Raymond van Barneveld edged out Phil Taylor in a gripping deciding-leg to progress through to the semi-finals of the Perth Darts Masters, as Daryl Gurney produced another imperious display of finishing to brush aside Peter Wright on a cracking night of action at the HBF stadium.
Nevertheless, for the second night in succession, Van Barneveld was the headline story as he triumphed via a deciding-leg shootout once again. The five-time world champion survived a valiant fightback from World-Youth champion Corey Cadby to progress in a dramatic final leg in round-one, and history repeated itself against ‘The Power’.
Van Barneveld started strongly; winning the opening two legs without reply. He then missed three darts at double for a 3-0 advantage, before responding with a sublime 11-darter to restore his two-leg cushion. However, Taylor levelled the contest two legs later, after the Dutchman spurned another three darts at double.
Barney converted a clinical 71 checkout to regain the initiative, but the topsy-turvy nature of the match continued as Taylor dispatched a 96 finish to break throw once again and level up proceedings at four apiece.
However, Van Barneveld enjoyed a terrific mid-game surge and established total control of the tussle; registering four straight legs to move 8-4 ahead, with the help of clinical 96 and 69 checkouts. Yet Taylor refused to relent; reeling off three successive legs to reduce the arrears to the solitary leg.
Van Barneveld pegged D4 to move to within a leg of victory, but he squandered four match darts in the following leg, as Taylor stayed alive via D9. The 16-time world champion then recorded a nerveless 13-darter to draw level and force a World Series decider against his old rival for the second time in just a matter of weeks.
Nevertheless, on this occasion it was the Dutch legend who prevailed. He landed a crucial maximum in the decider and defied vociferous boos from a partisan Perth crowd to round-off victory on D8, to seal his first victory over ‘The Power’ since beating him in the 2017 World Championship quarter-finals.
RvB was visibly unhappy with the Perth crowd and admitted: “I can’t do things the easy way at the moment. It’s always nice to beat Phil, he is the greatest player of all time but I could have made that much simpler for myself. I struggled with the crowd who were on his side but that isn’t an excuse and I’m just happy to make it though to the semi -finals.”
The five-time world champion will take on U.S Masters finalist Daryl Gurney in the last four, after the Northern Irishman produced another clinical display of finishing to record an emphatic 10-4 victory over third seed Peter Wright.
Wright averaged 99.43 compared to Gurney’s 97.70, but ‘Super-Chin’ produced an exhibition of finishing; taking out shots of 97, 32, 93, 104 and 87 in the final five legs, to clinch his progression with a convincing 10-4 triumph and a 71% checkout conversion rate.
Gurney reflected: “The finishing was brilliant again today, my scoring wasn’t as good as it normally is but if I finish like that I’ll take some stopping. Peter is one of the best in the world so that is a massive win for me.”
Top seed Gary Anderson reeled off six legs on the spin to book his place in the semi-finals with a 10-5 victory over home favourite Simon Whitlock. Six of the opening eight legs went against throw, before Whitlock edged into a 5-4 advantage. However, ‘The Flying Scotsman’ turned on the style to end home hopes in Perth.
The two-time world champion took out a brilliant 110 finish via D15 to restore parity at five apiece and this sparked a procession in the latter stages. Whitlock simply had no response and the Scottish star conjured up a magnificent 144 finish to secure victory with a 102.38 average.
The world number two claimed: “That 110 checkout on double 15 was huge; it’s not a double you want to leave but with the way Simon was playing I needed to hit it. Simon has been playing well recently so that worked as a good kick in the backside for me and hopefully sets me up nicely for tomorrow.”
Anderson will take on fourth seed James Wade in Sunday’s semi-finals, after the eight time major winner produced an impressive display to dump out former World-Youth champion Michael Smith by the same 10-5 scoreline.
‘The Machine’ averaged 101.05 and landed five maximums to triumph in a high-quality contest, having also converted 140 and 110 finishes. Smith also acquitted himself well; dispatching 126 and 121 kills, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the left-hander in Perth, as Wade confirmed his passage with an effortless 96 checkout.
Wade admitted: “It’s always hard playing a friend and Michael is certainly a friend. I have my critics and I know I bite sometimes when I shouldn’t but it is nice to answer them every now and again.”
The 34-year-old continued: “I know how good I am and I know what I do wrong at times. There’s only a handful of players who have won what I’ve won but there are players more dedicated than others these days. If I was the most dedicated player, would I be the best in the World? Possibly.”
TABtouch Perth Darts Masters
Saturday August 26 (7pm local time, 12pm BST)
James Wade (4) 10-5 Michael Smith
Gary Anderson (1) 10-5 Simon Whitlock
Raymond van Barneveld 10-9 Phil Taylor (2)
Daryl Gurney 10-4 Peter Wright (3)
Best of 19 legs
Sunday August 27 (5pm local time, 10am BST)
Gary Anderson v James Wade
Raymond van Barneveld v Daryl Gurney
Best of 21 legs