DARYL GURNEY defeated Gary Anderson for a third successive game to progress to the semi-finals of the Unibet Melbourne Darts Masters on a night that also saw Phil Taylor reach the last four.
Saturday's quarter-finals gave Northern Ireland's Gurney the chance to continue his recent winning streak against Anderson, and the U.S. Darts Masters finalist obliged to remain on course for another World Series of Darts decider.
Number one seed Anderson made a slow start at the Hisense Arena, missing seven darts in the opening leg to hold throw before Gurney punished the world number two on double 16.
A second break followed in the fifth leg as the Northern Irishman took a commanding 4-1 lead.
Gurney missed three chances to take a 5-2 lead in the seventh leg, allowing Anderson to close the gap to one.
The match then went with throw until the 12th leg where a 12-darter helped Anderson recover the break of throw and level at 6-6.
The Scot then took the lead for the first time in the match as he found tops to steal the initiative.
World number 12 Gurney then hit seven perfect darts in the 14th leg before going out in 11 darts to once again level the match.
The decisive moment of the encounter came in the 17th leg as with Anderson missing a dart to hold, Gurney punished him by taking out 68 on double 16 to break and move within a leg of the match.
The drama continued in the next leg, with Anderson once again missing doubles, this time a total of five, as he squandered his chance to take the match to a decider.
Gurney eventually found double 16 to get over the line and book a semi-final clash with Peter Wright.
"It's great to beat Gary," said Gurney. "He's such a good player and it shows how far I've come that I've started to beat these players consistently.
"It wasn't our best game but I got over the line and I'm looking forward to taking on Peter tomorrow night."
Wright needed a deciding leg to overcome Michael Smith in their quarter-final clash, in a game which began in scrappy fashion with the pair missing 17 darts at doubles in total in the opening five legs.
It was Smith who took the initiative in the early stages after breaking in the first leg. That advantage remained until leg eight, where Wright took out 60 on tops to level the score.
Wright then strung a further four consecutive legs together to take an 8-4 lead, including a 121 finish on the bullseye.
The Englishman produced an impressive sequence of his own to win five of the next six legs and take the match in to a decider.
Wright, though, started the 19th leg with a maximum and remained in control before finding tops to secure his spot in the last four.
"You only have to look at the averages to know it was a poor start, but I slowly got going and started to show the best of me at the end," said Wright.
"I want to win here and I'm still going, so let's come back tomorrow and go again."
Home favourite Simon Whitlock had to survive two missed match darts as he defeated James Wade 10-9 to move in to the last four in Melbourne.
It was Wade who started the brighter of the pair, breaking in the first leg of the match and doubling his lead before the Australian took out 130 on the bullseye to claim his first leg, with the left-hander waiting on 32 to go 3-0 up.
Another ton-plus finish followed for Whitlock as he took out 108 on double 16 to level before he later took the lead for the first time in the ninth leg with a 128 checkout.
The pair traded breaks until, with the score at 9-8, Wade missed two darts at tops to book his place in the semi-finals before Whitlock found double four to level.
Crowd favourite Whitlock then began the deciding leg with six perfect darts, before taking out 33 on double 16 to seal the win.
"The crowd were amazing, I want to say a massive thank you them because they helped pull me through that one," said Whitlock.
"I've been due a bit of luck for a while now and I got it tonight. James should have won but sometimes in life you get a bit of luck and tonight I took my chance!"
Whitlock will now face Phil Taylor, who recovered from 9-7 down overcome reigning World Youth Champion Corey Cadby as the pair continued their World Series rivalry.
Taylor - who had been beaten in the Auckland Darts Masters semi-finals by Cadby a week ago - began by taking a 3-1 lead over his Australian opponent.
An incredible sequence of seven breaks in the next eight legs followed to take the score to 6-5 in Cadby's favour, with the 22-year-old taking out 121 on the bull in the 11th leg.
Taylor followed that with a big checkout of his own, finishing 117 on tops to hold his throw and make the score 7-6.
Three holds of throw followed to take Cadby to within a leg of the match, which seemed to ignite the Taylor fightback.
The 16-time World Champion hit maximums in each of the next three legs and claimed the decider by taking out 80 to secure a spot in the semi-finals.
"He's a cracking little player, and after last week I needed to get my own back," said Taylor. "I think this boy could be the next Michael van Gerwen - he's the future!"
A four-time winner of the Sydney Darts Masters and a two-time Perth Darts Masters champion, Taylor is hoping to claim the inaugural Melbourne title on Sunday night to continue his remarkable run of success in Australia.
"I'm relaxed and enjoying myself so there's no reason why I can't win here," added the 57-year-old. "We'll just take it one game at a time and see what happens."
The Unibet Melbourne Darts Masters concludes on Sunday with the two semi-finals taking place ahead of the final at the Hisense Arena.
TV coverage is live on Fox Sports in Australia and broadcast worldwide through the PDC's series of broadcast partners, with delayed coverage in the UK and Netherlands.
PDCTV-HD Rest of the World Subscribers (outside of the UK, Ireland & Netherlands) can watch live in PDCTV-HD.
Unibet Melbourne Darts Masters
Saturday August 19
Peter Wright 10-9 Michael Smith
Simon Whitlock 10-9 James Wade
Phil Taylor 10-9 Corey Cadby
Daryl Gurney 10-8 Gary Anderson
Best of 19 legs
Sunday August 20 (7pm local time)
Daryl Gurney v Peter Wright
Phil Taylor v Simon Whitlock
Gurney/Wright v Taylor/Whitlock
Best of 21 legs
Fox Sports Australia
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