JAMES WADE caused a sensation at the partypoker.com World Grand Prix by knocking out reigning champion Phil Taylor at Dublin’s Citywest Hotel on Friday night, as Michael van Gerwen progressed to the semi-finals in a deciding leg alongside Gary Anderson and Stephen Bunting.

Wade, the 2007 and 2010 World Grand Prix champion, was at his clinical best as he ended Taylor’s bid to claim a 12th title in the double-start format, with the Stoke ace paying the price for an off-day on his finishing.

Although Taylor took out 128 on the bull to lead 2-1 in the first set, he would miss three doubles to win the set in each of the next two legs as Wade levelled with a 108 finish and then hit double ten to move ahead.

The second set followed a similar pattern as Taylor led 2-1, with Wade taking out 142 in leg four and then punishing one miss at tops from the reigning champion to level the game by again posting a third-dart double ten to double his advantage.

Taylor turned the tables in set three, with Wade taking a 2-1 lead only to see his opponent level on double four before finishing a superb 12-darter on double 16 to take the deciding leg and halve his deficit.

However, Taylor’s finishing doubles again went astray in the fourth set’s opener as Wade finished tops to move a leg up, and the left-hander then took out 104 and 101 to complete his first win over the 16-time World Champion in a televised ranking event.

“I’m really happy,” said Wade, who had hit a stunning nine-dart finish in his second round win over Robert Thornton. “I felt really good coming into the game and I was confident that I was going to play well.

“It’s quite weird because I thought I was going to win 3-0 before I even picked a dart up today, and I never feel like that against Phil – that’s not being disrespectful, it’s just how I felt.

“I was a little bit too nervous and I didn’t quite hit the shots that I perhaps I should have done. I threw away the third set but I told myself to dig in and fortunately I got the fourth set.

“It wasn’t a true reflection of how Phil can play, but I’ll take it. Phil’s the best player in the world and over the years I’ve probably shown him a little too much respect, but after that game I can start again against Phil.

“I’ve played some great matches against him and lost, so it’s a fresh slate now and it’s a big mind-block unblocked. That’s my hardest game out of the way, and the rest I can play on ability now, not mentally.

I’m enjoying the game and in patches I’m probably better than ever. Anything could happen now.”

Wade will now meet Gary Anderson in Saturday’s semi-finals, after the Scot booked his place in a first World Grand Prix semi-final with a resilient 3-2 win over Kevin Painter.

Painter had come from two sets down to defeat Adrian Lewis in the second round but fell just short of repeating the feat against Anderson as the former Premier League champion continued his bid to take the title.

Anderson took the opening set without Painter having a dart at a finishing double, before defying a 108 finish from the Englishman to win the decider with a 68 checkout to move two sets up.

Painter, though, took the third set 3-1 and then took out 152 – with Anderson waiting on 36 for the match – to edge a dramatic fourth set in a deciding leg to send the game all the way.

Anderson, though, finished 72 and 116 to move 2-0 up in set five, and though Painter landed a 12-dart leg to hit back, a 101 checkout from the Scot sealed his last four place.

“I got there in the end, but I’m playing well and am happy with the way my darts are going and I’m enjoying it,” said Anderson.

“Kevin hit the right scores and that 152, when I was sitting on 36 for the match, was a killer – but my 101 in the last set was great.”

Anderson has won six ranking events this year to return to the world’s top eight, and added: “I had two bad years when I was struggling and all I heard was about my doubles, but they were fine in practice and it’s come back on stage now.”

Painter admitted: “I started badly again, like I did against Adrian Lewis, and it’s cost me the game tonight. I got away with it against Adrian but Gary played well in the last set, and you can’t give someone like Gary a two-set start.”

The other semi-final will see World Champion Michael van Gerwen – the 2012 World Grand Prix winner – taking on Stephen Bunting after they overcame Mervyn King and Richie Burnett respectively on Friday.

Van Gerwen was pushed all the way as he edged through in a dramatic deciding leg against King in a repeat of their 2012 final, which he also had to come from behind in.

King won the opening set 3-2 and then finished 149 as he moved two legs up in the second, only for van Gerwen to take out double four in leg three and back-to-back 12-darters – including a whitewash as the Englishman missed nine starting doubles – to level the game.

The third set also went all the way as King came frmo a leg down to edge into a 2-1 lead, only for van Gerwen to win set four without reply.

Checkouts of double ten and double three helped King into a 2-1 advantage in the deciding set, but he would never throw a dart for victory as van Gerwen levelled on double four and won the sudden-death leg on double eight.

Van Gerwen admitted: “It feels like I stole the win and in my opinion Mervyn was the better player in this game, but sometimes you need to win like this.

“I didn’t play as well as I wanted to but Mervyn put me under pressure and I was never comfortable. I need to concentrate now on the semi-finals and tomorrow is a new day, and a win like this might give me more confidence for the semi-finals.

“It doesn’t matter how you win, but winning is what counts and that’s exactly what I did tonight. I can’t afford to make this many mistakes in the semi-finals, but I’m up for it.”

Meanwhile, Bunting’s dream debut in the double-start tournament continued as he swept past Richie Burnett 3-1 to book his place in the last four.

St Helens thrower Bunting, the reigning Lakeside Champion who switched over to the PDC circuit in January, followed up his wins over Ronnie Baxter and Peter Wright with another impressive display.

He won the quarter-final’s opening set without reply and also led 2-0 in the second, before Burnett hit back with a 121 finish before taking out 71 and 80 to win the set and level.

Bunting, though, came from a leg down to win the third set 3-2 and also hit back from 2-1 behind in the fourth as finishes of double 16 and double eight kept him on track to challenge for the £100,000 first prize on Sunday night.

“I’m so happy with that win,” said Bunting. “To be into the semi-finals of one of the majors in the PDC is a fantastic achievement for myself, especially in my first year.

“I hit my starting doubles a lot better than I have done all week and my doubles went in ok today. I was quite nervous because Richie’s a fantastic player and an idol of mine.

“When I was a youngster growing up watching darts, he was one of the players I used to watch and admire, so to play him on the big stage in front of thousands of fans is a good thing for myself.

“I’m looking forward to the semi-finals now and I’m feeling confident.”

The Lakeside Champion will lose his title as he reigning World Masters winner this weekend, but added: “Darryl Fitton picked the trophy up from my house on Tuesday so that’s gone back, but it would be nice to replace it in my cabinet with this trophy.”

Saturday’s partypoker.com World Grand Prix semi-finals will be followed on Sunday by the final at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin.

Tickets are still available and can be purchased from the Citywest Hotel Box Office on 00353 (0)1 401 0505 or in person at the venue on the night of the event. Doors open at 6pm, with play commencing at 7pm on each night.

partypoker.com World Grand Prix Darts Results

Quarter-Finals
Friday October 10
Richie Burnett 1-3 Stephen Bunting (0-3, 3-2, 2-3, 2-3)
Gary Anderson 3-2 Kevin Painter (3-0, 3-2, 1-3, 2-3, 3-1)
Phil Taylor 1-3 James Wade (2-3, 2-3, 3-2, 0-3)
Michael van Gerwen 3-2 Mervyn King (2-3, 3-2, 2-3, 3-0, 3-2)

Semi-Finals
Saturday October 11
James Wade v Gary Anderson
Michael van Gerwen v Stephen Bunting

Format
Semi-Finals – Best of Seven Sets
* All Sets are the best of five legs. There will be no tie-break in any set.
* All legs must begin and end with a double, meaning that a player must hit a double before he can begin scoring in each leg.

MATCH INFORMATION
Richie Burnett 1-3 Stephen Bunting
First Set 0-3 – Bunting fires out of the starting blocks, scoring 180 and 140 in the opening leg to punish six missed starting doubles from Burnett by landing double 16, and he then defies a 160 start from the Welshman by finishing 126 in the second leg, before adding another 180 in leg three as double four – following two misses from Burnett at double 14 – seals the set.
Second Set 3-2 – Burnett levels the game by coming from two legs down to win a bizarre set. Six missed doubles from Burnett to win the opening leg are punished by Bunting on double 15, before he doubles his lead by posting double 16 to move two legs up. Burnett then throws straight for the treble 20 at the start of leg three – before realising his error and hitting double top and treble 20 to open with a 100 score, and he then adds another ton and a 180 before finishing 121 for a 12-darter to win his first leg of the game. Bunting’s missed bullseye for a 164 finish is then punished by a 71 checkout in the fourth leg as Burnett levels, before the Welshman then hits a 180 and takes out 80 on tops for the set.
Third Set 2-3 – After missing two darts to win the opening leg, but Burnett takes on double four, Bunting hits a 180 to level and then finishes double 16 despite a maximum from his opponent to move 2-1 up. Burnett lands another 180 to set up an 80 finish in the fourth, but Bunting is too strong in the decider as he regains the edge.
Fourth Set 2-3 – Bunting lands a 180 in the opening leg only to see Burnett finish double 16 to win the opening leg, but two missed doubles from the Welshman are punished in the next as Bunting finishes 96 in two darts. Burnett then takes out 96 to move 2-1 up, but Bunting levels on double 16 before punishing 11 missed opening doubles from his opponent in the set’s deciding leg by hitting his sixth 180 of the game to pull clear, before then finishing double eight to seal his place in the semi-finals.

Gary Anderson 3-2 Kevin Painter
First Set 3-0 – Anderson takes the opening set without Painter having a dart at a finishing double, taking out tops to win the first two legs – with the second featuring a 180 – before landing double five to claim the set.
Second Set 3-2 – Anderson is first to a finish, but is punished for failing to close out the leg as Painter finishes double 12 to win his first leg of the game, only for Anderson to open leg two with a 160 score before levelling on double four and move 2-1 up on tops. Painter levels with a 108 finish, but Anderson is first to a finish in the decider before finishing 68 on tops to double his advantage to two sets.
Third Set 1-3 – The pair trade the first two legs of set three, before Anderson is punished for failing to close out the third as Painter lands tops to move 2-1 and then hits double ten to wrap up the set.
Fourth Set 2-3 – Anderson lands double 19 to win the set’s opening leg, and the pair trade 180s in the enxt two legs as the Scot moves a leg away from the win. Painter takes leg four to level the set, and when Anderson scores 145 to leave 36, the Rugby-based ace takes out a stunning 152 finish to save the game, take the set and level the contest.
Fifth Set 3-1 – Anderson bounces back strongly by hitting a 180 and finishing 72 to win the opening leg before taking out 116 for a 2-0 lead. Painter hits a 180 in a 12-darter as he hits back, and follows the Scot’s 160 to open leg four by kicking off with 152 and adding a 180 – but he is only able to watch on as Anderson takes out 101 to secure his semi-final place.

Phil Taylor 1-3 James Wade
First Set 2-3 – Wade’s double ten to open the game is cancelled out by double 16 from Taylor, who then breaks throw by finishing 128 on the bull. The reigning champion, though, misses three darts at double 12 and six to take the set as Wade capitalises with a 108 checkout on tops, and when Taylor misses a further three set darts – at double 16 – the left-hander finishes double ten with his third dart at the bed as he claims the set.
Second Set 2-3 – Taylor wins a high-quality opening leg to the second set, with Wade opening with a 160 and adding a 180 only to miss tops for a 101 finish, allowing his rival to follow an earlier 174 score with double ten. Taylor then hit another 174, to leave 24, in leg two only to see Wade finish tops, before double five moves the Stoke ace 2-1 up, Wade, though, finishes 142 to level before punishing a miss at tops from Taylor for the set by repeating his third-dart double ten of the previous set to double his advantage.
Third Set 3-2 – Wade punishes Taylor for missing one dart at a double for ton-plus finishes in two of the third set’s opening three legs as he moves 2-1 up, but he is unable to take out 115 for the game in leg four as the reigning champion takes out double four to stay in the game. Taylor then opens the deciding leg with a 160 score and then hits 140 and 139 before finishing 62 to take the set and keep the game alive.
Fourth Set 0-3 – Taylor suffers further missed doubles as Wade returns from a miss at tops to hit the bed at the second time of asking to win the opening leg, before taking out 104 – his third ton-plus finish of the game – to move two legs up. The 2007 and 2010 champion then kicks off leg three with a 160 score and adds a 140 before finishing 101 to complete a brilliant win.

Michael van Gerwen 3-2 Mervyn King
First Set 2-3 – The opening two legs were shared before King took out a 14-darter to move 2-1 up – only to see van Gerwen better that with a 13-darter to force a deciding leg. The World Champion, though, misses double top and ten to take the set, allowing King in to finish 94 on the bull to take the lead.
Second Set 3-2 – King punishes van Gerwen’s missed doubles to hit tops for a break of throw in the second set’s opening leg and then takes out 149 for a 2-0 lead. Van Gerwen, though, finishes double four to hit back and then produced superb back-to-back 12-dart legs to claim the set – as King suffered a whitewash in the deciding leg by missing nine starting doubles.
Third Set 2-3 – van Gerwen finishes 72 on tops to take the opening leg, but King takes out 92 on the bull to level and trades 180 with the Dutchman as he finishes a 13-darter to lead 2-1. Van Gerwen opens the fourth leg with scores of 160 and 140 to level, but King is stronger in the decider as double 16 moves him 2-1 up in the game.
Fourth Set 3-0 – van Gerwen sends the game into a deciding fifth set by levelling in style, finishing double three, 91 and double eight to take set four without reply.
Fifth Set 3-2 – King lands a 180 and finishes double ten to lead, with van Gerwen finishing 86 to level before the 2012 runner-up hits a 180 and double three to move 2-1 up. Van Gerwen, though, scrambles home a third-dart double four to send the game into a sudden-death leg – and though he initially misses the bull for an 86 finish, King is unable to take out 120 to allow him back to complete the comeback win on double eight.

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