BetVictor World Matchplay Night Six
PHIL TAYLOR and James Wade set up a tantalising semi-final clash at the BetVictor World Matchplay with thrilling victories over Justin Pipe and Simon Whitlock at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool on Thursday night.
Following five superb days of action in the £400,000 World Matchplay, the tournament reached a dramatic new high with two compelling quarter-finals.
Firstly, reigning champion Taylor withstood ten 180s and a battling performance from world number eight Justin Pipe before he remained on course to win a record sixth successive World Matchplay title with a 16-10 triumph.
Pipe hit back from 3-1 down to take a 5-4 lead in their clash, having kicked off the game with two 180s in the opening leg, which he took in 11 darts.
Taylor replied with a maximum and a 122 checkout in the first of back-to-back 12-dart legs, and he added double eight to win the fourth before Pipe, aided by a 13-darter and a 136 finish, took three of the next four to level.
He then defied a 180 from Taylor to finish a 13-darter on double 16 in moving 5-4 up, and after Taylor won the next two in 12 and 14 darts, Pipe finished double seven to level at six-all.
Taylor, though, found his customary extra gear as he won seven of the next eight legs to soar into a 13-7 lead and put himself within touching distance of the semis
Pipe took his tally of 180s for the game to ten as he hit legs of 11 and 13 darts and a 104 checkout in winning three of the next five to stay in touch, but Taylor proved too strong as he hit four 177 scores in the latter stages before sealing a superb victory on double eight.
"It was a very difficult game and Justin was superb, and he really pushed me," said Taylor. "His concentration levels are fantastic, he's a lovely man and I enjoyed the game.
"He let me in on a couple of shots and I took advantage, and it's really set me up for the semi-finals now. I was hanging in there at five-all, and towards the end I seemed to hit form and kept putting the pressure on him."
Pipe admitted: "Phil was amazing, he's relentless and he showed his brilliance. He punished me every time I had a dodgy throw and against most other players I might have won with that performance.
"It was a learning experience for me and I know what areas I need to improve, and I'll go away and do that now, but I'm over the moon with how I played. I'm very disappointed to lose, but I kept fighting and I'm really proud."
2007 champion and four-time runner-up Wade, meanwhile, continued his incredible run of success in the World Matchplay with a gritty, high-quality 18-16 tie-break win against Whitlock in a classic.
The lead changed hands seven times in an absorbing clash, with Wade finishing the stronger as he moved into a final against his great rival Taylor, who has won all four of their finals in Blackpool since 2006.
Whitlock, like Pipe, had opened the match with the first of ten maximums, breaking throw with a 14-darter only for Wade to reply with two 180s, a 12-dart finish and a 120 checkout as he moved 2-1 up.
The next four legs were shared before Whitlock took three in a row to lead 6-4 - before Wade hit tops for four legs running as he put himself into an 8-6 advantage.
Whitlock levelled with a break of throw before then hitting back-to-back 12-darters, finishing 130 on the bull and 92 on double eight, to lead 9-8.
Wade then moved back ahead with a brace of double top checkouts to lead 10-9, only for the Australian to show his class by winning the next four legs, taking out 124 on the bull in one, as he put himself into a 13-10 advantage.
Wade hit back with successive 14-dart legs, and wired tops to level the game as Whitlock hit the same bed to move 14-12 up.
Wade, though, again showed his class by striking back, punishing a miss from Whitlock to win his 13th leg before then squaring the contest in dramatic fashion by trading 180s with his opponent before taking out a 135 checkout on the bullseye.
Wade added his seventh 180 of the game in a 14-darter as he moved 15-14 up, and when Whitlock fired in a maximum and levelled, the game went into a tie-break of needing to be won by two clear legs.
Wade - with the advantage of throw after Whitlock's pre-match decision to hand the throw to his opponent - took the 31st leg with yet another 14-dart finish, and though Whitlock replied with double five, Wade landed tops to go 17-16 up and sealed victory on double ten.
"I'm very happy to have won such a great game," said Wade. "It was a very hard game and physically and mentally exhausting and it was relentless at times.
"Simon hit so many great shots but he missed three chances towards the end and that was vital for me. The 135 was huge and I don't know how it went in, because my first dart couldn't have been worse in terms of blocking the bull, so it was great to see it sail in!"
Wade added: "I'm happy that I get to play Phil on Saturday and I'm looking forward to playing a great game of darts with him. I think I've got a little bit extra in this tournament - I love the format, the venue and the fans in Blackpool and it shows in my game."
Whitlock said: "I'm a tiny bit disappointed but very proud of myself.
"James is a great player and he showed his class with his finishing - I had to out-score him and I think I did, but his finishing destroyed me and the 135 was huge. It turned the match.
"I got better as the tournament went on and I can't play much better than that. Maybe I missed a few doubles here and there, but I really enjoyed that match and played close to my best.
"He was brilliant, and I hope he wins the tournament now."
The remaining two quarter-finals will take place on Friday night, with recent European Champion Adrian Lewis up against Andy Hamilton in an all-Stoke battle before world number two Michael van Gerwen meets tenth seed Dave Chisnall.
BetVictor World Matchplay
Thursday July 25
Phil Taylor (1) 16-10 Justin Pipe (9) - Taylor & Pipe Video
Simon Whitlock (5) 16-18 James Wade (4) - Wade & Whitlock Video
Friday July 26 (7pm)
Adrian Lewis (3) v Andy Hamilton (6)
Michael v Gerwen (2) v Dave Chisnall (10)
Best of 31 legs.
Must be won by two clear legs, with tie-break to maximum of five additional legs before sudden-death leg is played.
Phil Taylor v Justin Pipe
0-0 - Justin Pipe wins the bull and throws first.
0-1 - Pipe makes an outstanding start, opening the game with a 180 and adding a second maximum before finishing 81 for an 11-darter on double 12.
1-1 - Taylor lands a 180 to leave 122, and though Pipe hits a maximum of his own in reply, the World Champion takes out the finish on double seven to level in 12 darts.
2-1 - The pair again trade 180s before Taylor finishes double eight for a 12-darter to break throw.
3-1 - Taylor finishes double eight for a 14-darter to move two legs up.
3-2 - Pipe lands a fifth 180, and both players initially miss darts to take out 82 before the Taunton ace returns with a 13-darter - with both players above 110 averages.
4-2 - Taylor hits double two to regain his advantage.
4-3 - Taylor fails to set up a double when needing 82, and Pipe averts a possible break of throw by finishing 48 on double ten.
4-4 - Pipe breaks throw for the first time in the game, superbly taking ot 136.
4-5 - Taylor lands a 180, but Pipe is first to a finish and lands double 16 for a 13-darter to regain the lead.
5-5 - Taylor levels once again by finishing double eight.
6-5 - Taylor breaks throw again for a second time in the game by landing double ten for a 14-darter.
6-6 - Taylor misses a total of nine darts at a double to win a dramatic leg, as Pipe returns from earlier bursting his score on 68 to land double seven and break back.
7-6 - Taylor is unable to land the bull to take out 88, but Pipe fails to finish 131 and the reigning champion returns on double eight for another break.
8-6 - Pipe again has a sniff, but cannot finish 146 - leaving 16 - and Taylor hits double 16 to move two legs clear.
9-6 - Taylor finishes 84 to win a third successive leg and move clear.
9-7 - Pipe lands a 180, and when Taylor misses the bull to finish 121, the Taunton ace finishes 96 - with his first dart landing in treble one before he hits treble 19 and double 18 to break.
10-7 - Taylor breaks back by taking out 83 on double nine.
11-7 - Taylor hits double eight with his third dart - which remains hanging, just, in the bed - as he pulls four legs clear.
12-7 - Taylor finishes 100 on double 12 for a sixth break of throw in the game as he moves five legs in front of the Taunton ace.
13-7 - The reigning champion wins a fourth successive leg by finishing 69 on double six, putting himself just three legs away from the semi-finals.
13-8 - Pipe hits his seventh 180 of the contest and hits back by landing double four.
14-8 - Taylor posts his fifth maximum, and finishes double 16 for an 11-darter to move two legs from victory.
14-9 - Taylor opens the leg with two 177s to set up a possible nine-darter, but is unable to take out 147 and then sees Pipe finish 104 to win the leg!
15-9 - Taylor hits another 177 score and lands double 16 for a 12-darter as he edges to the brink of another Blackpool semi-final spot.
15-10 - Pipe lands two 180s in a sparkling 11-darter of his own to keep the match alive, finishing 86 on double 16.
16-10 - Taylor kicks off with yet another 177 score, and seals his triumph by hitting double eight.
Click here for video interview with Phil Taylor & Justin Pipe at the OfficialPDC YouTube page
|Phil Taylor||16-10||Justin Pipe|
|122, 100||High Finish||136, 104|
|6||Breaks of Throw||3|
|16/45 - 36%||Checkout %||10/18 - 56%|
Simon Whitlock v James Wade
0-0 - James Wade will throw first - with Simon Whitlock winning the bullseye but giving away the throw.
1-0 - Whitlock's pre-match ploy of giving away the advantage of throw pays off as he breaks to win the opening leg, kicking off teh game with a 180 and hitting tops.
1-1 - Both players open with 140 and 180, but Wade wins the leg on tops to break back immediately.
1-2 - Wade opens with a 180 and wins the leg with a 120 finish.
2-2 - Double 16 sees the Australian level the contest.
2-3 - Double ten from Wade edges him back ahead.
3-3 - Whitlock finishes 66 to take the sixth leg and square the contest.
3-4 - Wade lands two 180s in the leg, with Whitlock adding one of his own only for the 2007 champion to finish double ten to edge back ahead.
4-4 - Whitlock finishes tops with his third dart to level.
5-4 - Whitlock breaks throw again, hitting a fourth 180 of the game and landing double 18.
6-4 - Wade misses two darts at tops to break back, and Whitlock punishes him by finishing 92 on double 16 to move two legs clear for the first time.
6-5 - Whitlock opens with a 180 but misses the bull for a 170 finish and Wade takes out tops to finish 65 and hit back with his first leg in four.
6-6 - Whitlock misses two darts at tops and Wade finishes 82 on the same bed to leve.
6-7 - Whitlock lands a sixth 180, but again misses a dart at tops, and Wade once more hits the bed to punish his opponent.
6-8 - Wade's accuracy on tops sees him hit the bed for a fourth successive leg to finish 82 and move two legs up.
7-8 - Whitlock lands double ten to halt the left-hander's charge and hit back.
8-8 - Wade fires in a 180, but Whitlock takes the leg by finishing 130 on the bull.
9-8 - Whitlock posts a seventh maximum and finishes 92 on double eight to break again and move back ahead.
9-9 - Wade breaks back once again, hitting tops.
9-10 - Whitlock misses tops for a 160 finish, and Wade returns to hit the same bed to edge back in front.
10-10 - Whitlock finishes 70 on double 16 to level the game again - with only 0.04 between the pair in the averages after 20 compelling legs, with Whitlock at 100.00 and Wade 99.96.
11-10 - Tops sees the lead change hands again as Whitlock moves ahead.
12-10 - Whitlock takes out 124 on the bull to move two legs clear of the five-time Winter Gardens finalist.
13-10 - Whitlock finishes 48 on double 16 to move three legs away from the semi-finals.
13-11 - Whitlock posts an eighth 180, but misses double 16 as Wade steps in to finish tops in taking his first leg in five.
13-12 - Wade reduces the gap to one leg with a fine 14-darter, finishing double ten.
14-12 - Wade wires tops to level, and Whitlock hits the same bed to move two clear again.
14-13 - Whitlock misses a dart at tops to finish 78, and Wade follows an earlier 174 score by hitting tops to hit back
14-14 - Both players open the leg with 180s, and Wade finishes 135 on the bull for a brilliant finish to square the game.
14-15 - Wade opens with 180 and 140 to pull clear, and after initially missing the bull for a 121 finish, the 2007 champion pins double ten to move a leg away from the semi-finals.
15-15 - Whitlock lands his tenth 180 of the game, and hits double ten to level matters and send the match into a tie-break.
15-16 - Wade moves back ahead with a 14-darter, hitting tops to again move a leg away from victory.
16-16 - The Australian levels once more in a dramatic leg, initially missing a dart at tops before Wade also misses tops with one dart for the match, as Whitlock returns to hit double five to stay in the game.
16-17 - Wade finishes 57 on tops to again put himself on the brink of victory.
16-18 - Wade misses double 19 for a 118 finish, but Whitlock misses darts at double top and ten and the left-hander posts double ten to complete an amazing win.
Click here for video interview with James Wade & Simon Whitlock at the OfficialPDC YouTube Page
|Simon Whitlock||16-18||James Wade|
|130, 124||High Finish||135, 120|
|6||Breaks of Throw||7|
|16/37 - 43%||Checkout %||18/31 - 58%|