitlock landed his fifth 180 before a 64 finish took the set to a decider, but Suljovic was first to a finish as double 14 gave the Champions League of Darts winner a second set.

Suljovic then took out 60, his favourite double 14 and tops – following 13 missed opening doubles from Whitlock – to soar through set six without reply to send the match into a decider as the tension rose.

Suljovic landed a 180 and a 96 finish to lead in the seventh set, but Whitlock finished 80 and tops in the next two to move 2-1 up before landing a 74 combination to finally claim the win.

“I’m absolutely delighted,” said Whitlock. “I feel amazing after that and maybe I was a little bit fortunate but I think the best player won in the end – just!

“When I was 3-1 up I felt in control and all of a sudden I panicked a bit. I still don’t know how I won that.

“I did choke – I lost my way a bit to be fair and somehow when I was a leg down in the final set I found it again. I didn’t give up – Mensur’s so good but I dug deep to win the match and found some good darts in that last set.

“I’ve been working so hard on everything, practising for three hours a day and especially on my doubles and checkouts, and it’s paying off finally.”

Northern Ireland’s Gurney thrilled the supportive Dublin crowd by reaching his first-ever televised ranking final with a 4-1 win over John Henderson.

Henderson had knocked out Dutch superstars Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld on the way to his maiden TV semi-final, but saw his memorable week at the Citywest Hotel ended by Gurney.

Gurney punished a slow start from the Scot to claim the opening set without reply, only for Henderson to burst into life in the second as he levelled the contest in style.

The Scot took out 60 for the opening leg before hitting seven perfect darts in leg two – scoring 160 and 180 and another treble 20 before missing the treble 17 in his bid for a nine-darter – as legs of 11 and 13 darts saw him square the game.

Henderson also took out finishes of 80 and 96 as the third set went to a deciding leg, but Gurney grasped the nettle in the decider as he landed a 180 and double 16 to regain the edge.

Gurney then raced through the fourth set without reply to move 3-1 up, punishing misses from Henderson in the opening two legs before finishing 86 for a clean sweep.

He also led in the fifth set before Henderson took successive legs to move 2-1 up, but three missed doubles from the Scot across the next two legs allowed Gurney to seal his spot in the final.

“I can’t really put it into words but I’m totally over the moon,” said Gurney.

“What makes it so hard to play him is that he’s such a gentleman – some players you can get angry against to get your game up, but John’s is such a nice guy.

“He’s such a class act and a super player and I didn’t want to give him the chance to come back, so I’m glad I got the winning double.”

Gurney has reached the UK Open and World Matchplay semi-finals this year and his emergence will continue as he challenges for the biggest title of his career and a £100,000 cheque.

“I’m very glad to get over that hurdle from the semi-final into the final,” he added. “I’ve been knocking on the door in the UK Open and World Matchplay and eventually I’ve got over the finishing line.

“I’ve been trying my very best since I joined the PDC five years ago and I’m starting to reap the rewards now.

“The players are so good and although John being in the semi-finals may be a shock to the TV viewers, to the players it’s not.

“I’ve got a chance to win this title now, and if I can get in front and stay in front I don’t care what my average is as long as I get to the winning post before Simon does.

“I’m looking forward to playing Simon and he knows that he’s going to be in a battle. I’m going to go out there and try and beat him from the first dart to the very last dart.”

Saturday’s final will see a new winner of the World Grand Prix claim the trophy and a £100,000 first prize, with the runner-up guaranteed £45,000.

In addition, both Whitlock and Gurney have now qualified for November’s bwin Grand Slam of Darts in Wolverhampton by reaching the World Grand Prix decider.

The Unibet World Grand Prix final will be preceded by the final of the Tom Kirby Memorial Irish Matchplay between William O’Connor and Jason Cullen, with the winner claiming a spot in the William Hill World Darts Championship alongside Ireland’s top domestic honour.

Unibet World Grand Prix
Friday October 6
Semi-Finals
Simon Whitlock 4-3 Mensur Suljovic
John Henderson 1-4 Daryl Gurney

Saturday October 7 (8pm)
Unibet World Grand Prix Final
Daryl Gurney v Simon Whitlock

Preceded by
Tom Kirby Memorial Irish Matchplay Final (approx 7.05pm)
Jason Cullen v William O’Connor

Unibet World Grand Prix Final: Best of nine sets, best of five legs per set. All legs must begin and end with a double, meaning that a player must hit a double before he can begin scoring in each leg.
Tom Kirby Memorial Irish Matchplay Final: Best of 11 legs

Unibet World Grand Prix – Sudden-Death Win For Gurney In Dramatic Dublin Quarter-Final

Unibet World Grand Prix – Sudden-Death Win For Gurney In Dramatic Dublin Quarter-Final

Unibet World Grand Prix – Sudden-Death Win For Gurney In Dramatic Dublin Quarter-Final
Photo; Lawrence Lustig/PDC

EMOTIONAL Daryl Gurney claimed victory over Robert Thornton in a sudden-death leg to clinch a Unibet World Grand Prix semi-final spot alongside John Henderson, Simon Whitlock and Mensur Suljovic on a dramatic Thursday night in Dublin.

Northern Ireland’s Gurney has broken into the world’s top 16 this year, aided by runs to the UK Open and World Matchplay semi-finals, and continued his bid to reach a first televised ranking final in a thriller against Thornton.

Thornton was the only former World Grand Prix champion remaining in the field as the double-start tournament reached the last eight stage, and produced a typically gritty display in his bid to win back the title.

However, it was Gurney who emerged victorious in a sudden-death leg of their five-set contest to book his place in the last four at the Citywest Hotel against Henderson.

“It’s always an epic battle to beat Robert Thornton,” said Gurney. “Robert never gives up and every time you play him it seems like it goes to the last leg, but that’s just the way he is.

“He’s a fighter and a great dart player but I’m just glad that I came out on top this time.

“As soon as I opened the last leg with 146 I knew it was my game to lose, and I’d have to panic to let him win. If you mess about you get beaten, but I got the job done.

“It’s so tough now to win a game and it takes everything out of you, so I’m very grateful to get over the finishing line. I’m here to concentrate on my own game and whoever wins tomorrow will deserve to be in the final.”

Gurney had to come from a leg down to win the opening set 3-1, taking out a 13-darter in leg four as a superb 177 set up double 12.

The Northern Irish ace also led 2-1 in the second, only to see Thornton open leg four with 160 and 180 as he levelled before finishing double five to claim the set in a decider.

The 2015 champion also took out a 103 finish in the third set, but Gurney was first to a double in the decider as he took out 70 in a key leg to move 2-1 up in the match.

The fourth set also went to a deciding leg, with Gurney finishing 96 in leg two and landing scores of 180 and 177 in the fourth, only for Thornton’s third 180 of the game to help set up tops in the decider as he levelled the tie.

Gurney fired in a maximum of his own in the fifth set’s opener, but three misses at double eight allowed Thornton in to lead with a 116 checkout to break throw.

Thornton then missed two darts at tops to win leg two as double 16 levelled for Gurney, who then posted double two to lead 2-1 before seeing the Scot land tops to send the game into a sudden-death leg.

Gurney opened the final leg with a 146 score and landed a 140 as he left 58 after 12 darts before pinning tops to emotionally secure his last four spot.

Gurney now meets another Scot, John Henderson, who had begun the tournament by knocking out reigning champion Michael van Gerwen, and followed up his second round defeat of Alan Norris by coming from a set down against two-time finalist Raymond van Barneveld.

After the game’s opening two legs were shared, Van Barneveld punished four missed doubles from Henderson to take the third and then finished 94 – to follow up an earlier 98 – as he claimed the set.

Henderson then won the second set by the same scoreline, having led 2-0, to level the contest before claiming a see-saw third in stunning fashion.

Van Barneveld came from a leg down to lead 2-1 before the Scot forced a decider, but a miss at double 16 from the two-time finalist allowed Henderson in to finish 88 on the bull to move 2-1 up in the game.

A brace of double ten finishes moved Henderson two legs up in set four, with double seven and double ten keeping the Dutchman’s hopes alive briefly before the Scot fired in tops for the biggest win of his career.

“12 months ago I could never had dreamed about this because I was having problems with my back, but my game’s come on and I’m practising well and playing really well,” said Henderson.

“Getting past Michael was a big shock and now to get past Raymond is another shock, but I just play my own game.

“The double-start has helped me this week – Michael, Alan and Raymond have all struggled to get off and I’ve capitalised, and now I’m in the semi-finals.

“I lost the first set against Alan Norris so I knew I could come back, and when Raymond gave me the chances I took them.

“Beating Michael was one of the biggest things in my career, and Raymond’s another big player but I’m looking forward to the semi-finals.

“I want to enjoy it and I hope there’s more to come. I know I’m good enough and hopefully I can keep this form up for tomorrow.”

Mensur Suljovic came from a set down to defeat Peter Wright 3-1 as he kept alive his hopes of claiming back-to-back TV titles by reaching the Dublin semi-finals for the second time in three years.

The Austrian – last month’s Champions League of Darts winner – took out 122 on the bull in the opening leg and also led 2-0 only to see Wright capitalise on eight missed set darts from Suljovic to claim the lead.

Suljovic, though, claimed the second set without reply, taking out 99 with two double tops in leg three, and repeated the scoreline in set three by taking out 48, 97 and a brilliant 135 finish.

The number six seed then finished 60 and 56 to move 2-0 up in the fourth set, with Wright taking the next two sets to keep his hopes briefly alive before a stunning 141 checkout sealed Suljovic’s semi-final spot.

“I’m delighted,” said Suljovic. “I was focused on my game. I wasn’t happy after the first set but I came back well.

“It would be a dream to win the World Grand Prix. I’ve got a perfect feeling right now but it’s a new day in the semi-finals.”

Suljovic now faces a semi-final against Simon Whitlock, who won through to the World Grand Prix semi-finals for the first time with a straight sets romp against Benito van de Pas.

Van de Pas had crushed Gerwyn Price 3-0 in their second round tie in an exceptional performance, but suffered the fate himself against Whitlock to exit in the quarter-finals in Dublin for a second successive year.

Whitlock breezed through the first two sets for the loss of only one leg, taking the opener without reply and finishing a spectacular 120 checkout with two bullseyes on his way to the second, as Van de Pas paid for seven missed finishing doubles.

The Australian then took out double two and 54 to lead 2-0 in set three, with Van de Pas landing a 180 – his first of the game – and tops in reply only for Whitlock to finish 62 to seal his semi-final spot.

“I felt relaxed today,” admitted Whitlock, who will be appearing in his first TV ranking semi-final since the 2014 World Matchplay on Friday night.

“I like Benito, we’re good friends on the tour but I had a job to do and I won.

“I watched his game last night and that probably made me more focused because he played an amazing game and I had to pick my game up, but I won the match and I’m really happy.

“I’m in the semis now and we’ll see what happens tomorrow – I’ll be focused and ready.”

The Unibet World Grand Prix semi-finals will be broadcast from 7pm on Friday live on Sky Sports and worldwide through the PDC’s series of international broadcast partners, as well as at PDCTV-HD for Rest of the World Subscribers.

For tickets, visit www.ticketmaster.ie, call 00353 (0)1 401 0505 or email darts17@citywesthotel.com

2017 Unibet World Grand Prix
Thursday October 5
Quarter-Finals
Simon Whitlock 3-0 Benito van de Pas
John Henderson 3-1 Raymond van Barneveld
Mensur Suljovic 3-1 Peter Wright
Robert Thornton 2-3 Daryl Gurney

Friday October 6 (7pm)
Semi-Finals
Simon Whitlock v Mensur Suljovic
John Henderson v Daryl Gurney

Semi-Finals: Best of seven sets, best of five legs per set. All legs must begin and end with a double, meaning that a player must hit a double before he can begin scoring in each leg.

Unibet World Grand Prix - Wright Defies Elbow Injury To Reach Quarter-Finals

Unibet World Grand Prix – Wright Defies Elbow Injury To Reach Quarter-Finals

Unibet World Grand Prix - Wright Defies Elbow Injury To Reach Quarter-Finals
Photo; Lawrence Lustig/PDC

PETER WRIGHT moved into his first quarter-final at the Unibet World Grand Prix with a 3-1 win over Mervyn King on Wednesday, as Benito van de Pas, Simon Whitlock and Mensur Suljovic enjoyed straight sets victories in Dublin.

World number three and tournament favourite Wright got off to a slow start in the last match of the evening, with King checking out 68 on double 16 to take the first set 3-2.

Wright then began his recovery by winning the second set 3-1, including a 116 checkout on double 18 in the fourth leg.

The Scot, who is aiming to win his second televised PDC title and his 11th overall in 2017, claimed the third set by the same margin by pinning a stunning 141 checkout in the process, moving him in to a 2-1 lead.

The 47-year-old claimed all three legs in the final set of the match in style, taking out 24 on double 12 in the first, 121 on the bull on the second before finally wrapping up the victory with a 112 finish on tops.

The UK Open Champion hit 71% of his attempts at finishing doubles but was clearly struggling with an elbow injury throughout.

“I was practicing and threw one dart too hard and just felt it go ‘twang’,” revealed Wright, who now plays Suljovic.

“It was really affecting me in the first set but I adjusted my throw and it got a little better and fortunately I’m through.

“I’ll rest tonight and be ready to play Mensur, he’s playing alright at the moment but people aren’t playing well against him.”

Suljovic continued his hopes of winning two televised titles in as many months after beating Steve West 3-0 in Dublin in their second round tie.

The Austrian started slowly but survived six missed darts from West to break in the opening leg before eventually going on to take the set 3-2 with a 108 finish on his favourite double 14.

The second set was also close, with each leg resulting in a break of throw as Suljovic claimed the decider to move into a 2-0 lead in the game.

West broke throw in the opening leg of the third set to restore some hope and after leaving 40 to take a 2-0 lead in the set Suljovic produced a moment of magic.

Needing 140 to break back, the 2017 Champions League of Darts winner found the treble 20 before going on to pin back-to-back double tops to level the set in style.

As with the previous two sets a deciding leg was needed, where Suljovic began with six perfect darts before eventually hitting double eight to secure the win.

“I played ok today but not great,” said the number six seed. “The 140 was very nice but I have to do better.

“I need to be ready for my match tomorrow, all the players are so good so I will have to work hard.”

Benito van de Pas secured his place in the quarter-finals for the second successive year after a convincing 3-0 win over Gerwyn Price.

Van de Pas rushed out of the blocks by winning the opening two sets without reply, hitting a maximum and two 177s in the process.

The third set was not quite as convincing for the Dutchman, as Price battled back and missed a dart for the set in the final leg of the match before Van de Pas took out 48 on tops to progress.

Van de Pas averaged 95.13 but also hit 11 of 16 attempts at his opening doubles and nine of 14 finishing doubles in a comfortable passage to the last eight.

“I’m happy with my performance tonight,” said Van de Pas. “I don’t think I had a leg with no score on the starts so that is really important.

“If I carry on finishing like that, this could be a very good week for me but I’m not looking any further ahead than tomorrow’s match.”

Van de Pas will face Simon Whitlock in the quarter-finals after the Australian overcame Richard North in their last 16 encounter, beating the debutant 3-0.

The pair – who play local league darts together in Hampshire – were facing each other for the third time in the PDC, with North winning the two previous encounters on the ProTour.

The Australian opened the match taking the first set 3-1, finding double eight to claim his first leg followed by tops to break in the third before finally going on to pin double nine to take a 1-0 lead.

North produced a fightback of sorts in the second set, taking the set to a deciding leg but, as in the opener, Whitlock found double nine to double his advantage.

With the score at 2-0, Whitlock stepped up his level and took out 98 to break throw in the opening leg of the third set.

Finishes of 20 and 45 followed to wrap up a comprehensive victory against a man Whitlock rates highly.

“Richard and I know each other very well from back home and he’s a great player,” said Whitlock. “I was a little bit nervous as he’s beaten me the last two times we’ve played.”

He added: “I probably practice more than anyone else on the planet so I don’t see why I can’t win this. I’m playing well and I’m feeling good.”

The Unibet World Grand Prix quarter-finals will take place on Thursday evening with all four last eight encounters taking place at the Citywest Hotel, Dublin.

Alongside Whitlock’s tie with Van de Pas and Suljovic’s meeting with Wright, two-time finalist Raymond van Barneveld meets giant-killer John Henderson and 2015 World Grand Prix champion Robert Thornton plays Northern Ireland’s Daryl Gurney.

The Unibet World Grand Prix will be broadcast live on Sky Sports and worldwide through the PDC’s series of international broadcast partners, as well as at PDCTV-HD for Rest of the World Subscribers.

For tickets, visit www.ticketmaster.ie, call 00353 (0)1 401 0505 or email darts17@citywesthotel.com.

Unibet World Grand Prix
Wednesday October 4
Second Round
Gerwyn Price 0-3 Benito van de Pas
Mensur Suljovic 3-0 Steve West
Richard North 0-3 Simon Whitlock
Peter Wright 3-1 Mervyn King

Thursday October 5 (7pm)
Quarter-Finals
Simon Whitlock v Benito van de Pas
John Henderson v Raymond van Barneveld
Mensur Suljovic v Peter Wright
Robert Thornton v Daryl Gurney

Quarter-Finals: Best of five sets, best of five legs per set. All legs must begin and end with a double, meaning that a player must hit a double before he can begin scoring in each leg.

BARNEY BREEZES PAST BEATON IN UNIBET WORLD GRAND PRIX

Barney Breezes Past Beaton In Unibet World Grand Prix – Day 3

BARNEY BREEZES PAST BEATON IN UNIBET WORLD GRAND PRIX
Photo; Lawrence Lustig/PDC

RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD marched into the Unibet World Grand Prix quarter-finals with a straight sets defeat of Steve Beaton on Tuesday, as Robert Thornton, Daryl Gurney and John Henderson enjoyed second round wins in Dublin.

Two-time World Grand Prix finalist Van Barneveld followed up his 2-0 win over Kyle Anderson on Sunday with another dominant performance as he raced into the last eight.

Beaton won the opening leg of the first two sets, but let the Dutchman back in on both occasions as Van Barneveld moved clear, winning the opener 3-1 and the second in a deciding leg after two missed doubles from Beaton to level.

Van Barneveld took the third set’s opening two legs, and though he missed three match darts to allow Beaton brief respite, an 80 finish sealed the five-time World Champion’s last eight spot.

“I was never comfortable but Steve wasn’t at his best tonight and I feel like the luckiest guy on the circuit,” said Van Barneveld, who now plays Henderson in Thursday’s quarter-finals.

“Steve started well but I managed to win the first two sets, which could have easily gone either way. I won and that’s what’s most important.

“I felt a lot of confidence coming into this tournament and Sunday was good against Kyle Anderson. This game wasn’t as good but I won and I’ll be practising hard ahead of the quarter-finals.”

Henderson reached the Unibet World Grand Prix quarter-finals for a second time by coming from a set down to defeat Alan Norris 3-1 in Dublin.

Henderson had overcome reigning champion and world number one Michael van Gerwen in Sunday’s first round, and backed that up with a clinical defeat of Norris.

Somerset’s Norris capitalised on an edgy start from the Scot to claim the opening set 3-1, but Henderson settled his nerves with a 96 finish and a 13-darter to lead 2-0 in set two before finishing double 16 to level the tie without reply.

Henderson punished two missed doubles from Norris to lead in set three and then took out 124 on the bull to double his advantage, with Norris hitting back to level only for double 12 to give the Scot a key 2-1 cushion.

Finishes of 60 and double ten moved Henderson clear in set four, before he landed a 180 and tops to seal his quarter-final place, matching the achievement he enjoyed on his debut in the double-start event in 2011.

“To get through a hard game like that is fantastic,” said Henderson. “After beating Michael there was a lot of pressure on me tonight but I think I played better tonight.

“Alan missed a lot of doubles to start and you’ve got to punish these top players for that and luckily I did.

“I believe I’m a far better player than I was in 2011 but other players will say the same so I’ll have to play outstanding darts in every round.

“I’m playing steady darts and I’m still in the competition so let’s hope I can go all the way. I’m enjoying it – I’ve not been in a quarter-final here since 2011 and hopefully I can take that one step further.”

Van Barneveld is expecting a tough test in Thursday’s quarter-finals, and added: “John beat the World Champion and world number one and has had a good run so you can’t underestimate him.

“I said to a few people that if the number 32 in the world can beat the World Champion, then how good is he? You can’t underestimate players anymore and John has played well.”

The other quarter-final from the top half of the draw sees 2015 World Grand Prix champion Robert Thornton taking on Northern Ireland’s Daryl Gurney.

Thornton snatched victory from the jaws of defeat as he survived five missed match darts from Dave Chisnall before moving into the quarter-finals with a narrow 3-2 win in a sudden-death leg.

Thornton’s bid to claim a second win in three years in the double-start tournament had looked set to end when Chisnall came from a set down to lead 2-1 in the match and then take the lead in the deciding set.

Thornton had produced a superb opening set, hitting back-to-back 14-darters before sealing the set with a 98 finish, before Chisnall took the second set 3-1 with the aid of a 100 checkout of two double tops.

Thornton opened set three with a 123 checkout and also took out 90 on the bull to save the set in leg four, only for Chisnall to claim the decider with a brilliant 130 finish to move 2-1 up in the game.

Thornton took the fourth set 3-1 to send the game all the way, only for Chisnall to move 2-1 up in the final set – but he crucially missed five match darts in leg four.

The Scot scrambled home double ten to keep his hopes alive before punishing four missed opening doubles from Chisnall in the sudden-death leg with tops to seal his last eight spot.

“I’m over the moon,” said Thornton. “I thought I threw it away after a great first set but I dug deep and fought back.

“This format is brilliant and for the last couple of weeks I’ve been practising my doubles and they’re the important thing in this event.

“I’m not in as good form as I was two years ago when I won it but it seems to be getting better.

“My first game was scrappy and went to a deciding leg too but the bookies write me off all the time and I’ve proved I can hold my bottle up there.”

Gurney, meanwhile, reached the Unibet World Grand Prix quarter-finals for a second successive year with a 3-1 defeat of Joe Cullen at the Citywest Hotel.

A brilliant display of finishing saw Gurney open up a two-set lead with a flawless six doubles from as many attempts in a superb opening.

The Northern Irish thrower took out 76, a 13-darter and 88 for an 11-darter as he took the opening set 3-1 before finishing 107 and 74 to claim set two in a deciding leg, despite a 116 finish from Cullen.

Cullen swept through set three without reply to fire his challenge and took the lead in set four, but his missed finishing doubles in leg two proved costly as Gurney took out a brilliant 127 on the bull, 72 and tops for victory.

“It feels unbelievable,” said Gurney. “Joe’s got a great record against me and he came back well in the third set, but the 127 was a big shot.

“I’m in the quarter-finals again but the way I look at it is that it’s just the same as round one and I’ve got to try and get to three sets before the other person.”

The second round concludes on Wednesday with the remaining four matches, including world number three Peter Wright up against Mervyn King.

September’s Champions League of Darts winner Mensur Suljovic plays Steve West, Gerwyn Price opens up against Benito van de Pas and Simon Whitlock plays newcomer Richard North.

The Unibet World Grand Prix will be broadcast live on Sky Sports and worldwide through the PDC’s series of international broadcast partners, as well as at PDCTV-HD for Rest of the World Subscribers.

For tickets, visit www.ticketmaster.ie, call 00353 (0)1 401 0505 or email darts17@citywesthotel.com.

2017 Unibet World Grand Prix
Tuesday October 3
Second Round x4
Dave Chisnall 2-3 Robert Thornton
Daryl Gurney 3-1 Joe Cullen
John Henderson 3-1 Alan Norris
Raymond van Barneveld 3-0 Steve Beaton

Wednesday October 4 (7pm)
Second Round x4
Gerwyn Price v Benito van de Pas
Mensur Suljovic v Steve West
Richard North v Simon Whitlock
Peter Wright v Mervyn King

Second Round: Best of five sets, best of five legs per set. All legs must begin and end with a double, meaning that a player must hit a double before he can begin scoring in each leg.

VAN GERWEN RETAINS UNIBET MASTERS TITLE

Van Gerwen Retains Unibet Masters Title

VAN GERWEN RETAINS UNIBET MASTERS TITLE

MICHAEL VAN GERWEN retained his Unibet Masters title with an imperious 11-6 defeat of Dave Chisnall at ArenaMK on Sunday night, after surviving seven missed darts against Phil Taylor on his way to glory.

Van Gerwen had kicked off his 2015 challenge with victory in Milton Keynes before going on to win a further 17 events during the year, and again came out on top in the battle of the world’s top 16.

After storming past both Stephen Bunting and Michael Smith for the loss of only four legs as he reached the semi-finals, van Gerwen then overcame a huge scare to see off a revitalised Taylor 11-10.

Taylor himself had come through a deciding leg in his quarter-final win over Peter Wright, but missed seven darts to defeat van Gerwen before the Dutchman produced a 12-darter to move into the final.

There, he took the opening five legs without giving Chisnall a dart at a double, hitting four 180s in the process, and went on to finish 110 as he led 7-1.

Chisnall – who had hit back from 8-0 down to win his first round tie with Robert Thornton before also defeating Vincent van der Voort and James Wade – took three of the next four legs to threaten another comeback as he cut the gap to 8-4.

The next four were shared as Chisnall matched his rival’s tally of six 180s, but the world number ten was unable to claim another break of throw as van Gerwen held on to hit double five for the title.

“I’m really happy to win this trophy,” said van Gerwen, who averaged 104 for the tournament. “I really had to work for this and it was a hard day.

“I had a bit of luck but you can’t ask for anything more than to be holding the trophy at the end. Phil missed seven match darts, which he normally never does, and when someone gives you a chance like that you have to take it.

“At 5-0 in the final I knew the game was over. I had a couple of good finishes afterwards, held my own throw and it was enough to win the game.

“It was a tough day and I feel fantastic. It means a lot to me and I’m really glad to win this Unibet Masters again.

“I started last year exactly the same and we start the Premier League this Thursday, so that’s my aim now. I’ll enjoy this win and get myself ready to play James Wade in Leeds.”

Chisnall was appearing in the fourth televised final of his career, having hit a thrilling 12 maximums in his 11-6 semi-final win over James Wade, but the St Helens ace was left to take home the Ł25,000 runner-up prize.

“After being 8-0 down in the first round I didn’t expect to get through that, so it’s a great weekend to reach the final,” said Chisnall. “I’m not happy with how I played in the final but there were a few tired darts.

“I beat Michael in the World Grand Prix a couple of years ago and he’s punished me for it ever since! You can’t give him a head start like I did but he was too good there and he showed why he’s the world number one.

“I’m playing really well but it wasn’t meant to be and I’ll try again in the next tournament.”

2016 Unibet Masters
Sunday January 31
Afternoon Session
Quarter-Finals
Kim Huybrechts 5-10 James Wade
Vincent van der Voort 4-10 Dave Chisnall
Phil Taylor 10-9 Peter Wright
Michael van Gerwen 10-3 Michael Smith

Evening Session
Semi-Finals
Dave Chisnall 11-6 James Wade
Michael van Gerwen 11-10 Phil Taylor

Final
Michael van Gerwen 11-6 Dave Chisnall

Quarter-Finals Round-Up
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN and Phil Taylor will clash in the semi-finals of the Unibet Masters after enjoying contrasting victories on Sunday afternoon, as James Wade and Dave Chisnall also reached the last four at ArenaMK.

Reigning Masters champion van Gerwen followed up his 10-1 first round demolition of Stephen Bunting by sweeping past Michael Smith 10-3 with an average of almost 106.

The Dutchman’s finishing proved the difference as he hit ten doubles from 13 attempts in a brilliant performance, landing two 124 checkouts as he moved into an 8-0 lead before sealing victory by taking out 142.

“I had a fantastic first five legs and I put him under pressure from the start,” said van Gerwen. “My performance was really good, especially my finishing.

“I also need to produce it tonight because you can’t write Phil Taylor off and he’s full of confidence at the moment.”

2013 Masters champion Taylor, meanwhile, won a thrilling clash with Peter Wright 10-9, with the number five seed hitting nine 180s and three ton-plus checkouts but paying the price for missing one match dart in the game’s penultimate leg.

The deciding leg saw Taylor land two 180s and Wright fire in a maximum and a 174 score before the 16-time World Champion showed his class to prevail with an 11-darter.

“Peter hit some great shots and I didn’t think he’d miss the double 19 to win, but he gave me that one shot and the last leg was brilliant – the best leg of the game,” said Taylor. “I’m over the moon because I thought I’d blown it.

“It’s great for me because I’ve got new darts, a new set-up and new regime and I’m pushing forward. I’m loving it and I’ll be there and thereabouts.”

Wright said: “To play Phil on any stage is an honour, and I wasn’t good enough on the day. I wish Phil all the best but I’ll get back on the practice board.”

The other previous Masters champion, 2014 winner James Wade, defeated Kim Huybrechts 10-5 as he progressed to the last four with a dominant display.

“Kim didn’t make the most of his opportunities and I did enough to win,” said Wade. “When I had to turn it up I did, so I’m happy.”

Wade now plays Dave Chisnall, who followed up his magical comeback win in the first round by defeating Vincent van der Voort 10-4 with an impressive 104 average.

“A 104 average is good and as soon as I got the big lead at 7-3 I was never going to let it go,” said Chisnall. “I’m hard to beat when I get my nose in front so I’m very happy.

“I had a bit of luck in the game yesterday but today I was very confident of winning. It should be a good game between me and James and I’ll keep trying.”

Semi-Finals
Dave Chisnall v James Wade
Dave Chisnall powered into the fourth televised final of his career by landing 12 180s in a superb 11-6 defeat of James Wade at ArenaMK.

Five of those maximums came in the opening five legs as Chisnall also landed a 174 score in opening up an early 4-1 lead, before Wade finished legs of 14, 12 and 12 darts – hitting five maximums of his own in a three-leg burst to level.

Wade also landed a 180 and a 138 checkout to level in the tenth leg, but Chisnall found another gear to take the next five legs without reply and move 10-5 up, hitting another three 180s and claiming two breaks of throw.

Wade took out double eight to keep his hopes alive but it would prove a brief rally as Chisnall took out 117 to seal his spot in the final.

Michael van Gerwen v James Wade
Michael van Gerwen survived seven missed match darts from Phil Taylor to continue his challenge to retain the Unibet Masters title with a nerve-shredding 11-10 semi-final win over his great rival.

Taylor’s bid to return to winning ways on the big stage had seen him take leads of 3-1, 7-4 and 9-6 in a high-quality contest, only for van Gerwen to take out finishes of 161, 130 and 144 as he levelled at nine-all.

Taylor landed a 174 score before double 16 put him 10-9 up, only to then miss seven match darts in leg 20 as van Gerwen scrambled in double 16 to send the match into a decider.

The world number one scored 140, 140 and 134 to leave 87, and when Taylor was unable to take out 122 the Dutchman stepped in to finish the combination on double 12 to seal his great escape.

Video interviews with Michael van Gerwen and Dave Chisnall are available at the OfficialPDC YouTube Channel via www.youtube.com/OfficialPDC