Gary Anderson kicked off the defence of his Dubai Darts Masters crown with a thumping victory over 16-time world champion Phil Taylor, as Michael van Gerwen produced the performance of the night to defeat his fellow Dutchman Raymond van Barneveld on a dramatic opening day in the desert.
Reigning champion Anderson kicked off the defence of his title with an emphatic 10-3 victory over an under-par Phil Taylor. The Scot was in scintillating form; averaging 99.26, landing eight maximums and converting 44% of his attempts at double, as Taylor’s final Dubai campaign ended in a first-round humbling.
‘The Flying Scotsman’ kicked off proceedings with a 13-darter, before Taylor drew level on D4 after defying a fine visit of 170 from Anderson. However, the two-time world champion then went into overdrive. He converted an 82 kill for a 12-dart hold, before breaking Taylor’s throw with a 15-darter.
The world number two then dispatched an effortless 112 checkout to establish a 4-1 cushion, before a bizarre sixth leg ensued. Anderson incredibly bust a 132 checkout after hitting two treble 20’s, before then miscounting to leave 37 after his next visit. Yet despite this, he still clinched the leg via D16 after some sloppy scoring from ‘The Power’.
The procession continued for Anderson as he won the next two legs inside just 26 darts after posting a maximum in each, to extend his advantage to 7-1. Taylor was really struggling, but he finally stopped the rot via D9 after Anderson spurned six clear darts at double for an 8-1 lead.
The 16-time world champion then sealed his second straight leg via D6, but there was no repeat of his remarkable Premier League comeback against Anderson last month. The Scot produced a classy 120 finish to lead 8-3, before following up his eighth 180 with a 13-darter to move to the cusp of victory, which he duly sealed with a 15-darter on D4.
Michael van Gerwen kicked off his assault for a fourth Dubai Darts Masters title with a high-quality 10-5 victory over his World Cup partner Raymond van Barneveld. ‘The Green Machine’ averaged 104.87, posted six maximums and converted 67% of his darts at double to prevail, as Barney was beaten convincingly despite averaging 101.20.
The world number one registered maximums in each of the first two legs as he secured an early lead with 70 and 65 finishes. Van Barneveld opened his account with a two-dart 71 combination for a 14-darter, but MvG responded with a 15-dart hold, before following up a 174 with a clinical 100 kill for an 11-dart break and a 4-1 advantage at the interval.
However, Van Barneveld responded magnificently after the interval, conjuring up a sublime maximum 170 checkout to break back. Despite this, the five-time world champion was unable to make further inroads. MvG broke straight back with a third 180 and a 15-darter, before completing a 14-dart hold via D16 for a 6-2 cushion.
Barney dispatched a crucial 64 finish via D8 to remain in contention, but Van Gerwen dealt his compatriot a major blow in the tenth leg. Van Barneveld wired D5 for a 130 checkout but still seemed in pole position to reduce the arrears to 6-4- until ‘Mighty Mike’ piled in a sensational 150 checkout (T19, T19, D18) to regain his four-leg lead.
Nevertheless, the five-time world champion continued to battle valiantly. He recorded a stunning 121 finish (T20, T11, D14) for a 12-dart hold, before MvG fired back with a two-dart 97 kill for a 14-darter. Van Barneveld then landed his fourth maximum moments later; converting an 81 checkout via D13 for his second successive 12-darter.
Van Barneveld was on course to post his highest average in the history of this competition, but it was to no avail. Van Gerwen fired in his sixth maximum and completed a 13-darter to move to the brink of victory, before capitalising on a multitude of missed doubles from RvB in the fifteenth leg, to seal his progression via D10.
Peter Wright continued his fine form to set up a semi-final clash with fellow Scot Gary Anderson, after recording a convincing 10-5 triumph over Dave Chisnall. The UK Open champion averaged 101.57, registered seven maximums and converted 34% of his double attempts to dump out Chisnall, who averaged 99.37 and landed seven 180’s.
Chisnall drew first blood via D4, before Wright responded with a maximum as he took out 80 to level. Snakebite then registered six perfect darts in a leg that saw three maximums; dispatching a 76 finish for a 12-dart break of throw, before landing his fourth 180 moments later, en route to a 96 kill and a second consecutive 12-darter.
The world number three continued his incredible scoring in the next leg; crashing in his fifth maximum to leave 41 after just nine darts; eventually pinning D8 at the sixth attempt for a fourth leg on the spin. Chisnall registered his second 180 and conjured up an 81 finish for a 12-darter of his own, but he was unable to halt Wright’s charge.
The world number three restored his three-leg advantage after crashing in his sixth maximum en route to a 13-darter, before he clinically converted a 62 outshot to lead 6-2. ‘Chizzy’ responded with a third 180 and a sublime 11-darter to reduce the arrears to 6-3, but the Scot maintained his dominant cushion at the interval by hitting D4.
The St Helen’s star was faced with an uphill task to reverse the deficit, but he emerged from the break in determined mood; landing six perfect darts as he reduced the scoreline to 7-4 with a 13-dart hold. However, Chisnall then spurned four darts at double in the following leg, allowing Wright to regain his four-leg lead via D16.
Chizzy remained in contention after following up his seventh maximum by hitting tops, but this proved to be his final stand. Wright posted his seventh 180 to complete a 15-dart hold and move to the brink of victory, which he subsequently sealed moments later with a fine 14-darter, to round-off a mightily impressive performance.
Gerwyn Price produced a fine comeback from 9-7 down to edge out James Wade in a thrilling last-leg shootout. ‘The Iceman’ trailed for the majority of the contest, but won the remaining three legs to triumph on his World Series debut; averaging 95.20 and landing five 180’s to condemn Wade to his fourth successive first-round exit in Dubai.
‘The Machine’ started strongly; breaking throw in the opener, before converting a classy 101 kill to double his tally. Price halved the deficit after following up his first maximum by pinning D10, before Wade missed D12 for the first ever outdoor nine-darter in the following leg; eventually cleaning up D6 to regain his two-leg cushion.
The next two legs were shared as both players were punished for missing doubles, but Price reduced the deficit to 4-3 with a nerveless 91 outshot. Wade restored his two-leg advantage after following his third 180 by hitting D1, but Price then won three legs in succession to secure the lead for the very first time.
Nevertheless, the momentum shifted again moments later, as Wade reeled off three straight legs of his own. The left-hander defied a second maximum from Price to level at 6-6, before punishing four missed darts at double from the Welshman to wrestle back the initiative with clinical 74 and 81 checkouts in consecutive legs.
Price stopped the rot to reduce the arrears to 8-7, but the eight-time major winner then dispatched a 64 finish to move to the brink of victory. However, Price showed impressive resilience; registering legs of 13 and 14 darts to force a decider, and Wade crumbled, as the UK Open finalist sank D6 to complete the comeback and book his semi-final spot.
2017 Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters
Wednesday May 24 (8pm local time, 5pm BST)
Gerwyn Price 10-9 James Wade
Peter Wright 10-5 Dave Chisnall
Gary Anderson 10-3 Phil Taylor
Michael van Gerwen 10-5 Raymond van Barneveld
Best of 19 legs
Thursday May 25 (8pm)
MIchael van Gerwen v Gerwyn Price
Gary Anderson v Peter Wright
Best of 21 legs
Best of 21 legs