AUSTRALIAN sensation Corey Cadby sealed a spot in the semi-finals of the Auckland Darts Masters, presented by TAB & Burger King, by defeating Michael Smith on a night that also saw Phil Taylor progress into the last four.
Reigning World Youth Champion Cadby, appearing in his third World Series event, averaged 100.17 as he comfortably defeated Michael Smith 10-5 at The Trusts Arena to follow up Friday's impressive win over Peter Wright.
The match started with Cadby setting an early marker as he raced in to a 5-1 lead, including back-to-back 14-darters in the run.
Five consecutive breaks of throw then followed before a hold for Smith in 14 darts closed the gap on his opponent to just two legs, with the score at 7-5.
Smith was then unable to put any significant pressure on his opponent as the young Australian claimed the next three legs in 13, 14 and 15 darts to set up a tasty semi-final clash with Taylor.
Having lost to Taylor on his TV debut at last year's Sydney Darts Masters, Cadby had gained revenge a week later in Perth to end the 56-year-old's unbeaten run in Australia, and remains a huge admirer of the 16-time World Champion.
"He's one of the best the game has ever seen," said Cadby. "He's beaten me before and I've beaten him, so this should be one hell of a game.
"I need to prepare properly but I'm really excited and can't wait to get going tomorrow. I came to win so let's see what we can do."
Earlier, Taylor had to survive three match darts and needed a last-leg decider to beat Raymond van Barneveld and progress to the semi-finals in dramatic fashion.
The early stages of the clash saw Van Barneveld take out finishes of 116 and 121 as he took a 3-2 lead in to the first break.
Taylor then responded to level the score at 3-3 with a break of throw on double eight before the Dutchman found tops in the subsequent two legs to move two clear.
Three consecutive legs followed for the Englishman as he took a 6-5 advantage to regain the lead, but Van Barneveld responded to win four of the next five as he moved within touching distance of the semis at 9-7.
A 13-darter from Taylor applied the pressure to Van Barneveld, who wired tops for the match on a 117 finish as his rival stepped in on double ten to take the match to a deciding leg.
Van Barneveld then missed the bull for a 161 finish and two further match darts at double 19 in the decider to allow Taylor in, and the Stoke legend took out 91 on double 16 to claim victory.
"We've had some great clashes over the years," reflected Taylor, who celebrates his 57th birthday on Sunday. "I still love this sport, I know it's coming to an end for me but it still means a lot to win matches like that.
"I feel so relaxed and am just trying to enjoy as much of it as I can before I call it a day."
James Wade progressed in to the semi-finals by defeating U.S. Darts Masters finalist Daryl Gurney 10-7 in their last eight encounter.
The pair traded holds of throw until the seventh leg of the contest, where Gurney made the first breakthrough, taking out 100 on double ten to edge ahead.
With Gurney seemingly in control, though, Wade then strung together a sequence of five consecutive legs, including a 124 finish, to move clear of his opponent at 8-4.
Gurney then battled back and closed the gap to a single leg before Wade put in a 14-dart break of throw to move within a leg of the win, which he matched to seal the win with an average of 100.75.
"That was a bit of the old James Wade magic, important checkouts and some solid scoring," said Wade, a two-time World Series of Darts finalist who is bidding for his first win on the international circuit.
"Daryl's disappointed with how he played there but he's got a massive future and has loads of chances to win tournaments in the future."
Wade will face Kyle Anderson in Sunday's final day of action at the Auckland Darts Masters after the Australian came from 4-1 down to beat Simon Whitlock in another decider.
Former European Championship winner Whitlock raced in to a commanding position at 4-1 in the first break, only for Anderson to find his range on the doubles as he hit back to level at five-all.
Whitlock then held and took out 91 to move clear again, but Anderson punished his rival's miss to pull back to 7-6 before levelling on tops.
The Perth ace - who won his first PDC ranking title last Saturday, then took the lead for the first time at 8-7 by pinning double six, only to see six missed doubles in the next allow Whitlock to square the contest once more.
With the next two legs shared as the game went into a decider, Anderson found a 14-darter at the crucial time against the throw to secure his spot in a second World Series semi-final.
"The pressure was on there and I'm glad I was able to get over the line," said Anderson, who previous reached the last four at the 2014 Sydney Darts Masters.
"Simon was too good for me at the World Matchplay so it was really important to show everyone what I can do tonight. It wasn’t perfect but I got the job done."
Sunday will see the tournament conclude with the semi-finals and final at the Trusts Arena, with a new Auckland Darts Masters champion set to be crowned - while Wade, Anderson and Cadby chase their maiden World Series titles.
Auckland Darts Masters, presented by TAB & Burger King
Saturday August 12
James Wade 10-7 Daryl Gurney
Kyle Anderson 10-9 Simon Whitlock
Phil Taylor 10-9 Raymond van Barneveld
Corey Cadby 10-5 Michael Smith
All games best of 19 legs
Sunday August 13 (6pm local time)
Kyle Anderson v James Wade
Corey Cadby v Phil Taylor
Anderson/Wade v Cadby/Taylor
All games best of 21 legs
Photos courtesy Photosport
Kyle Anderson & Simon Whitlock
Raymond van Barneveld & Phil Taylor
Phil Taylor & Raymond van Barneveld
Fans At The Auckland Darts Masters
Corey Cadby & Michael Smith
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